For many people, dating is not pleasant. Dating involves putting yourself out in the dating world for strangers to see, but it can often lead to embarrassment, and you have to comb through many duds before you find the right person. You also have to display as much value as possible without seeming haughty or desperate. Some single people may feel like everyone else has figured out dating already, but they just don’t get it.
It’s easy to look at everything that’s required of a business owner or marketer attempting content marketing and see similarities to dating. The good news, however, is that content marketing is easier and less complicated. Take a look at the similarities and differences between the two, and you may find yourself brimming with newfound confidence. If you’ve ever gone on a date, you can handle content marketing.
Image via Flickr by marcoverch
Many people have some inkling of romance in them, and when they meet someone new, they tend to imagine events way into the future: marriage, children, and even growing old together. While thinking ahead is not a big deal, something happens along the way that cuts the future short. This cut can hurt, but it’s a natural risk of learning more about someone — people are complicated.
Unlike in dating, however, you can have more certainty about the future if you plan your content strategy and take it seriously. Studies and statistics can help you see your market more clearly. You can communicate with influencers about the possible projects you could work on, communicate with your audience about what you have planned to be certain they’re on board, and study the trends in content marketing, such as the rapid growth of video. You can create a strategy to stay relevant to your current audience while building it faster and in more efficient ways.
Content marketing is all about attracting the people who matter to your business — your ideal customers — and weeding out everyone else. As in the world of romance, it can seem difficult or hopeless when in reality you’re simply going after the wrong people. If you know what you want and what a relationship looks like, you won’t waste anyone’s time, and you’ll be able to understand the approach and behavior that type of person is likely to respond to best.
In content marketing, you approach this objective with plenty of research on people and come up with the right ideas, promotion strategies, tones, and formats. Finding the right people in content marketing is far easier than finding a good partner because you can draw in thousands of people with some smart SEO optimization for blogs, video channels, and social media accounts. Plus, members of your target audience know exactly what they’re looking for because they typed a term into a search engine. If only dates could always be that clear!
As with dating, going into content marketing lightly and halfheartedly is the easiest way to get no return on investment. If you have an idea for content that your audience will most likely appreciate, but one that doesn’t invite much discussion or doesn’t challenge them, consider digging for a bolder idea. Creating content that couldn’t possibly bother anyone is a fast route to being forgettable. Be respectful to others, of course, but also respect your brand and the important ideas you’re trying to convey. Sometimes making an impression means stepping on a few toes.
An independent publishing firm, for example, could release an article with a list of the statistically least reputable publishing firms, complete with real horror stories from people they interviewed who did business with them. Yes, a risk is involved, but the company has a right to help people in the best ways its business can. That help may mean directing people away from bad decisions or breaking through limiting beliefs. Directness is easier in content marketing because instead of meeting people one on one, you can quickly draw a crowd of people who resonate with your message and thank you for it, which garners support.
Some people find that opening up about what they want in a partner to be awkward and uncomfortable even in a context that welcomes it, such as dating. A scarcity mindset exists, a feeling that the person in front of you is all you have, and you better not displease or disqualify the individual. This thinking isn’t healthy for either side, and it wastes everyone’s time. Admitting what you’re looking for can be tough for many people, especially in a one-on-one conversation: “I’m sorry, but I’m looking for someone who works out every week.”
In content marketing, because you’re working on such a large stage, you have no reason to enter a scarcity mindset. You can ask direct questions such as, “Are you a single mother and tired of using paper plates or Tupperware?” in your copy. You can also more easily be clear about what you want people to do. Create content that makes the results you want, such as ordering products or signing up for a service, seem like a no-brainer. Then clearly ask people to do what you want them to do.
Ultimately, content marketing is a lower pressure experience than dating, but many of the successful internal mindsets are the same. Treat your content marketing campaign like a lonely friend and you are the matchmaker. This attitude counters some of the stuffy, all-business attitudes that permeate the content marketing world, and it helps you project an air of confidence, care, and the more specific qualities that appeal to your audience.
The content marketing and dating worlds both have the same pitfalls, which you must avoid if you are to succeed: settling. Don’t take in the wrong audience simply because finding the right people is challenging, and don’t draw attention away from your content campaign because it wasn’t successful enough on your first try. Keep learning and assigning the right talent to each task. Figure out how your business can give people better content, provide that content, and make it easy to find so that your business can get larger rewards. Even the occasional mistake is another step forward.
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