How nervously exciting (and perhaps a tad terrifying) are first dates? You’ve met someone online or in person and decided to catch up.
You start to plan things – where you’ll meet, what you’ll wear, and most importantly, you think about everything you’ll talk about. Oh, the butterflies!
But when it comes to first-date convos, there’s a fine line.
I mean, you don’t go on a first date and start telling them how awesome you are and bragging about all your achievements in life. Do you?
Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve been on a first date, but I HOPE things haven’t changed that much!
As you nervously take a sip of your drink or try to eat your food without dropping it down the front of you, you ask your date questions about them. And then you listen. You show your date that you’re willing to listen and follow what they say. You swap stories and find common interests.
This is where content marketing is like a first date.
You don’t want to go in all guns blazing, talking about yourself and nothing else. If you do, you’re doing it wrong and won’t get a second date!
When it comes to content marketing, you want to ask your audience questions and share helpful tips and informative content. When you’ve shown you listen to your audience and give them what they need, they’ll be back for more.
So, let’s explore getting past first-date failures and moving on to building long-term relationships using content marketing.
Start by knowing who you’re talking to!
You’ve got the vision of your perfect match in mind. You’ve got a type, or at least you’ve got some preferences. Your date has ticked some (or all) boxes, so it was a no-brainer that you wanted to meet them.
In content marketing, this is your customer avatar. You need to have a clear vision of your ideal customer in mind. Before you speak with people on social media, you want to know who you’re talking to.
Without this, it’s like a blind date.
You turn up knowing nothing, not even a name, and hope you’ll hit it off. The chances are slim.
When you don’t have a clear picture of your ideal customer in mind, you’re trying to appeal to everyone. Your content marketing won’t be engaging, and your mixed messaging will appeal to no one.
So, how do you create content that appeals to your audience?
You ask questions and listen
Great content marketing hooks people using questions. It gets them wanting to read more.
But just like a first date, you don’t want to give away all your secrets at once. You want to focus on one thing at a time, asking questions, listening to their response, and seeing how that fits in with you.
Be the listener. If you hear answers that aren’t aligned with you, there’s a red flag – no second date needed!
It’s like owning a fur baby that’s your life, and your date mentions they hate dogs. It’ll be a bit no from you.
But, if you hear answers you know are right up your alley, you keep asking questions to learn more (i.e. they love dogs!).
You may have found your person, so you want more. But how?
You nurture the relationship to help it grow
You nailed the first date, and you suggested a second date. They accepted.
You’re so excited as you want to do everything, but you hold back a bit. You don’t give them too many options simultaneously (movie night, ice skating, sky diving!) but offer one thing.
This is the start of effective content marketing. You make one offer.
If they accept, you can continue to make more offers as you nurture and grow your relationship.
Remember what you learnt on your first date (you listened and wrote down your notes, maybe even a good and bad list!). Now when you speak with them, you can get more and more personal.
This is how you should also approach your content marketing.
Now you know who you’re speaking to; you create killer content by personalizing it every time. Make your customer feel like you’re speaking directly to them, knowing exactly what they need from you. Make them feel like you’ve read their mind.
But, as with any relationship, you want to keep it moving forward.
Now it’s time for your big proposal
You’ve been dating for a while now and know it’s the right time. You’re ready to ask them to make a significant commitment to you. And you’re pretty confident they’re going to say yes. Go for it!
This is the final stage of your content marketing funnel. You’ve kept it real online, nurtured relationships, stepped them along with offers, and now you’re ready to make your final big proposal.
You’re ready to close the sale, whether it’s your course, a paid network, a service offering, or a product.
By now, your audience has come to know you really well and trusts that you’re an expert. When they see your final offer, it’s almost guaranteed they will say YES!
You’ve made it from your first date to the big proposal and absolutely nailed your content marketing efforts.
About the author
Sam is a content marketer, a social media user and promoter, and a shopaholic food lover that can’t wink (for real).
For over 10 years, Sam has worked in Marketing, leaving the corporate world in 2012 to start her social media marketing business, Sam Says. Sam’s ideal clients are businesses who need help creating stand-out social and online content.