“Why should this matter to me?”
This is the question that every single person who is reading your content day-in and day-out is asking. They may not be asking it consciously, but the question is present, there is no doubt about that.
You see, it’s all about perspective. Why should your content matter to them? It’s one of the things you seriously need to consider while creating any sort of content.
It’s all about their perspective. Not yours. Not your bosses. The perspective of your audience determines what is relevant, impactful content and what isn’t.
You could put together an amazing blog post, but if it doesn’t tickle the fancy of your readers, then it’s not doing anything more for you than a lesser quality post.
Journalism is often said to be the “Eat your veggies” type of reading. You read what the editor of the publication thinks is important or you don’t read the newspaper. If journalism is veggies, then content marketing is desert.
You want to offer your audience and prospects a delightful piece of decadent cheesecake, not a pile of Brussels sprouts.
The problem emerges is that sometimes your audience thinks you have a pile of Brussels sprouts, when in reality you have a slice of decadent cheesecake. Why?
They have had experiences in the past that altered their perspective.
It doesn’t matter which dish you’re offering your audience, it only matter how they see it. In marketing (and even sales), the perception of the offering is the reality.
Maybe some previous experience caused your prospect to see cheesecake as Brussels sprouts? Okay, the metaphor is falling apart a bit here but this is truly the case in a lot of marketing.
The audience, if they’re anything like the typical B2B crowd, has read 10s or maybe even 100s of articles with some variation of the title, “7 Tips for Better Writing.”
They may not bother reading your version of this popular topic, especially if the last experiences they had with similar content were disappointing.
That’s the uphill battle you and I face as content marketers. Your audience is filled with preconceived notions about you, your content and even your product/services, based on their own experiences. They may or may not be relevant to you, but they are the factors shaping whether or not someone reads your content, then, hopefully, converts.
So, how do you shape your audience’s perspective to convince them that your article matters to them?
What is Content Marketing for?
First, continuously ask yourself the question that I opened this piece with.
“Why does this matter to me?” (Of course, asking as a member of your audience)
Make sure as you write content you are able to easily answer this question. This is done by considering who your top three customer types are, then brainstorming the desires they may have and how your particular piece of content (and maybe even your product/service) will provide the desired outcome.
After all, if your content isn’t solving your audience’s problems in an educational, not-too-salesy manner, then why are you doing it?
“To get leads!” some may say. But if those you consider leads do not find your content valuable, then you might as well discount them as leads.
“To build their relationship with our brand!” other may proclaim. But again, there is no relationship if your content isn’t solving real needs.
The true purpose of content marketing is providing valuable materials that change your audience’s perspective on you and your brand, ultimately leading towards them changing their behavior and buying your product.
Teasing Your Value
When you are distributing your content, you need to prove to a click-weary world that your piece of clickbait is actually worth reading.
And yes, I called it clickbait. Every headline, social media tease and line of preview text is there to break out the value of your content before someone clicks on it.
The headline needs to be tantalizing, but accurate, or the person who just clicked onto the page will feel as if they were lied to, then leave – not good for their perception of your brand. For that matter, you might have also ruined the day of the guy who wrote the next piece of content that they didn’t click because yours was so disingenuous.
In your social media tease you need to appeal to one of your audience’s problems, one that you think will cause them to click on your article. Same with your lines of preview text. Break out the value contained in your piece, framing it in the way that it will solve the problems of your readers.
Then, when they get through to your blog or whatever piece of content you wanted them to view, continue to bait them throughout, providing little doses of valuable, educational information that will delight them into reading further.
Is This Thing Working?
Don’t just send your content out and pray that you’ll see the conversion rates that you crave. Make sure your content is doing what your audience by tracking its performance. Using tools like Google Analytics and other monitoring tools, you can figure out where your audience came from, which articles they clicked on and how much time they spent reading. These give us an idea of what we should create in the future.
These are real-life statistics of what your audience likes. You cannot ignore them.
Did this article matter to you? Did you find it valuable? What value do you provide your audience with through your content? Tell us in the comments section.