You-Centered Content: Does Your Content Talk at or to Your Customers?
It doesn’t take long for you to decide if a product or service is right for you. Often the subject at the center of a brand’s content marketing, whether it is you-centered or we-centered, helps you to make that decision, even when you’re a marketer. The average consumer decides within 15 seconds to stay on or navigate away from a Web page and it’s a shorter time than that to engage with hard copy marketing materials. If a product’s benefit to you is second to how wonderful the company is, the brand may lose one of its most valuable assets… You.
Content Marketing: Who is on First?
A colleague and I recently discussed how there are quite a few companies out there that think it’s most important to “strut their stuff” and tell their prospects just how wonderful they, the company, are. However, what these companies don’t realize before they create a content marketing strategy and start to write any marketing materials is this – it is vital that you write to your customer, not at them.
As one of my respected colleagues, Herschell Gordon Lewis, wrote, “When you write a letter that says, ‘Only you…’ you’ve told the recipient that to you he isn’t a unit, an anonymous number in a computer, a faceless organism… ‘You’ also projects an attitude of friendliness.”
You-Centered Content Marketing: the Reader is a Big Deal!
When you write your marketing materials, there are many things to consider. For hard copy materials, dimensions and material types are major considerations and for digital marketing efforts, you’ll want to make sure the copy you use takes advantage of keywords and speaks authoritatively and naturally. But as you’re creating this SEO-friendly copy you also want to incorporate a friendly, conversational tone as, if your prospect were sitting right there, across the table from you. After all, what they want to know first and foremost is “What’s in it for me?” (WIFM) What are the benefits they receive by doing business with you or by buying your product?
Yes, your customers want to know that you’re a viable, credible company. And when you create copy in line with your content marketing strategy, you will provide consumers with that information, in the right places. However, when they link to the homepage of your website or turn to the first panel of your brochure only to read “We do this…” and “We offer that…” chances are, it won’t take long before they click away from your site or put the brochure in to the “circular file”. And no one wants that.
What consumers and prospects really want to know is how your product or service solves their problem. When you talk to them as though they’re your friend, that’s the WIFM that brings them to you and keeps them coming back.
Please keep in mind that “you” is one of the strongest words in a marketer’s vocabulary. When I review a marketing piece and I repeatedly see “we” and “the client” or “our customers” it’s time for a rewrite. For instance, read this paragraph.
“John Doe Enterprises offers quality service to all of our customers. We provide affordable and effective online marketing solutions. With 30 years of experience, we know how to get the job done.”
The previous “we-centered content” doesn’t mention “you” even once. Are you likely to keep reading when you’re not addressed personally, but referred to as “the customer” or “client”? This cold, third person reference is not welcoming to many consumers. Now, for contrast, read this paragraph.
“Attention-to-detail and a customized plan to meet your needs are what you can expect from John Doe Enterprises. Count on marketing solutions that not only meet your budget, but also drive revenue and deliver profitable results.”
As you can see, the “you-centered content” never mentions “we,” it focuses the attention on who is most important, the prospect, not the company attempting to make the sale. This speaks to the needs of the person who or organization that makes the final purchasing decision.
Think Like a Marketer, Write Like a Consumer
It seems that we’re all making some kind of purchasing decision almost every day, whether it’s a purchase for your home, business, family, health, etc. Think about what appeals to you when you’re the consumer, in the decision-making process, and let that guide you as you create “you-centered” content and build your content marketing plan.
Chances are, if the content speaks to you personally – addressing your wants and needs – you’ll pay closer attention to it than competitive materials that do not. This means, your organization becomes the customer’s go-to source to take care of their needs. And I know that’s what you really want.
What type of content do you engage with when you’re considering a new product/service? Are you drawn to you-centered content? Let’s talk about it in the comments.