Have you decided that digital marketing is a great opportunity for your business only to find that it’s harder than it was promised?
Are you creating sales pages, landing pages, blog articles, strong call-to-actions and sales funnels but it’s not working the way the experts said it would?
Does something seem wrong, amiss and or incomplete?
If your results are not at all what you expected, there is a reason.
For nearly eighteen months I used to read up to fifty blog articles every week. Unfortunately, over the last several months I’ve backed way down from that.
For one simple reason… it’s obvious that most people are attempting to employ a digital strategy without any hint that there is a person on the other side of the screen.
Many blogs are impersonal, boring, repetitive (there are a thousand other blogs that are saying the same thing) and are saying absolutely nothing of value to me.
There is no “OMG, how did you know…?” moment in the content.
In an article last fall titled “How to Stop Being a Commodity and Start Building Value” I shared that companies are essentially competing on commodity values.
And, in a commoditized environment the business loses every, single time!
Most content strategies on the web are commoditized and if you read enough blog articles you can see it over-and-over again.
In the article I stated;
… a commodity business is not in demand because the company sells the same product or service as others and appears to be the same. Have you ever been to a true flea market? If so, you know what I’m talking about. Everything to the untrained eye is the same. Guess what? You’re consumer is untrained and all we’ve done is train them to see the price.
Now that you aware that you may be using a commoditized digital strategy, I’m going to share with you how you can flip your digital strategies into human strategies and I’ll share with you the results you can get for your business.
What is a Human Strategy over a Digital Strategy?
The difference between a human based content strategy and a digital strategy is in your mindset as the one who created the strategies.
If the end-result is about profits and money then you will by default create digital strategies that are highly processed and systematized instead of highly focused strategies that are about people.
Your content consumers know when you’re making it about you over them!
[Tweet “Your content consumers know when you’re making it about you over them!”]
That’s why your results in digital or content marketing are mediocre.
That’s why few come back to read your blog.
That’s why no one is saying; “OMG, how did you know…?”
That’s why few fill out forms, contact you or show up at your place of business from your content strategies.
That’s why your social followers are lacking or engagement is not happening.
That’s why you don’t get great social validation through comments on your blog, Facebook posts or people tweeting out your articles.
Why is this all important?
Your number one job in content marketing is to establish your competency and credibility, and build trust with your audience.
Your goal is to create relevant and meaningful content to the degree that the consumers of your content feel that you get them at a personal, experiential and meaningful way.
Personally, I’m always looking for that “OMG, how did you know…?” response to my content and you should be as well.
In his book “The Content Code”, Mark Schaefer reminded me that “no one has to read your content.”
There is so much content available on the web that one can get virtually anything they want and they can get it for free.
That means we have to create better and better content that is of more value. But that comes with a cost.
But is the cost worth it?
As I said in my article from above (click here to read it):
My definition of a commodity is simple: If someone buys a product or service from one company and that same product or service can be bought from another without the consumer being able to tell the difference in result, experience or quality, it’s a commodity.
But it’s not just a commodity, it’s a commodity that doesn’t have value while also costing you money. In reality, a commodity is supposed to be an investment that yield’s a return, but like any investment there is a risk.
In this case, the risk is that you are paying people to consume your content and you’re not getting a return.
In many ways you’re paying people to read your content, consume your content and hopefully share your content.
And sharing is the economy of the web.
If you haven’t gotten a copy of Mark’s book, click here and get it today! It will change the way you think about content marketing and help you immensely!
Learning how to humanize your strategies and content and make it about people over yourself is the key to growing a successful, human strategy for your digital marketing efforts.
With that said, allow me three ways that you can create and connect content that makes it personal and human.
#1 – Reach Out to Your Audience and Build an Online Community
Let’s be honest for one second… content marketing is work.
There, I said it!
Quit trying to find shortcuts and easy ways to create easy sales.
If that’s what you’re after, just spend money on advertising and pay-per-click.
There is nothing wrong with that at all!
But if you’re going to go the route of content marketing because you think it’s free or easy, you have been misled.
You are going to pay for it… in time, thoughts and emotional energy; which does have a monetary value.
Content marketing is about creating an opportunity through relationships
[Tweet “Content marketing is about creating an opportunity through relationships”]
You need to get off or your own website and engage with your audience where they are at.
You need to start networking with people.
Think about it, offline you attend networking events with a goal of meeting people. But, for it to work you must provide them value and peak their interest.
It’s the same thing online.
At any one moment, you have three different audiences:
- Your prospects and customers
- Those who serve the same audience you do but in a different way and have influence with them.
- Someone is both #1 and #2…
Start discovering who is out there that serves your audience in a different way and start networking with them.
That means initially reading their blogs, commenting on them, and sharing them out.
Do it for a while and start building a relationship with them that brings them value and makes it about them.
Every week, I read and comment on a dozen of the same blogs I’ve been reading for nearly two years. I get a tremendous amount of value from them or I wouldn’t do it.
Let me share how this has worked for me in a tangible way…
Adrienne Smith was a highly accomplished blogger who is masterful at creating relationships. Unfortunately, she is moved on to other things but that no less minimized her amazing accomplishement over the years.
It’s unbelievable how many people commented on her blog. And, it’s not short, pithy comments either.
I started engaging with her almost from day one of this blog in June 2014.
I started by leaving comments on her articles and sharing them to my social media pages.
That turned into telephone conversations, which turned into her hiring me.
In June 2015, I contributed an article to her site titled “Your Coming Dilemma in Online Marketing”.
It earned 116 comments, many new readers to my website, and most importantly several thousands of dollars in new sales.
It all started by reaching out to Adrienne through her blog and social media.
It has been a relationship that has turned from business to friendship.
A Short Note About Community
Since I’ve already written an article on this topic titled “Are You Flailing Around Trying To Build A Business Online Or Are You Actively Building a Community That Will Help You Do It?”, I will keep this short and encourage you to read the article.
But I do want to make a serious point… for you to grow your content marketing you will have to build a community of loyal followers.
If done right, these followers will propel your content, introduce you to new people, and help you grow your business.
In effect, they become part of your marketing and sales teams.
Your community will read your content, comment, share and provide you with the most trusted and respected form of social validation available.
When I wrote my first article for SEMrush titled “DO YOU WANT TRAFFIC FROM GOOGLE? THEN BUILD A COMMUNITY!” they showed up when I asked them to and BIG!
As far as I can tell, a year later it is still the #1 most commented on blog article on their site.
Because I eat my own dog food!
I have a community that when I ask them to help me they do.
But there is a catch…
You must be willing to do that for them as well.
You must be willing to become that for each one as well. You must prioritize your time, efforts and energy and determine who is worth pursuing at that depth of relationship.
Please understand, your content will likely be the introduction into a potential relationship and what you do with that relationship will determine what comes out of it.
If you give without an expectation of anything in return, you will get back!
Again, I want to stress that there is not a shortcut, but this form of networking is a proven, long-term solution to extreme business growth.
#2 – Always Engage with Your Audience
I can’t tell you how many blog articles I read where the audience leaves comments and the blog owner never responds!
What a wasted opportunity!
I can’t tell you how many Tweets I send out from blogs and I never hear from the blog owner.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared a post to my large LinkedIn following and there is no response.
Again, what a wasted opportunity!
I’m a networker at heart and if you’re going to participate in content marketing, you must become one as well.
I want to go back and reference Mark’s book again… In it he said that shared content is the new economy of content marketing.
It’s not about just creating amazing content… what good is that if no one knows it exists.
The more people share your content, the more social validation it gets, the greater the growth of your blog and business results you’re looking for (However, not without #3 below).
I never, ever, never miss an opportunity to say thank you.
It’s a great entry point into creating a relationship.
I want to say something about Twitter because I believe people are missing great opportunity.
It doesn’t take much effort to Tweet out a blog article.
But if you take the time to say thank you and recognize who are loyal tweeters, some amazing things can happen.
Sam Hurley began following me a few months ago and I began to notice that he was tweeting out my posts every week a couple of times per week. Then, he started sharing one post over and over again.
While it starts with content, all business is built on relationships.
Sam has tweeted my articles faithfully and has become a big part of my Twitter community.
Some other loyal sharers on Twitter that I want to mention include:
- Ryan Biddulph
- Sue Anne Dunlevie
- Ron Sela
- Pamela Morse
- Kathi Kruse
- Claire Jarrett
- Sherryl Perry
- Melissa Stewart
- Meghan Biro
that I encourage you to connect with them.
It’s not just Twitter, however, where I’m blessed with an amazing community!
I have loyal followers on my blog, Facebook and LinkedIn, among others.
Build your community through providing others value first, and they will do it for you as well.
“Ask not how loyal is your
audience to you…
Ask how loyal are you to
~ Don Purdum
#3 – Make Your Content about Your Audience
According to the 2015 B2B Web Usability Report, nearly 50% of a website’s audience leaves immediately because of a lack of a message.
In an IBM study released in October 2015, respondents said that nearly 80% of businesses in no way identify with their needs, problems or desires.
In another report released early this year titled “The $958M Marketing Problem; “Companies with less 250 employees allocate 55% of marketing budget on content.”
Yet, due to the supply and demand of content being published on the web it’s harder and harder for content to be “discovered” through search engines and social media.
What I’ve discovered over the last four years coming out of owning a high-end web development company where I worked with hundreds of clients is that businesses have gotten stuck in a mass marketing mindset.
The result is that businesses are putting an emphasis, unintentionally many times, on themselves and/or their products or services instead of on the consumer of their content.
When one is able to make their content about the audience, something magical happens.
The audience feels the business understands them, relates to them and the result is that they build trust and confidence in you.
That happens when one piece of content is created for one person, who has one problem/need/desire, and is offered on solution.
This article has been all about humanizing your digital strategies.
It’s about asking people out of a cup of coffee instead of asking them all at once to marry you.
[Tweet “Ask your audience out for coffee, not for a life-long commitment”]
It’s not all about facts, studies and research. Those things are vital but incomplete.
The real issue is how do you create strategies than are human centric instead of strategy centric?
Are you creating strategies that create community and leads to a relationship with your audience?
While it starts with content, by itself your strategy is incomplete if you leave it there.
Strategy should not be about traffic, shares or sales; it’s about creating opportunities for relationships.
If you create enough of the right relationships then your human strategies will propel your content, shares of content, marketing share and ultimately your sales.
If you’re ready to learn more about how to humanize your content, visit the Begin Here page where I share the process of how to do it.
In addition, get my highly popular eBook titled “The Shift – Making the Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing.”
In total, over 1,500 of your peers have learned how mass marketing has influenced their marketing and hurt their business; while at the same time providing a real life case study of how one start-up achieved success quickly as a result of getting highly targeted and specific.
Do you have a question, thought or idea and want to share with me and my readers? Leave a comment below in the comments section and let’s chat!
I’m Excited to Share…
I’m excited to share with you that my blog has been syndicated on Business2Community.com and I’m also contributing original content there.
In addition, I’ve also been accepted as a contributor to B2Bmarketing.net. Watch my social media pages as I’ll be sharing articles out this week.
In addition, I’ve gotten the approval to blog on Allbusiness.com and I’m waiting for final credentials.
Special Thanks for the Recent Mentions
I want to extend a special thank you to those who mentioned me in their recent articles:
Whast My Friends Taught Me About Blog Commenting – by Kim Willis
10 Cool Blogs with Awesomesauce–Your Cheat Day is Ready – by Matthew Kaboomis Loomis
If I missed anyone, please be sure to let me know!