So the past couple of posts have been focused on a couple of the traditional methods organizations use to execute a content marketing strategy. Another route would be just to hire someone to do Content Marketing for you. If you are interested in this, Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 provides a great network of content writers and strategists.
Today I'm going to dig into what I think is the easiest and most successful content strategy....Story Harvesting & Content Curation. In this task I want to harken back to Tom Hopkins the famous Sales Trainer. (favorite TH quote: "I never take advice from anyone more messed up than I am.")
Now over the years Tom has taught many popular sales techniques, but the number one of all time is the similar situation. We all know intuitively that the similar situation sale is the greatest customer acquisition strategy of all time...online or off. Every time we show a list of customers who have picked your product or service you are telling a similar situation story (we helped these people we can help you)
Yet this is the one thing we most often miss when contemplating content marketing. Thought leaders talk about themselves or give advice to you. Reviews are your efforts to get others to talk about you. (Compendium Rocks!)
Similar Situation Content is where you get others to talk about themselves or you talk about how you have helped others. What you are trying to provide is the kind of content that creates a vision where others can see themselves. All TV commercials are Similar Situation stories.
Here is a great story about a use case for porsche. The story is about a a guy who doesn't conform..who has confidence in his own future...who doesn't run with the crowd. Great Story.
But it's only one. Don't you want to sell to the conformer too? How about athletes, minorities, kids that did pay attention and get good grades, women?
My point is that we all know Similar Situation stories are the greatest marketing tool in the history of mankind, but with traditional media we are trapped: limited to only telling one story.
Peppers & Rodgers wrote the book The One to One Future almost 25 years ago. They told us that we (marketers) would need to tell individual stories to individual prospects. They contemplated a world where a company would have thousands of stories....before the Internet. Well that future is here...we now do what seemed like a distant vision. And we can do it easily.
My point here is that the best content marketing strategy is also the easiest. Simply empower all of your constituents to tell their story....not your story....Their Story.
OK so you ask now: "uhhh...sounds hard"
This is easy. Two simple tactics. The first is to empower your employees...basically invite them to tell the stories that happen in your business every day. "Who did you talk to?" "What problems were you presented with today?" "How did you help someone today?" These are the questions that drive the right story harvesting. You are not looking for thought leadership from your rank & file team, you are looking for the front line folks to help customers. Get them talking about how they do that. The fact is that many of them are frustrated because you won't empower them enough...here is your chance.
The second easy tactic to generate reams of Similar Situation Content is to use your email to solicit these stories from your existing customers. Again, this is not you asking them to talk about you...this is not you seeking a "review".
You want your customers to be talking about themselves: "What problem were you trying to solve when you came to us?" "What would you recommend others do?" "Why did you bring your Family to Florida this year?"
The questions may vary from business to business but the point has to be getting them to talk about their own situation.....that is going to be your absolute best content...it's free and hugely valuable.