But that phrase, ‘raise awareness’ is often assumed by companies to mean ‘free advertising’. Too many companies believe that they should start using social media tools, especially blogs, as a way to raise awareness or advertise the company as well as its products and services. So they turn their blogs and other social media channels into brochureware, creating digital advertisements that often miss the mark and leave the company shaking its fists at the thought leaders that convinced them that social media was the silver bullet that they needed.
Blogs and social media can very effectively raise awareness but you also have to consider if your audience is receptive to your message. Sometimes it pays to raise awareness of an idea or theme that relates to your products and services, instead of focusing directly on the products and services.
Let me give you a hypothetical example. Let’s say that tomorrow I decide to launch my first blog to raise awareness of my social media and digital marketing consulting services. So I start writing blog posts that describe in great detail the consulting services that I offer. Because this is why we blog, right? To leverage our blog to raise awareness of our products and services.
Here’s the problem: If a CMO reads my blog, and he sees it is about my consulting services, he thinks “Well we are already working with an agency that performs these services for us.” So my post on my services is immediately dismissed as being a waste of this CMO’s time.
But let’s say that instead of blogging about my services, I blog about the impact my services can have on clients. I talk about how a content strategy could help this CMO see better results from its company’s digital marketing efforts. I talk about ways to leverage social media to better connect with customers, and how to create content that leads to sales.
The CMO is intrigued, and asks his agency why they aren’t using these same tactics. Or better yet, he contacts me directly to learn more about my services and if I can help teach his company how to improve its own digital marketing efforts. The point is that you shouldn’t directly promote your products and services unless your customers are ready to buy and need that information to make a final decision. But if you are trying to leverage social media as a channel to raise awareness of your business, then your intended audience is very likely not ready to buy. So if you create content that focuses on selling to them, they will tune that content out.
Instead, you want to focus on creating content that creates value for your intended customers. You do this by focusing on how your product or services relate to your customer instead of focusing directly on the product or service.
Here’s a few examples from the product side:
If you are selling products to rid a lawn of pests, focus your content on creating a healthy lawn and landscaping
If you are selling cameras, focus your content on teaching customers how to take better pictures
If you are selling cooking utensils, create content that teaches your customers how to be better cooks
If you are selling luggage for business travelers, create content that focuses on business traveling
While your intended customers may not be aware of your products, they are aware of the topics that relate to your products. A potential customer may have never heard of your pots and pans, but that potential customer is a novice cook. So you should create content that helps her become a better cook. If you can show her how to become a better cook, that makes her aware of your cooking utensils. At that point, she’s interested in buying, and she can get more information on your products and order them, either on the blog itself, or by visiting your website.
The point is that your content can’t covert into a sale if your audience isn’t ready to buy.
Create content that informs them or helps them become better at some skill or technique that relates to your product or service, then they will pay attention to your product or service.
Then you can generate sales.