In the world of content marketing, it is easy to dish out blog after blog about how to sell to customers. Titles like,The Sneaky Way to Sell Products Like Crazy or Make Money Blogging: A Step-By-Step Guide to SellingProducts riddle the internet. Some innovators (or are they?) have reworded product-selling by advertising a “teach your customer” strategy. But, all too often this “teaching” slides into selling a product instead.
At the office, I always hear people say, “I love my job,” and our company prides itself on the work we do. Lately, a lingering thought has been stirring in my mind about why people enjoy their jobs here. What makes our strategy different?
Today, I want to offer you a raw take on why content marketing works if you do it well.
Setting aside our work culture and daily tasks, I began boiling down the answer to why "I love my job" is so frequently heard. Here is what I found:
Yes, we sell things. Yes, we enjoy seeing our business revenue increase. But that isn’t the point. If we cannot provide substantial service to our customers, if we cannot relieve them of their pain points, of their challenges, and provide them solid solutions, our business hasn’t been successful. And I am not defining success by the dollar amount here. Rather, I am defining success as how helpful our company has been in relieving a business from their strains.
Helping prospects identify their challenges and determine their pain points is at the core of our work, at the core of content marketing. Solving a problem helps a prospect in the short-, medium- and long-term, which helps them flourish. This is how all content marketers should approach their work, through a lens of servicing the customer. Just as a warning, it is a lengthy process. However, the process is well worth the wait.
Every business experiences pain points. It's inevitable. As a content marketer, the better you understand your prospect's difficulties, the better your ability to service their needs. Any pain point can lead to a considerable amount of lost productivity. Only through probing questions and inquiring about the challenges they face can you gain a better understanding of your prospect's needs.
How will you do this?
Go to your sources. For one, the people you work with can provide direct feedback. For example, customer service representatives help alleviate customer issues all day. They are a great source of intel on challenges your customers are facing. They are also a great source for solutions. They service customers day in and day out, from website navigation to product information. They can help you better understand how your business is affecting your customers and what needs to be improved.
Fuel Your Content
These problems and solutions should then be your content focus. There is no use in writing something that doesn't have your prospective client in mind. Instead, write about topics that have been mentioned by engaged customers. By understanding your customer's challenges, you can hone in on how to provide a solution.
No more writing blog piece after blog piece without making any headway. The key to content marketing is why you're writing something: to solve a problem.
Make Your Work Matter
This is as corny as it gets, but it is true. Your work should be valuable to your customer. Your blog should offer a sigh of relief to the person reading it. Aside from bringing in new customers, your business will stand apart from the rest when you write something your client finds worthy of reading. If I'm being honest, when I wrote this blog I found myself slipping into the same trap of selling rather than solving. Upon taking a step back I realized that writing what I would want to know if I experienced the same problem rather than what I thought others would want to hear is exactly what I was originally trying to convey.
Providing solutions rather than products is more than just good marketing practice. It’s the path forward for every company wishing to embrace today’s disruptive world. The modern customer is looking for tailor-made solutions, not a sales pitch. It’s about time we start taking that to heart.
Emily exists to solve for her clients and craft specialized marketing plans to meet their needs. It’s her job to translate clients' goals into actionables for the LI team. She works hard to ensure a smooth implementation of marketing strategies.
When Emily’s not in a meeting or adding to her to-do list, you can find her being silly with her three little ones, sipping whiskey, working on the next DIY project, or all three at once.