I cannot say it enough. Successful content marketing is about solving your customers’ problems. And that requires a cultural change within the company. We have to see content marketing as our solution, more than our products.
Because if you show customers how they can face their challenges and, on the other hand, emerge as winners, this creates trust. You position your expertise, not your products and services, as an authority in your area. Your products and services are just props that you can use to tell your story.
It just so happens that the problems you solve are the same that your products and services do as an entrepreneur Alex Ionides mention, that. But what if your content could be a step ahead of the problem curve?
If you do that, you will be more than just an expert. You become a thought leader.
A bit like this doctor, who encourages you to maintain a healthy weight and exercise before you turn into a heart attack waiting to happen. Your content can do the same for your customers.
Fast food stalls:
- If your content is ahead of the “response cycle,” you can avoid customer problems.
- Break up the silos in your company, promote diversity and work together to find common ground.
- Be transparent about errors in your products and services.
- Receive advance notice from all of your company’s teams and feedback from your audience.
The book of the leading guru Dan Heath, Upstream: Finding solutions to problems before they occurexamines how executives in different industries can do just that. Break the “reaction cycle” and you always stay one step ahead of the curve.
Instead of extinguishing fire, you can prevent it.
Common sense can help. And I would definitely agree with Heath that a change in mindset – and I would add a marketing transformation – is overdue in most organizations.
Break the silos
But it can also dismantle the silos that divides us into departments. How on earth can you solve a problem if you never talk to your sales reps about content?
After all, they are the ones who hear the rumble before a problem occurs.
And how about your subject matter experts? Regardless of whether they are doctors, engineers, or developers, they can probably predict what problems are likely to occur.
They cannot just give you an overview of what could happen. They may also be able to fix potential problems before they occur.
Why not work out these types of opportunities with them instead of your usual meetings with your own team? By combining your creative instincts with their expertise, you can create content that makes you appear like a clairvoyant.
If you just stay in your comfort zone, you will never solve problems that others outside of this zone face. So go outside of this zone when setting and brainstorming to find alternative views.
If your tribe leans to the left, look for your right colleagues for their insights. If you are usually with those of your own ethnic or cultural heritage, be adventurous. Learn what life looks like from your eyes.
Contact people whose gender, fashion sense, learning style or mother tongue is not your own. You will be surprised how you see things.
If you see things the way others do, you can combine your life experiences with theirs. With the knowledge you gain by following in their footsteps, you can discover a cauldron of problems that can later become problems.
Find common ground
With different perspectives that give your brainstorming sessions depth and attention to detail, it is important to find common ground. These areas can be a fruitful source of ideas on how to solve your customers’ problems before they start.
Lead with transparency
No company can solve all of its customers’ problems. Admit that. If you make transparency a priority, your customers will feel comfortable sharing problems that may be hidden beneath the surface.
Transparency creates trust in your company – just like your specialist knowledge. Do you remember Volkswagen’s legendary “Think Small” campaign?
If you are dealing with issues that potential customers might see as mistakes (e.g., a tiny car in the 1960s that muscle cars owned), these mistakes can become strengths. At Volkswagen, these strengths proved to be easier parking and less fuel efficiency.
Let’s say today your app is a bit slow, but it offers a comprehensive management platform for all processes in a company. If you are aware of this perceived mistake while speaking about the app’s broad nature, you can limit expectations but let customers know about its unique value.
Then work on improving these errors. After your development team has resolved all of the problems, create content that shows how the product has helped companies manage their day-to-day affairs even more efficiently.
Think: “What if …?”
As you work together on upcoming content, ask your team and other people in your company for a while, “What happens if X happens?” Recognizing possible results from different situations can help you create content around solutions such as Inc’s John Boitnott mention, that.
Receive and give advance notice
Keep other team members informed of upcoming marketing changes. On the other hand, you need to maintain good relationships with your company’s management team.
Proactively ask about upcoming product launches, new business models and new production methods. Ask questions that can help your customers solve potential problems.
Ask for customer feedback
Customer feedback is a key factor in the impressive success of the Agile methodology and important to nip problems in the bud. The more you communicate with your customers in social media, blog comments, and elsewhere, the more proactive your content can be.
Finally test your results
One of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve is to test your results. Assume that you have identified a potential problem and created content to solve it.
Check out the engagement of your audience. If your content is on target, current and potential customers will take the opportunity to digest and use it.
For example, let’s say you read comments on your blog or social media that indicate that some of your target audience didn’t understand your content. Then you have to optimize it so that they understand. If the content did not solve the problem, return to the drawing board and create the appropriate content.
Don’t stay in the middle of the pack. Take the lead with content that is ahead of the curve.
If you’re ready to drive more traffic to your website by consistently publishing proactive problem-solving content, check out our Content Builder service. Set up a quick consultation and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today – and generate more traffic and leads for your business.
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