Content Marketing: It's Not Just Business, It's Personal

When going out and meeting new people, inevitably the question "What do you do for a living?" comes up. Somehow my answer, "Content Strategist," didn't seem to spark the imagination of my audience, most times leaving the conversation flat. As a marketer, my instinct told me I needed to come up with a more engaging response by making people relate to it. A light bulb went off while watching the movie Hitch. That's when I realized that just like Will Smith's character in the film, the content I develop for our clients helps attract and woo the customers of their dreams. After all, you can say that sweet talking, poetry writing, flower buying, fancy dinners, and romantic walks in the park constitute "content marketing strategies" that men have been using for centuries to win women over and pursue long-term relationships. It takes two to tango even for businesses, so it's the website content, blog articles, email marketing campaigns, and social media presence that enables them to attract and engage the right customers. And just like in real life, while the courting game comes naturally for some, others need a little bit more guidance. There's nothing wrong with that -  after all, that's where the Content Strategist, aka the "Dating Coach for Businesses," can come to your aid in developing high-quality content. Whether you choose to work with a digital agency or want to create your own strategy, here are the 5 most important "dating tips" to put your best foot forward: 1. Be AUTHENTIC In today's crowded market environment it's getting harder to stand out. The good news is that authenticity is not dependent on big advertising spend, a dedicated marketing department, or a celebrity endorsement. Authenticity is the universal marketing tool available to anyone, for FREE. So when you put out content, on-site or off-site, make sure it reflects who you are and what you stand for. People want to see reflections of themselves in your brand, so your content marketing efforts should uncover what motivates your business and help the world see it with fresh eyes, like this example from Everlane. Everlane

2. Tell your STORY People are attracted to good stories! Luckily for businesses who have a presence online, there's no better place to start telling your story than on your own website. The "About Us" page is one of the most visited pages on a website, yet somehow it ends last on the list of priorities when developing content. It is a mistake to assume that this page should just focus on conveying a message of "Here we are - notice us." The job of the "About Us" page is to make a connection with the visitors and give them a reason why they should care about you or your brand. It is usually the first place a potential customer looks before they start to take you seriously, so make sure it tells your story in a personal voice (in other words, ditch the corporate speak). Take a lead from Mailchimp below, who even added a touch of authenticity by having a cat wear their monkey logo (in crochet!): MailChimp

3. Earn the TRUST Most good relationships are based on a gradual, almost imperceptible development of trust, comfort, and togetherness that have nothing to do with the Ryan-Gosling-in-The Notebook fantasies. The same approach needs to be taken with content marketing, whether you send out e-newsletters, publish blog articles or post to social media. Be mindful of people's time by asking permission to market to them in a thoughtful way and provide them with relevant information about what they want and need to know. This quicky message from Poppin had me at hello before I could even move my mouse. popping_email_capture_form

4. Focus on your CUSTOMERS People choose to be in relationships because they want to be changed for the better. We expect the other person to lead us to a stronger, more positive and wonderful version of ourselves. Why should business relationships be any different? How you make your customers feel influences how they behave towards your company. If the customers like you they will buy your products and services. It's that simple! Warby Parker made their customer feel strongly about buying their products, disrupting the optical industry and creating a passionate following in the process with their "Do Good" campaign.

Warby Parker's "Do Good"

5. Pay attention to DETAILS Like personalities, and pretty much everything else on Earth, things change over time. After six years, you probably won't have the same relationship you did after six months or six weeks - but that's not a bad thing. The secret to long-lasting business relationships is letting your customers know that you still care about them by continually listening to what their needs are and then pleasantly surprising them through your content. It really is about the small details! If you are selling art prints, how about putting together a "How to Hang a Gallery Wall" post for your customer base like this blog post below from Westelm? Westin

The Internet, along with access to online tools that enable you to engage, share, and spread your ideas, has revolutionized the way businesses tell their stories. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that your content marketing strategy needs to have an impact at a personal level. Want more "dating tips" to make your audience fall in love with your brand? Leave a comment below or tweet us @BFMweb.

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