The other night during #Blogchat, Josh left these tweets about his business:
So Josh is in a situation where he is shifting from providing dog training services, to focusing on manufacturing products for dog owners and likely dog trainers. He wants to know how to create content that promotes the products he’s manufacturing, but one that isn’t too ‘salesy’ and that still covers topics related to dog training.
This is a problem that a lot of companies face: How do we create content that does two very crucial things simultaneously:
1 – Promotes our products
2 – Engages readers
Too many companies make sure they nail the promotion aspect of their content, and effectively create a blog that houses an endless stream of commercials disguised as blog posts. The irony of this approach is that by nailing the first point, the company ensures that its content will NOT engage readers. Any content that comes across to the reader as being promotion, is immediately tuned out.
So then how do we walk the tightrope of creating content that has value for the company (promotes your products) while at the same time having value for the reader?
It’s actually very easy to do this. Let’s go back to Josh’s example. What most companies would want to do is talk directly about the products that Josh is manufacturing for dog owners and trainers.
The secret, is to instead create content about how (and why) your customers will use the product. Think about your ideal customer. Who are they, and what problems are they trying to solve by buying this product? Think about how your product fits into their lives, and blog about that. This is what the customer wants to know, she wants to know how your product is going help them solve a particular problem, or help them with a particular task, or help them accomplish something.
You don’t want to blog about your product directly, instead, you want to blog about how your product fits into your customer’s life. That’s how you create content that engages your customer.
If you’re still skeptical, consider that Facebook did a study in 2012 where it analyzed the content created on the site’s most popular brand pages. The goal was to discover what type of content created by these brands drove the highest levels of engagement. Facebook found that the type of content that drove the highest engagement levels was content related to but not ABOUT the brand. Content that directly promoted the brand underperformed, but content related to the brand was more customer-centric, and as a result it resonated more with customers. Same thing here: Content related to your brand and how your brand/product relates to your customer is customer-centric, which means it is content that customers will find more engaging.
And here’s the secret: Creating engaging content about how your product relates to your customer is the best promotion for your product!
A great way to get an idea of how to create content that appeals to your customers (but that also relates to your products) is to answer the questions that your customers are asking. What questions do they have about your product? About the proper way to use your product? These questions give you key insights into who your customers are, and how your product could improve their lives.
So here’s the template:
1 – Take your product
2 – Don’t blog directly about the product. Instead, blog about the ways that your customer would use your product, and the reasons why they would use your product. The idea is, you want to blog about how the product fits into your customer’s life, versus just the product itself.
Because if you blog directly about the product, your potential customers will view it as a commercial, and tune it out. But if you blog about your customers instead, and how your product could fit into their lives, then the content becomes far more interesting and relevant to those customers!
And here’s the real secret. I’ve followed this same template in this blog post. This post was written to create value for companies that need help crafting a content strategy for their blog and online marketing efforts. These companies are the type of companies I want to work with and help advise on creating a content strategy. So in essence, this post becomes a promotion for my content consulting, but it doesn’t come across as a commercial, because the post creates value (hopefully) for companies that need clarity around their content strategies. If your company needs advice on how to craft a content strategy for your blog, please email me and let’s discuss your needs!