Are you in love with your own content?
That might be a problem!
This could be the one time where a status of It’s Complicated is good!
Why would you want to be in a complicated relationship with your content?
The answer is this. If you are infatuated with your own content, there is a very real danger that you are writing about what matters most to you. You need to write about what matters most to your audience. And to do that you must know your audience intimately. That’s content marketing relationship rule #1.
The content you create must matter as much, if not more, to your target audience as it does to you. If it doesn’t, your audience will move on quickly and may never return. They’ll break up with you because “you just don’t understand me”.
Being in a complicated relationship with your content is not as conflicted as it sounds. It means that you are putting energy into the relationship. It means that you are listening to your audience. It may mean that you don’t always understand at first what you are being told.
But you value the relationship enough to keep asking relevant questions. This is ultimately how you learn what matters most to your audience. As the relationship evolves and circumstances change, what matters can change too. So you don’t ever stop asking relevant questions.
You have to stay engaged to keep your audience engaged. Pun intended!
Let me illustrate with a great example. I recently came across a business that has figured out the relationship between knowing their audience and providing them content that matters. They also nailed how to deliver it in a way that is meaningful to the audience.
The owners of a local fly fishing shop knew they weren’t marketing effectively to women. They conducted some research and informally surveyed their existing female customer base. They found there were stereotypes that were making fly fishing unappealing to women.
If I catch it I have to clean it…and that’s ikky.
It’s a guy thing.
They also learned that lots of women had fond memories of fishing with their Dads and several wanted to learn to fly fish to be with their husbands. But most of them did not want to be taught by their significant others. They wanted to learn in the company of other women.
So the business owners started to offer a free introductory class targeted at women. The agenda? Practice casting a line in the pond outside, learn about bugs, tie a knot or two, and watch a fly fishing fashion show.
All while nibbling on snacks, encouraging one another, laughing, and generally reveling in the company of other women.
What the business did was create a fun situation where women could ask their questions, raise their concerns, admit their fears, and learn more about fly fishing without having to make a commitment.
Giving a class is one example of great content marketing. This business made it their mission to know what mattered to their target audience. And then they used the information to forge a personal and authentic relationship through education, entertainment, and good advice.
They created a situation where attendees don’t even consider going to a different fly fishing shop as they continue to grow their interest.
The cost? Two hours from each of the three hosts, a plate of nibbles, a pitcher of lemonade, and a raffle prize. There was no selling, no sign in sheet, no demand for personal information except first names. Just an exchange of relevant information delivered in a fun, knowledgeable, and relaxed way.
As business owners, we have to ask ourselves over and over, why would someone reading, watching, listening, and engaging with my content care about what I am saying? If we cannot answer that question confidently, we may need to renew our efforts to know what matters most to our audience.
We can be in love. But it must be with our audience, not our content!
What great examples of delivering content that matters have you come across?