Hope you had the chance to see our Facebook posting on Wednesday, July 9 with a link to a blog by John Hall – “Content marketing is a long-term commitment, not a campaign.” (If not, just click.)
Hall makes the point that Web content, blogs, and of course, social media postings should be about relationship building – not selling something. We’re not only in agreement with this observation, we’d like to riff on it a bit.
Okay. No one likes to be “sold.” I certainly don’t and, unless you’re a closet masochist, it’s probably not your favorite thing either. But most people do like learning new things that are useful and meaningful to them. Your job as an effective marketer and digital communicator is to figure out just what those things are. Because once you start delivering valuable information to potential customers on a regular basis, you’ll become much more than just another “vendor.” Or even a “trusted resource.” You’ll be a problem solver they can rely on and a partner in their success.
When all is said and done, the best ad, no matter how effective and brilliant, is only two-dimensional. But content marketing is a multi-level, interactive media. Your customers can not only take in information, they can respond to it directly and tell you what they think – good or bad. (By the way, that can be a huge benefit in itself and you can claim it without going through the time, trouble and expense of conducting a focus group.)
Your customers can also share their opinion with friends and total strangers. If that opinion is a good one, they can become “brand advocates” as Hall describes. But even if a customer comment isn’t positive, it still presents you with an opportunity to show your commitment to customer satisfaction by publicly addressing and resolving the complaint.
What I find truly fascinating about this “new” form of marketing communications is – it’s not new at all. It’s the kind of relationship building sales people used to do when they went door-to-door in a particular area at certain times of the year. The difference is that now, instead of connecting only with customers within an area several blocks square, your “territory” can be as wide as the world and you can work it 24/7. But the principal is the same. It’s about retaining customers by building relationships based on trust. Technology may be how those relationships are established and grown but what makes it all work is the sincerity of business owners who are willing to put the satisfaction of their customers ahead of profit.