Content strategy isn’t easy. You get that you need to produce fresh content routinely, and that it needs to be of interest to your target market, but you can get distracted trying to dig up topics, or bogged down in the fakery of angling for leads by a thinly disguised sales pitch or a doomed process of keyword stuffing. Let’s compare some methods of topic selection, using your blog as an example:
The Inauthentic Way to Choose Blog Topics
- You work a lot of key words into your post. Google is punishing this now, so you know. Posts that don’t sound natural, and seem to be ways to game the system, will get dinged. Yes, it worked once, and your cousin who is into marketing will tell you to do it. Don’t listen – it’s out of date and sacrifices the larger potential gain of building an audience and getting that content amplified, which will never happen if it’s gimmicky garbage.
- You find ways to turn a sales pitch into a post. Maybe it’s 3 reasons you should buy x-service, or 5 features of y-product. It’s fooling no one. That stuff belongs on a static page, and isn’t part of an effective blog *unless* you are posting continually about new and hard to find, hard to acquire products or services. Then it has some serious value. Besides, if it’s one of 10 things you do or sell, you’re going to run out. It’s not sustainable.
Both of these methods lack 2 key components of an engaging blog post – 1) the sense that someone cares about what they’re saying, and 2) the sense of interaction that occurs when you genuinely inspire someone else to care. Caring doesn’t have to be touchy-feely, either. You care about a lot of what you buy, enough to think about how it fits into your lifestyle, and what some related issues are. Your choice of tablet vs. desktop vs. laptop vs. phone for your primary business computer involved a lot of caring about the surrounding issues and the context. You might even have sought out some practical ‘lifestyle’ advice on the subject, whether online or through your face to face network.
Care About What You Do
Caring means not going straight from “I want to sell this.” to “I’ll tell them to buy this.” That’s self-serving. It’s not that caring isn’t about you at all – it’s very much about you. Caring is introspective – it asks the why questions. Why are you in this business? Why does this matter at all in the world? What is going on with people that this addresses? If your answers to this are sparse rather than endless, there’s an inauthenticity somewhere – either in your involvement in your business, or in your honesty about it. Which is it?
If you’ve never watched the animated version of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss, it’s actually a superb marketing primer. “It may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.” But even in the Grinchiest Grinch, they were able to locate something he cared deeply about. Somewhere down deep is that thing for you, even if covered by years of cynicism, pessimism, pain, or just the weary, bleary world of work and trade. Just as the Grinch’s heart “grew three sizes that day” – you’ll find a never-ending wellspring of inspiration, if you look closely enough at your interior, not just the immediate exterior.
Write About What You Care About
Maybe you could already talk almost any day of the week, in almost any situation, about what you care about that your work represents, is involved in, or touches. So write that. There’s a fundamental human connection that happens when we are passionate about something – when we have a conviction that it matters. It’s contagious. It’s inspiring. Others will care too. Maybe we need help pulling it out of us, or help expressing it, but it’s still the right approach. In an advertising-inundated world with social media being an outlet for people to pick their messages, inauthenticity and self-promotion just alienate people, yet marketing remains essential. And that means you have to dig deep.
Write About What Your Prospects Care About
Often the inauthenticity is not listening closely or caring enough about what prospects are really interested in or focused on. We think hand to mouth (I just want them to buy – I’ll troll for passersby who are ready to act now). The mistake is that we’re just another beggar on the street corner asking for change without an engaging human relationship. It’s not the person who passes by who is being inauthentic, it’s the person with his hand out. And it’s not a good business model – it’s hand to mouth thinking.
By contrast, the guy who gets on the subway and tells funny stories (and ask for donations) is bothering to connect with our need to relax and decompress going to and from our work. That guys carries off loads of cash. The complexity he’s added is just one additional step – he’s inserted a connection to his audience’s genuine experience. It’s more intelligent and more effective. He could also be the guys who pole dance on the hand-rail/support pole and demonstrate jaunty showmanship and a tongue-in-cheek treatment of hiphop. Or just the guy who puts his soul into a song, and leaves the case open at his feet. We want to smile, to be entertained, to be connected. Human connection is the core marketing quotient.
So, this is us – you and I – we need to listen better – and not necessarily to our existing clients, though that’s important too. We need to engage the audience we aren’t currently reaching – the potential clients that aren’t currently *our* clients. Not with another hand to mouth pitch, but with an attempt at understanding where their focus lies. In that lies endless possibilities for audience engagement – endless possible topics and approaches.
Ask Yourself – Where Is Your Awesome Authenticity?
Where does it lie? Dig into your passion for your business, communicate that passion in sustainable ways, and simultaneously dig into what makes your missing clients (your prospects) tick, and reach out to them with connective, sticky, warm interactions. Let that typify your content, and your content marketing, over enough time and consistency, will be an insurmountable obstacle to your competition and a widely embraced growth engine for your business. If you’d like help with this, we can help you. Contact MadPipe today.