Identifying customer wants and needs can’t be skipped, especially in content marketing.
How many times have you seen a company’s name, toll-free number and/or URL as the main graphic elements of a print or banner ad? How often have you read something like, “For more than 40 years, Roswell Automotive…” as the lead of an ad?
It’s natural to think your marketing materials should talk about you. But it’s not natural for people to want to read about you. People have bills to pay. They’re worried about their health. They’re looking for love. They need a quick dinner their kids will like.
People don’t pick up magazines, read newspapers, check out YouTube or visit websites because they want learn about you.
The smartest marketers know this and don’t focus on themselves in their advertising or brand content. Savvy marketers key in on the fact that their target customers have needs they want to satisfy. They have problems they want to solve.
How soon do you talk about your product or service in your brand content? Wait two beats. Start your message by reminding your target audience it has a need or opportunity. Then provide a generic solution to that problem or way to take advantage of that opportunity.
Now, you’ve got your reader hooked. He or she wants to hear what you have to sell that will provide the solution or solve the problem. NOW it’s time to talk about yourself. NOW you can wrap up your message by delivering the company’s unique selling differential as the solution the reader now craves.
As digital content specialist Martin Schenk advises in his article on marketing benefits rather than features, “Sell the hole, not the drill.”
You can even do this subliminally, telling a story that has nothing to do with your product or service. Not even mentioning it. But the story subtly presents the need and offers a solution. As the content sponsor, you automatically – and powerfully – get the glow as the White Knight, riding in to deliver.
Resist the temptation to talk about yourself in your lead. Resist the temptation to give the answer before you’ve asked the question. Talk about your target customer’s needs long before you talk about your benefits.