Content strategy, door to door sales, cold calls, cold emails, blah blah blah. While running your business I’m sure you’ve heard of all of them. You have marketers contacting you day and night. They tell you that their method is the best. Who do you believe?
Let’s look at a strategy that ultra successful companies are using every day to get more leads which they turn into customers and partners: content strategy.
What is content strategy?
Moz defines it like this: Content strategy concerns itself with the vision—the ins and outs of how and why your content will be created, managed, and eventually archived or updated. It looks at all of the content your customers ever encounter.
Companies like Red Hat rely on content strategy for new customers. Why should you care about their example? Red Hat is a multi-billion dollar tech company that thrives on its innovation, values and yes, its sticky marketing strategy.
How Red Hat uses content strategy?
“All content is not created equal. Some content will go viral, generating tons of hot traffic to your blog, while other content will be lost in the archives. If you want more of the first kind, you’ve got to put your readers first.” - Neil Patel
Great content strategy takes what you learn from your customers and uses it to focus your writing on your customers wants and needs. To do this you need to ask questions like, what do my customers care about? Why do they care about it? How can I give it to them in the most emotional way possible?
Why is Red Hat a great example?
Red Hat doesn’t choose one type of content and offer that to everyone whether they like it or not. Why not? Have you ever read an article that was so impersonal that it irritated you to the point of closing the website as fast as possible? I know I have.
Red Hat realized the danger of this. So, their content strategy involves showing a personal interest in their readers and satisfying their needs. Let’s look at 3 examples:
What does a developer want to see when going to the Red Hat website?
A developer wants to learn the system in the easiest manner possible. A product that’s a pain to work with or lacks training materials is something a developer hates.
Red Hat knows this and they work hard to create a supportive atmosphere. Their content strategy includes the creation of free guides, trial downloads and even free e-books to get people started. They have so many resources that even non-developers feel like they can get started.
Customers are very different. They want you to provide the solution, and they need to trust you to get the job done.
How do you get people to trust you? One way is to give them social proof. In his book Influence, Dr. Robert Cialdini proves that people will do things that they see other people are doing. It’s important for customers to know that these solutions work for people in their industry.
Red Hat strikes again. They have tons of customer success stories, that are broken down by industry and product line. You can read case studies or watch videos that bring these stories to life.
Customers have the peace of mind of a product that’s heavily trusted in their industry.
So far we’ve seen how developers need support and customers need trust. But, what about partners?
The answer is in the name. A partner is someone you work with. It doesn’t feel like a partnership if both parties aren’t benefiting. Then it’s more like a leech on your foot. Who wants that?
So what’s Red Hat’s message?
“Let’s do something great. Together.” - Red Hat
Their partner page is focused on partner benefits. Again we see them use social proof to build trust. Big companies like Microsoft, HP, and IBM are all partners. What technology company doesn’t want to experience the same success as these juggernauts?
Instead of a me, me, me experience Red Hat consistently focuses on its audience.
What does this mean for you?
You don’t have to be a big company to create a great content strategy, but you can learn from what big companies are doing right.
Red Hat personalizes content for its audience and you can too. You don’t need large databases or a massive research team. In fact, the best research even from big companies is found when collecting data 1 on 1. For example, in the book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg uses the example of Febreze. The company Proctor & Gamble only learn how to target their customers when they go into a customer's home and observe how they use the product.
As a small business owner, you have the opportunity to work with your customers on a more personal level than the corporate giants. This gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn what makes them choose you over the rest.
Use these opportunities to put together a buyer persona, or a fictional persona that represents your ideal customer. Knowing your customers is fundamental to creating a successful content strategy. Whenever you create something you’ll be able to answer, how will my customer feel about this?
Then like Red Hat, you can create content that doesn’t irritate or annoy your readers into running to the competition.
OK, so maybe this won’t turn you into a million dollar company overnight. This isn’t a miracle drug. What it is, is a proven method for creating reliable growth. Growth that given time will help you achieve success over and over again.
If you’d like to chat about your content strategy, schedule a conversation with me here.