You’ve heard it before: people work with people they know, like and trust. Conveying, through your content marketing, who you are and how you work — your personality and that of your business — is crucial.
Trying to be something you aren’t — not being “authentic” or “genuine”– will just build a facade that could crumble in the face of an actual client. Customers need to trust you; giving them reason to think you’re representing yourself in an an untrue light won’t bode well for a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship. You’d feel uncomfortable if you took on a project and found out your new client had misrepresented the actual assignment. Your client will feel the same if you compose messages that ultimately sound like they came from someone else.
The content marketing utilized to promote your business should be created with the goal of communicating in a way that is personal and therefore trust-building. Your social media updates, blog posts, e-newsletters, web content, presentations — marketing communications across the board — need to incorporate various tactics that reinforce confidence in you, and encourage working with your company.
Your content marketing should represent the real you.
Ways to Make Your Content Personal — and Productive
- The Voice you utilize should realistically convey how you speak and communicate. Try to write in a way that equals how you might speak if you were having a one-to-one conversation. Don’t try to be funny…if you’re not. Teach, don’t preach. Now is the time to connect with candor. The “Voice” you use when creating your message should reflect how you really sound — do you chat in a familiar manner? Are you a teacher and come across as somewhat professorial? Do people who know you think you are serious, lighthearted, chatty or more direct? Take that approach in your content. And think about writers, journalists, bloggers, videographers that you enjoy and follow — why does their work resonate with you and why do you read their work or follow their commentary? You want the same reaction to your work.
- Style – Set up the premise of your content: what it is that you want to talk about and your reason for doing so. Write in a way that grabs…and keeps…the attention of your audience. Think short paragraphs, sentences that pack a punch, bullet point lists and subheads with substance; impeccable grammar and spelling. Compose with a beginning introduction, a middle that substantiates your premise and a justifiable conclusion. All this while entertaining, inspiring, educating, encouraging and ultimately convincing. The style is yours — but it needs to “fit” your reader.
- Any Visuals you incorporate are an important part of the equation — not only are optimized images important to your SEO, they are important to conveying, conceptually, what you are communicating. A good visual is, as the saying goes, worth at least 1000 words and should act, along with a good headline, as an enticement to read the accompanying post or article. Get creative here — an image that screams “stock” also says “I’m not putting a lot of thought into this.”
- The Topics you address reflect two things: you’ve listened to the “pain points” of your customers and are addressing them; showing that they are important to you. Answer the questions you get asked, solve the problems that you encounter daily — talk about them enough, and with substance, you build your “go-to expert” status.
- Don’t be afraid to state your Opinions: these are the real reasons customers work with you. The Views you set forth, what Beliefs you espouse, are true insights into what customers are going to get working with you and indicate the approach you will take. Back up your opinions and views or beliefs with valid reasoning and you will convince your audience. And if you don’t see eye-to-eye? Maybe this is not the customer for you…and you may not be the company for them. That’s okay — you’ll do your best work, and they’ll get the best results when everyone is on the same page.
- Incorporate real-life, relevant Experience into your content. Telling your story with examples that resonate with your audience ties them to you. By demonstrating how your participation solved the problem of another company with a similar concern or need, reinforces their feeling that you can help them, too.
My most successful blog post was very personal — it incorporated my own challenges training for a marathon: “Sometimes, It’s Good to Fall Down”
- Give readers the recipe for your Secret Sauce. Tell readers how you do what you do — and how they can do it too! While some companies feel that giving away the “good stuff” may put them out of business, the opposite is more often true: readers will realize they don’t have the time, expertise or wherewithal to actually execute. They need to hire you or buy your product!
Go forth and create content that speaks to your audience about their concerns. Do you it with your voice and in your style. Tell them how you think — and they’ll come around to your point of view. Once they know you and trust you, most likely the next step is to hire or recommend you.
Want to get personal? Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding and marketing expert. She works with startups and small- to mid-size businesses and is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.