Seth Godin has famously said that “content marketing is the only marketing left.”
Why? It’s a reciprocal arrangement, where we, as brands, offer the customer something valuable, aiming to help them, and to engender trust. Very much like teaching someone a skill you might have. Very much like a helpful conversation.
Allow me to share a few of the ways that you might improve your conversations with customers—which just may yield better content marketing overall, and vice versa.
Your business is built on good conversations. And excellent content can start influential conversations with customers. Winning content can:
If your content is already starting conversations that accomplish any of the above, you’re ahead of the game—and you know that starting a conversation means that people are not only talking with you, but probably about you as well. People are looking for you, asking about you. Conversations provoke questions, inquiries–and often new ideas for projects or campaigns.
Getting potential customers to talk to you, rather than observe you from afar is the hook. If content frames an idea or query, ignites a connection, speaks to customers’ pain points, people will want to know more. They’ll come closer. Lean in. Extend a handshake and an introduction.
When you get the word out there by participating in an interview or panel, giving a seminar, writing an excellent blog post, freshening your website, or putting out a press release, you’re content marketing—and conversations will increase exponentially.
Instead of struggling to achieve conversions first, then, we might instead begin by working on having better conversations.
You already know the tools that make conversations possible: social media accounts, emails, polls, pop-up surveys, and more. Unfortunately, these methods do not always make for back-and-forth communication. Conversation master and Ted Talk alum, Celeste Headlee, has some of the best tips I’ve come across to help us all polish up our communication skills:
1. Engage your potential customers on a single level. Stick to one topic at a time. Pick one goal for your content per posting.
2. When in conversation, assume there is something for you to learn in it.
3. Use your content as a way to hear back from your potential customers. Use forums. Encourage replies to your emails. Invite controversy. Ask yourself these questions:
4. Follow the natural flow of your conversation with the customer. If your content is not answering a question for a potential customer, you’re not having a conversation with him or her.
5. Respect your customer’s time. Be brief. When the conversation is over, it’s over.
Above all, when it comes to conversations, get out there and get curious. Ask questions. Answer a few. You may just find yourself in a good conversation. And that’s exactly where you want to be.
About Forge & Spark Media
We know how critical your relationship with your customers and clients is. We specialize in working with organizations to craft meaningful content and marketing strategy that genuinely connects with the audiences that matter to you. Drop me a note to find out more.