I read an excellent post from Story Needle Sincerity in Content Marketing, which led me to ask what do content consumers want from content marketers? What is sincere content marketing? It’s certainly not the recent rash of Ad-polgies from Facebook, Wells Fargo, Uber, and others. The Story Needle post hits the nail on the head with, “The path to sincerity involves clarifying what the customer wants. Too often brands assume customers will share the same outlook that they are promoting. The goals of building an audience for a brand can get warped into making the audience into the brand.” The question is what content do customers want, what is customer centered content?
Customer Centered Content
Explain the Benefits
When it comes to content about product, most consumers don’t want to know how the product was built. However, I’ve seen post after post that share product details from design to the materials used in the manufacture of the product. What people want to know are the benefits – what it does for them, not what it does.
Don’t confuse sharing the advantages of a product with the benefits. You might assume if you outline the advantages that consumers will understand the benefits, but why force readers to take that leap? For example, I could say the advantage of a programmable thermostat is that once set, the consumer doesn’t have to do anything, but that’s not the benefit. The benefits are it’s a time-saving device, which can be used to lower utility bills while making the home more comfortable. The benefits are it saves consumers time and money while improving home comfort.
Share Your Audience’s Pain
A couple of years ago, my teammate, Eric Benge, wrote a series of blog posts titled Tech Talk. The posts were primarily about vehicle graphics design. One of his first posts was Tech Talk: Outlining Text.
Eric explains how a customer can save or “outline” a font during the artwork submission process, so they get exactly the font they want. The first draft was well-written and did a good job of educating non-designers in simple terms that anyone could follow, but it was missing something. It didn’t have a human connection. I asked Eric why he had written about the topic and he explained it was a common problem that caused pain for both customers and providers. I advised him to begin the post sharing the pain. Here’s what he added, “If you’ve ever experienced a print provider unable to convert text to artwork because the font wasn’t on file; you know it can be a frustrating process to remedy. The good news is — this can be avoided and here’s how.”
To do this, you need to know your audience and understand the most common and frustrating problems they share. The obvious next step is to offer a solution.
Every minute of everyday people are searching online for solutions to their problems. If you understand your target audience’s problems and have the solutions don’t wait for them to find you. Don’t assume that they’ll magically appear at your door (website) and purchase your offering.
Use content to promote your solutions. Write blog posts, shoot video, offer a free e-book, post case studies, create infographics, and if you can, do all the above. When consumers search the internet for answers to their problems, have the content that shares the solutions. Here’s an example, Avoid These Vehicle Graphics Problems.
Make Your Clients Feel Special
How do you make someone feel special? One way is by including them in the conversation. Run a survey and ask their opinion.
Write about your customer. One of the things people like most to discuss is themselves and their organizations. So, why not feature your top customers in content? Here’s an example, TKO Customer Success Story.
Let your audience in through the back door. Share behind the scenes and insider information with your clients and potential customers.
What is Customer Centered Content Marketing?
The easy answer is any content which puts the customer first. You do that by sharing the benefits not the features of your product, by making your prospects feel special, sharing their pain, and solving your audience’s problems. And finally, by asking yourself who you’re creating content for. Too many content marketers create content for themselves or their organization not for their customer.