A Marketer's Most Important Question to Answer: Who Cares?
July 14, 2015
Imagine being cornered listening to someone talk about a topic you can't relate to. Unfortunately, when you're in this situation in person, you find yourself standing there, sending SOS signals, hoping someone in the room will save you.
Now, imagine that person cornering you is content and the room you're in is the internet. Oh, how things change. You don't need saving. That information sharing can end with one click in seconds.
Internet users. Such an impatient bunch. That is, until something is beneficial.
Selling Versus Solving
Particularly in B2B, instead of focusing on their audience's issues, I find people write about things (like their product or service) they want their audience to know about. I mean, we are marketing - we're trying to sell something, right?
Wrong. We're trying to solve something.
When you search online, you are looking for an answer and/or proof. Do you type in 'capital of Wyoming' because you know it already? Therefore, if your content is structured to solve something for your readers, you align perfectly with the search engine framework.
Identify Pain Points
Before you reach trust, loyalty and ultimately, advocacy, you must develop relevant content for your target audience. You must know what makes your audience take action. If you don't know what your audience is thinking, how can you influence their decisions?
As a client advocate, I challenge subject matter experts to write down a list of pain points their audience deals with on a daily basis (not just the ones that relate to your business, think about all of them). Next to each of those pain points, identify HOW their life would run more smoothly if that pain point was removed. It allows the writer to pinpoint the main topic and focus their message.
What About the Product/Service?
Some pain points may not be tied to your product or service. Or are they? Take some time to think about how your audience's pain points can be solved directly and indirectly by your business.
Case Study: Think Tank Water Reduction Campaign
My client identified high water consumption in manufacturing plants as a major pain point for their audience. Why, because it cost a great deal of money and energy. As an engineering and construction company, an entity known to be done once the plant opens, helping manufacturers in an operating plant may seem like a long stretch, but we did and it benefited business.
The team solves their customers' problem by developing a water reduction content highlighting new technologies and methods that help manufacturers revamp their water reduction plan. As a result, they set themselves up as an expert to engineer more efficient lines that help with water usage and to construct facilities with this water reduction goal in mind.
A reader of this content may go through the steps this way:
Solve a problem - "Now, I know how to reduce my consumption in my plant."
Build trust - "Thanks for sharing. You really care about my issues."
Gain loyalty - "I want to avoid these issues in our next plant. I know who to call."
Grow advocacy - "These guys are really helpful, I have to tell my colleague."
So What if You Don't
If I don't see how a piece of content helps me fairly quickly, I'm gone. Are you any different? On average, if a person does not find content beneficial, interesting or entertaining in 8 seconds (or less), they leave the page. That's why making it abundantly clear why your reader should care about your topic is so important. You don't have much time.
If you don't answer so what, you've missed an opportunity to:
Move your reader to take action.
Influence their perspective.
Educate your reader about your product or service.
Capture contact information.
Ultimately, if you don't care about your readers' issues, they won't care about your content. Sorry...not sorry.