Creating content is essential for every small business. Whatever your product or service, content is the marketing tool that keeps you top-of-mind with customers and prospects. But in the tsunami of content out there, how can you make yours stand out?
Whether you’re creating blogs, ebooks, or videos, your best bet is to do one of the following:
- Solve a problem
- Guide people to avoid a loss or mistake
- Provide a path to a goal
- Create a shift in being
Solve a Problem
Marketing experts agree the top strategy to capture attention — and clients — is to address a pressing problem from the customers’ perspective, not your own. When you demonstrate that you thoroughly understand their problem, you win the right to describe your solution. Until then, your content is just noise.
People are more likely to seek information that promises to solve their problems than information that promises to meet their goals.
If you can describe the problem in the terms your prospects use themselves, you are right on target. Ask yourself: “What words do my customers use to describe their problems and frustrations?”
Guide People to Avoid a Loss or Mistake
A second strategy is to tap into your customers’ fear of losing something or making a costly mistake. Humans have a strong instinctive fear of loss, embarrassment, and being put down. Business executive and two-time US Senator Chauncey Depew is quoted as having said, “I would not stay up all of one night to make $100, but I would stay up all of seven nights to keep from losing it.”
A loss doesn’t need to be particularly valuable to trigger an emotional response. For example, I remember the uproar when my husband’s company decided to eliminate the long-standing company picnic. His colleagues reacted as if the decision were a personal blow and betrayal. This reaction was silly but predictable.
When you create content that taps into people’s fears about losing what they have or making mistakes that will cause them embarrassment, financial loss, or setbacks, you’ll attract their attention.
Provide a Path to a Goal
If you’ve ever wondered why Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People has had enduring success, you now have your answer. Carnegie tapped into a goal that people universally want to achieve, and he provided a path to get there. Stephen Covey did the same with Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. You, too, can use this strategy to attract attention for your content.
The list of things that people want to achieve is endless: attract customers, choose the right technology, buy the best insurance product, raise a child successfully, and more. Of course, these things have all been written about countless times.
With Carnegie and Covey as exceptions to the rule, it is most effective to focus on a specific and narrow goal rather than a general or broad one. For example, if your topic is “how to raise a healthy and successful child,” you’ll have tons of competition. Instead, consider writing about “how to raise a resilient teen” or “how to create a lifelong bond with your toddler.” Each of these topics will appeal to a smaller audience, but still one with plenty of buying power.
Don’t try to make any single piece of content appeal to every segment of your target audience. Consider creating a series of short pieces of content that answer your customers’ questions on “the right product to buy” or “the most efficient and cost-saving solution.” A series of short pieces that answer buyers’ questions is well worth the small amount of time needed to put it together.
Create a Shift in Being
Consider the current widespread interest in leading a happier life. Scientists, psychologists, and life coaches are writing about how to achieve happiness. Others are writing about achieving balance, fulfillment, meaning, wellness, and more. During the Great Depression, these topics would seem ridiculous. In our age, they are in great demand.
Content using this strategy typically provides a path to create a shift in being, such as “from chaos to contentment.” Content about growing a career or business has an underlying theme of “from financial instability to financial security.” The content focuses on what it takes to move from one place or state to another.
If you want to try this strategy, identify a space in which people are already spending money and create something distinctive in that space.
You now have top strategies — or attraction factors — for creating content that can help get your business noticed. Use these categories to help brainstorm ideas, and as a litmus test for content you develop. Invest some time and energy into learning to use these strategies and get ready to attract some attention.
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As principal of Gravitas Press, Bonnie Budzowski works with entrepreneurs, consultants, business owners, and executives who want to write a book to increase their visibility as thought leaders. As a coach, she helps clients create a strategy to use their book as a powerful marketing tool. As a project manager and publisher, she manages the details of getting the book completed and out into the world while the author focuses on serving his or her clients.
You can reach Bonnie at GravitasPress.com or Bonnie@GravitasPress.com.