Successful content marketing is built on great content that’s relevant and valuable to your audience.
We all get that.
The dilemma for many is: how to do this without giving away the farm?
There doesn’t seem to be a straight answer to this question.
Some people can share a lot of content and are still confident that they aren’t giving away the farm. While others feel like a scratch on the surface is eating into their “farm.”
To answer this question, I’m posting TWO questions for you to chew on. Because only YOU can answer that for yourself:
The first question is — what’s “the farm” for you?
Only you, based on your understanding of your audience and the customer journey, can come up with a correct assessment.
The next question is — how can you give as much value as possible in a way that frames your “farm” instead of giving it away?
You can give a lot of value in a way that highlights the relevance of your “farm” without giving it away.
This could be in the form of educational content that frames their challenges, offer alternative approaches or perspectives, or help them articulate their desired transformation.
In fact, for those who offer bespoke personalized services or experiences, generously sharing their knowledge and processes could augment their expert status, boost trust, increase credibility, and make potential clients want their secret sauce.
Having knowledge and information is one thing, being able to apply them to solve a problem or create transformation could be an entirely different story.
Owning 50 recipes books doesn’t mean you can cook.
If you have a unique approach, you often have to elaborate on the “how you do it” so your audience can understand the nuances of what you do and see the value and relevance of your services.
Here’s an example:
During the Content Marketing in Plain English webinars, many participants were surprised how much content and information I was giving away.
I intentionally “broke the rules” so many gurus teach, based on my understanding of my ideal audience and what I want to deliver for them:
(1) I didn’t just talk about the “what” and hold off the “how” — I pretty much shared everything I know from concept to execution. Most of my peeps have been around the block a few times and my clients often come to me with a headful of information. They don’t need more “what’s.” They need a different perspective to turn the “what” into relevant “how.” They can build on the basics and I want them to get as much value out of the 75 minutes they decide to spend with me.
(2) I didn’t trim (or dumb) down the materials just so they’re bite size and digestible. It isn’t a morning talk show! Content marketing strategy is not one-size-fits-all and my intention is to tease out the nuances so my audience can discern what’s right for them and make intelligent choices. That’s why I have the replay (without those 24-hour-replay scarcity tactics) so participants can revisit sections of the materials that’s relevant for them at any point in time.
(3) I didn’t frame (or twist) the presentation around an offer. I went into creating this series with zero intention to “launch” anything. Sure, I offered a couple of next steps but I took literally less than 2 minutes to share them at the end but I didn’t build the presentations from the offer up.
Those “gu-rules” are there for a reason. They are useful if the intention is to launch a program or appeal to a certain audience.
The key question is — what’s the intention?
Your intention is the meeting of your values and convictions, and your approach to creating value for your audience.
The audience piece starts from understanding your buyer personas and where they’re at in the customer journey.
Take my ideal clients as an example:
They’ve been around the block a few times. They’ve taken courses and training programs. They’d come to me riffing off content marketing terms that frankly, sometimes makes me feel insecure.
It takes more to tell them how I’m different from the dozen blog posts or webinars they’ve read or attended.
They know that in order to get to the next level, information is not enough. They need someone who understands their worldview and turn generalized information into specific implementations that are in alignment their personality and circumstances.
They struggle to break out of the cage of “what they should say” so they can fully express their values, convictions, and personalities. They have the clarity, yet haven’t been able to find the words to express it.
They still need that push so they can be honest with themselves and to identify the golden thread that ties their lives’ work together with discernment and perspective.
That’s my “farm” — I can get on the phone with someone I’ve never met (nor seen her website) and nail her unique positioning in 20 minutes (sometimes despite the “regurgitated” stuff they tell me.) I can write copy for clients (many of whom are seasoned business owners and even business coaches) while taking them through a process to help them take that clarity to the next level.
My “farm” is the co-creation process during which we augment a clients’ message instead of diluting it (which is what usually happens when you hire a random copywriter.)
My “farm” is that unique perspective that helps my clients become discerning so they’re no longer distracted by regurgitated bright shiny objects.
So for me, there’s no fear of “giving away the farm” by sharing a load of content because I can tell you “how” I do these things till I turn blue, and most people still need that Midas touch to get the clarity.
Yet, what I share in those webinars is highly valuable. I want to educate my audience on what’s possible… because it pains me to see them wasting time and money on their marketing.
My audience walks out understanding the nuances of effective content marketing and copywriting. They’d know what to look for, and how to spot cookie-cutter strategies and tactics that are being mindlessly spoon-fed to them.
They’d no longer get strung along by copywriters who don’t give a crap about what’s true or meaningful for them. They’d understand the intricacies and nuances that determine successful outcome rather than blindly applying “formulas.”
They learn to speak up for themselves. They know how to ask the right questions so they can hire the right person.
Because I trust that my audience is intelligent folks who have the ability to be discerning.
That’s why I break the “gu-rules.”
Ling Wong :: Intuitive Brainiac | Creativity Mentor | Copywriting Alchemist. Author of Copywriting Alchemy: Secrets to Turning a Powerful Personal Brand Into Content that Sells.
Through her unique blend of marketing coaching, content experience design and copywriting process, she helps the maverick-preneurs uncover, articulate & transform their WHY into content that connects, resonates and converts — by way of an intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 15 years experience in the online marketing industry.
Ling is Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, and Email Marketing certified. Through her writing engagements with various SaaS and marketing companies with the goals of driving organic traffic, building readership and increasing conversion, she’s well-versed in topics including online marketing, content marketing, eCommerce, conversion, UX, social media marketing, and more.
She helps coaches, consultants, service professionals, solopreneurs and small businesses apply these best practices to their specific business models and circumstances.
Ling is an avid cyclist with OCD (obsessive climbing disorder,) runner and chocoholic.
Join her Content Marketing in Plain English webinar series here.