Stories are nothing new. They’ve been around for as long as we have. The earliest humans gathered around the campfire and figured out that effective storytelling was the best way to pass on the information that was vital for survival. They knew that truly connecting with their audience in an emotional way was a matter of life and death.
Some businesses think storytelling is about explaining what you sell or telling people what you do. But effective storytelling explains what you do for your customers. The power of stories lies in making the reader and the consumer part of the story.
That is the trick to creating Epic Content Marketing.
I had the honor and pleasure of writing the forward for Joe Pulizzi’s upcoming book Epic Content Marketing where Joe states that “Publishing is the new marketing.” As it is the only way to “cut through the noise, commotion and bad information that is right now cluttering up your customer’s digital space.”
The world is now swimming in content and information. While we, as content consumers, are having fun creating and consuming all of this content that moves around the world in milliseconds, marketers and businesses are struggling. We are struggling in a growing battle for customer attention.
The era of one-way, single-threaded, brand-directed mass communications is officially over. And yet most of the content and the messages coming out of businesses today is firmly stuck in the good old days. As marketing tactics have become less and less effective, businesses have responded by creating more and more promotional content that no one wants, no one likes and no one responds to.
The only way to reach our audience in today’s information-drenched, content-saturated world is through Epic Content Marketing that emotionally connects with the people we are trying to reach.
I met Joe Pulizzi at a conference just a few short years ago. I was so thrilled to meet him because I heard him talking about how content marketing was nothing new but that it is still a young and immature discipline at many brands. I heard Joe show examples from some of the greatest brands in the world like John Deere, Proctor & Gamble and Red Bull.
The biggest obstacle to creating Epic Content Marketing is in the “why?” – helping our teams to understand that if we think and act like a publisher, we will create more of the content our customers are looking for. And LESS of the content they ignore. One of the biggest challenges in content marketing is to put the needs of our customers ahead of our own and to tell stories that connect with people.
To create Epic Content Marketing, you have to identify your potential customers’ top questions and search terms. Document the questions about how your solutions generally can help a business with its biggest problems: how to grow, how to reduce costs, how to beat the completion, how to gain loyal customers.
Then meet with teams across your organization to walk them through the step-by-step process of how to answer those questions using the content types and channels that your customers are using.
At a minimum, try to be helpful. Ideally, try to even entertain them. Help them become successful in their careers. Because if you do this, they will not only know who you are and what you do but also that you are a partner for their business.
No matter where you are on the journey to creating content your customers want, remember that it is not about creating more content. It is all about creating Epic Content Marketing that will help your business to truly stand apart.