And the predominant perspective across all these resources is that there is one solution that will pull you out of your post-pandemic slump – one path to overcoming. Experts and brands may disagree on what this path is exactly, but this content seems to be skewed towards the notion that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to remerging from the pandemic a winner in your industry. And this knowledge is being treated like a golden ticket to success – simply having access to it is enough to magically pull you up and get you on track for greatness. There is very little supporting this content strategically.
And as a purveyor of content, I get it. There’s really no sense in producing content that admits it’s fallible. But content that tries to be too much ends up standing alone, which poses a real problem.
The problem with static content sitting on a blog or content that is shared on social media or sent to an email list serve with the intention of preaching the good gospel of success, is that it doesn’t address the reader’s uniqueness. It doesn’t come alongside readers and offer to find the right solution for their unique position. Instead, it shouts from the rooftop, “Look at me and listen to my solution and marvel in how much it can help you! Now go and do it!”
This kind of standalone “megaphone” content assumes companies have everything else right except the one problem they’re looking to fix. So, if you’re having cash flow problems, you better have top-notch personnel that are ultra-committed, a sizable customer base, and a product that people can’t help but love. And if you don’t? Good luck trying to follow the expert advice being offered because there isn’t much of a network to support this kind of centerstage content.
And this error isn’t just a problem with business resources, it happens in the consumer realm as well.
Make it About Readers, Not You
Treating content as the main event can’t work because it ignores the fact that content should support a broader overall strategy of helping your audience. This approach makes your content more about you than your readers, whether those readers are B2B or B2C. Instead, content should support the message that your brand has the tools and expertise needed to help your audience find the right path for them to succeed.
So, when you’re creating content, make sure it:
- Supplements other outreach efforts
- Facilitates engagement
- Helps without making too many assumptions
- Is useful and actionable
- Understands its own limits
- Builds on your existing content
Taking a Lesson from Sunscreen
With the unexpectedly hot temperatures we’ve been having here I’ve been dealing with sunscreen a lot both for my kids and myself. And in an odd way, sunscreen in our household is like content. You see, in our family we have very different sunscreen needs. My kids can use all the normal kid sunscreens, but me? I’m allergic to sunscreen. For the last 13 or so years I’ve dealt with trying every well-rated sunscreen in an attempt to find something that wouldn’t cause me to break out in an unsightly itchy rash. All this time I never considered trying mineral-only sunscreens because they always get terrible sun protection ratings. But this summer it dawned on me that even though mineral sunscreen might be “bad sunscreen” because it doesn’t provide full spectrum sun protection, it’s better than nothing. In my case it doesn’t matter how effective a chemical sunscreen is or whether it has a less greasy feel when applied because my skin just can’t tolerate it. And the result is that I finally found something that works for me. As soon as I stopped listening to the one-size-fits-all advice and expanded research efforts, I found a product that finally worked for me.
Like content that aims to be the magic bullet all by checking all the boxes for a best-case scenario, countless sunscreens failed for my specific application. I can’t use “the best” sunscreen. I need to use the best sunscreen for me. I was able to figure that out when I pulled in other information and researched the differences between sunscreens. If the product testing reviews I had been relying on weren’t standing alone, I would have discovered that sooner. Supplementing them with information about sunscreen limitations and alternate ideas for people with skin sensitivities would have supported the information that the ratings provided in a way that was far more helpful.
And that’s why business-supported content will always reign supreme!
Why Supported Content will Always Win
Companies that put out content while understanding full well its limitations will be more willing to back it up with other resources and/or an offer to help one on one. These are the companies that are willing to say, “Please reach out to us for more customized help!” or “What can we do to support you?” These are the brands that come alongside the businesses and consumers they’re trying to support with more than just an eBook or blog article or whitepaper to throw at them. These are the businesses that start conversations and engage with people to build the framework needed to grow.
They offer a partnership providing real solutions that empower their customers to succeed.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging, and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and two children and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!