Two people share a small table at a small restaurant. Facing one another across the cutlery, they are guarded yet curious. This is a first date.
“Nice restaurant. How did you find out about it?”
“Well,” the date responds, “Think of me as a life-long student, actually master, of Italian culture and cuisine. I travel to Italy twice a year. This past summer, I’m visiting with two college friends–we met playing ultimate frisbee. I was in both of their weddings. My speeches were incredible. The transcripts are in my wallet–and we’re staring up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel–overrated if you ask me–when I notice a portly looking gentleman to my right. I think, ‘that guy knows good Italian food.’ An astute observation, right? So I ask for a recommendation. You see, I value the opinions of others. By the way, don’t even think about getting anything but the gnocchi here. Anyway, I’m chatting with this portly gentleman in my perfect Italian when…”
15 minutes later.
“…And I say, ‘I really do have the same bone structure as the Statue of David!’ From then on, I’ve taken all my first dates to this restaurant. I’m pretty much a regular here.”
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the All About Me Type. Actually, you probably don’t need an introduction. Everyone knows a person who reminds us of this self-centered, over-confident character. Perhaps you’ve even dated one.
But why am I writing about bad dates on a content marketing blog? Because the dating habits of the All About Me Type resemble the communication habits of too many marketing departments.
Consider these telltale signs of All About Me marketing:
- Constantly talking about (awesome) products, (unparalleled) services, or (rad) new features
- Creating content for the needs of the company without considering the needs or interests of buyers
- Filling social streams with promotions, accolades, and self-serving calls to action, such as “Demo now!”
Sound familiar? None of us want to be “that” marketing department. But if you recognize elements of that self-centered character in your marketing communications, well, you’re not alone. But if you want to get ahead, it’s time to change. Here are three ways to get rid of those unloveable habits, produce effective content, and actually connect with your buyers:
1. Find out who your customers are, and what they care about.
Some of the best relationship advice I’ve ever heard is, “Never underestimate the power of a listening ear and a thoughtful question.” Embrace this tip for your marketing. Listen to what your buyers enjoy and where they need help, whether through digital body language, data and research, surveys, social media, comments on your blog, or customer feedback. These insights will help you understand and relate to your customers, providing you with endless fodder for conversation beyond product updates and features.
2. Create content that’s interesting and valuable to your target audience.
Once you understand your buyers and what they’re interested in, think of creative ways to entertain and support them. Look into how they consume content, and test different topics and content types.
For example, do they enjoy 1-minute tutorial videos? Do they prefer long-form content like eBooks or white papers? Discover what works for your buyers, then focus your efforts on the most valuable areas.
3. Share insights from influencers, and respond to customers and prospects.
The content you share doesn’t have to be exclusively “yours.” Even if your content is valuable, sharing only your work is reminiscent of that All About Me marketing you’re trying to stop.
Share a mix of your content and the most valuable information from thought leaders and influencers on topics relevant to your buyers. By consuming and sharing the content that they consume and share, they’ll respect you as a resource on issues they care about, not to mention it will help you build relationships with the influencers that already have authority on these topics.
So, ready to commit to better marketing and content? Start with these three steps, and get ready to move beyond All About Me marketing to buyer-focused communications.