For our clients at Don’t Panic, I write about a wide variety of pretty bland topics. From small business loans to accounts receivables management to high speed internet, it can be difficult to write compelling material when the topic at hand makes even my eyes glaze over.
But then I think about the reader.
Somewhere, a budding entrepreneur reading about small business loans has an idea—a passion—and is just looking for a little help to make it happen. The business owner reading about accounts receivables may be desperate to get outstanding invoices paid so he can afford to both pay his employees and cover his own mortgage at the end of the month.
These are real needs. Heart needs. And they impact the readers’ lives in ways far beyond the seemingly dull topic at hand. Every article I write has the potential to help my reader find a solution that betters their lives in some way.
Age Old Concepts for a New Marketing Medium
It may go by a different name, and it may approach the consumer with the veiled goal of “helping, not selling,” but your blog content ultimately has the same endgame as any other piece of marketing copy: to connect with your prospect’s core values in a way that sways them to buy.
In the same way that stand-out advertising copy sells a lifestyle rather than a product, the difference between bland and stellar blog content lies in your ability to connect with your audience’s true, underlying need.
The Case Study that Still Holds True
Apple’s “Think Different” campaign from the late nineties was a classic example of this lifestyle vs. product based marketing approach. Breaking through the boundaries of advertising standards at the time, “Think Different” tapped a deep emotional undercurrent that struck a nerve with audiences, making Apple the go-to brand for a generation of technology users that identify with the company’s mantra.
To this day, Apple benefits from a huge market share of loyal customers who will choose Apple products regardless of price or competitive features—because the customers aren’t buying a product. They’re buying the way that being an Apple user makes them feel.
SEO Can’t Be the Goal
Of course, search engine optimization is a primary catalyst for the increasing ubiquity of blog content. From main street Mom and Pop shops and B2B service providers to trendy tech startups and big-budget Wall Street enterprises, companies fighting for clicks in the digital age have to create organic opportunities for keyword placement. But if the audience on your mind is a Google Bot, your content marketing strategy will always miss the mark.
With every word, you have to remember that on the other side of that screen who is a real human being who wants to be informed and persuaded in a buying decision. Yes, you need to put the right keywords in the right places, but that’s only the beginning. Your true purpose is to connect to a real person with real thoughts, feelings, goals, and dreams.
What Does Your Customer Really Want?
Whether you’re a business owner writing your own blog content or a writer for hire promoting a client’s offering, you have to understand the true desire behind your audience’s keyword search.
Think of “best teeth whitener” as “how to get a date to the prom.” Maybe “data backup services” really means “keeping my family’s pictures and memories safe.”
As you sit down to write your next blog, think beyond the surface of what your content is selling, and paint a picture in your head of your customer’s bigger hopes and dreams. You’ll immediately turn bland, boring content into a piece of writing that truly stands out.