“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
– Zig Ziglar
Sounds like a nice philosophy, right? But is it a business strategy?
Yes. According to some, it’s not even a business strategy anymore. It’s a business requirement.
Here’s how Joe Pulizzi frames this idea for content marketers, specifically “content marketing non-believers”:
“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services…they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”
That’s all true, and it points to an excellent ideal. But when the rubber meets the road – when you are creating and scheduling the content you’ll create – most marketers are keenly aware of their business objectives, too. Often there is a real push and pull between what your audience wants you to publish, and what you (or your boss, or your boss’s boss) want to publish.
Unfortunately, sometimes the business priorities don’t just come first – they all but drown out the audience’s priorities. That’s a disappointment to your audience (and could feel like a veiled diss from their point of view). There’s a disconnect when we say “our customers are our #1 priority”, but then publish content that’s not much more than an advertisement.
Our audiences don’t need advertisements. They need help. They need inspiration – maybe even a laugh now and then. We need to be entertaining them and educating them in the same breath.
“Need” is the right word here. This airy stuff about entertaining and educating our audiences isn’t just lofty marketing pep talk.
These people don’t have to listen to us. Our audiences aren’t captive.
The challenge isn’t just that our audiences are free to bail at any moment. It’s also that there is no shortage of content available – great content, maybe even fabulous content. In fact, there’s more content available than any of us could possibly consume, even if we narrowed our focus down to the niche-iest niche.