The Beauty of Content Marketing
Marketing has two sides. There is a personal side and an impersonal side. The impersonal side of marketing is all about statistics, numbers, and manipulation. I get so tired of marketing that focuses on minutia and tweaks that will supposedly increase the chosen statistic by a small percent. I’ve even seen people at networking events with an impersonal approach, failing to listen or connect with anyone, but simply trying to hand out as many business cards as possible.
I understand that measuring your results is important (and it is so easy with content marketing!). But it often seems that marketers are completely missing the boat. They have only the impersonal side of marketing, when in reality the real reason for marketing is to build connections and relationships. After all, we are marketing to people, right?
It is the personal side of content marketing that appeals to me, both as a business owner and marketer as well as a consumer.
The principles of content marketing are beautiful. They are founded on the goal of building connections with other human beings. It is what makes working on marketing feel like generosity rather than pushiness.
Here are three assumptions that form the basis for personal content marketing:
Prospects are people, not numbers
Some internet marketing is about statistics (traffic, conversions, etc…). But when it comes to content, it is about treating your list like people, and building a relationship with them. Producing content that speaks to them, and even engaging in a conversation with them through social media, comments, or e-mail responses.
In the end, attracting large numbers doesn’t mean much if they aren’t the right kind of people for your business, and you aren’t able to connect with them. It’s a quality vs. quantity issue.
In fact, it is possible to have a successful business with a relatively small list or following if they are highly engaged.
People are smart
Our ideal clients are not going to fall for quick, manipulative marketing tactics. That just doesn’t work anymore in this space. They have a healthy skepticism about many things online, and it takes a lot to earn their trust. People are looking for value and consistency. Reliable information is much more likely to influence someone’s decision.
As business owners and marketers, we have the opportunity to engage with people at a higher level and provide them the content they are looking for. Rather than trying to convince them to click on something, assume that they will find what they are looking for. All you have to do is give it to them.
Content marketing is rooted in generosity. In fact, one common question I get is, “Aren’t I giving away too much for free?” While I understand this concern, the truth is that the more you are able to give away, the higher your perceived value and the greater your ability to attract people to you.
We’re not talking about giving away products and services that are your source of income. Instead, it’s about giving away information and knowledge. By giving value up front, you are building trust and showing that you are the person to go to when people have questions or needs in your area of expertise.
Rather than racing to see who can take the most, it is an approach that focuses on giving and recognizing that what we give away will come back to us… one way or another.
Both the personal and impersonal side of online marketing have their place, and in fact they work well together. But my approach focuses on the personal side, because I believe that is core of what we are doing. Without it, we end up creating an impersonal, manipulative environment. I’d rather be part of creating an environment filled with valuable information and the ability to build human connections. How about you?
Have you encountered personal or impersonal marketing online? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments!