The Magic of Content Marketing is in the Subtext

When you do content marketing, whether publishing a blog or doing something more resource-intensive like a podcast or webinar series, you’re giving a lot away with no guarantee of a return. Yet businesses are recognizing how essential content marketing is to their long-term growth. Good content marketing works because it communicates three things: 

  1. We care.” You’re invested in your industry and care enough to help people who aren’t necessarily your customers make informed decisions. In fact, you care so much that you’re giving away intellectual capital for free. If you were rich enough to retire and build a mansion on a private island you might keep doing this anyway. 
  2. We’re competent and reliable.” You know what you’re talking about. You keep up-to-date on best practices and industry trends. This helps you provide better value to your clients than competitors. Improv comedy is great, but improvisation isn’t part of your business ethos. 
  3. We’re trustworthy.” You don’t hold your cards too close to your chest. This doesn’t mean you smoke a peace pipe every weekend with your competitors and exchange marketing tips. It does mean: 
    • When it comes to your customers you have a relational mindset, not a transactional one. Sure, you want to make money, but you don’t have an obsessively bottom-line orientation. You’re here to satisfy—and if that takes some troubleshooting? Let’s troubleshoot.
    • You’re transparent in the ways that matter. You’re willing to put your ideas out there because they’re helpful (but not necessarily perfect).
    • This is a conversation. You’re not here to lord expertise over people; you’re interested in other people’s perspectives and happy to respond to follow-up questions. 

Good marketing doesn’t begin with pitching a product or service; it begins with establishing trust. Content marketing is an effective, scalable way to do this. A good content strategy is lots of work and rarely delivers an immediate boost to your bottom line, but over time it pays dividends. If you want more of an overview on content marketing, try this five-minute read.

How can content marketing make your business more profitable? Contact us for a free consultation.

  1. Likeability. Creating content with a distinctly likeable voice takes a certain finesse. B2B companies don’t need to prioritize likeability the way consumer-facing (B2C) brands do, but it usually helps.  

For instance, humor is one of our core values and a defining feature in our writing and visual content. Research shows that humor is one of the most effective ingredients to make yourself likeable. It takes judgment to use in a way that makes you sound approachable without crossing into amateur territory, but humor helps make you memorable and persuasive. I’ve successfully used funny movie references, analogies and oddball closing remarks to breathe life into seemingly dry topics. 

We’re not trying to make people laugh so hard they spit coffee all over their keyboards. We’re relating to people by using techniques we enjoy and, coincidentally, that make our writing memorable. Being able to make someone chuckle also makes her more likely to request a consult or buy a product. Using a light touch in your writing suggests that you’re less likely to be awkward on the phone or make tone-deaf remarks in person. 

Here’s a quote I keep in mind when using humor in business writing: 

On occasion it’s great to laugh until you think you’re going to pop a rib out of place, but I wish more people would appreciate light touches. There’s a Goldilocks zone for business writing. The light touches of analogy, quirky anecdotes, and the shared pleasures and frustrations of everyday life are to business writing what cinnamon and cardamom are to hot beverages 

Posted on: October 29, 2018