If you want to attract high-paying clients, what insights can you give away for free and can you do it in story form? After all, humans are hardwired for stories.
“Marketing is storytelling, and great storytelling transcends languages and cultures.”
That is advice from Ross Kimbarovsky on how to create content marketing unicorns. Following a 13-year career as a successful trial attorney, in 2007 Kimbarovsky founded crowdspring, an online marketplace for crowdsourced creative services, where he serves as CEO.
In today’s vernacular unicorn is shorthand for something that is a rarity, and great content marketing is rare. Content marketing is creating and sharing online material that does not explicitly promote a product, service, or brand but is intended to stimulate interest.
To stimulate more interest in your brand, here are tips from Kimbarovsky that will help you create your own client-attracting content marketing unicorns:
The best content is concise and easy-to-read. “People don’t read marketing copy,” says Kimbarovsky. “They scan. You need to get to the point. Fast. The way you organize your content and the words you choose are important. Edit ruthlessly.” Kimbarovsky contends active voice is always better than passive voice. “Use active voice whenever possible. That’s because active voice is easier to read and more concise than passive voice.” He says to compare the following two examples:
Both statements are correct. But the passive statement de-emphasizes the subject (the customer) in favor of the object (the product). When you’re writing marketing copy, your goal should be to connect with the customer, not with the product. “And, importantly, active voice is nearly always more concise than passive voice,” says Kimbarovsky.
Connect your content to your audience. “Stories help shape beliefs and also help people remember the things you want them to remember,” says Kimbarovsky. “Stories are powerful because they can create a mythology around a brand. And it helps that people love to hear stories about themselves and about others.”
Kimbarovsky advises when you create content, consider:
“For example, on the crowdspring blog, we offer numerous opportunities for people to get free guides on a variety of topics,” says Kimbarovsky. “When people search for how to start a business and read our article on that subject, we offer them a free brand identity guide (this is a call-out in the article). Our call-out clearly and quickly articulates why our readers should care about the guide and how it will help them.”
Emotion trumps logic. “Companies like Apple have shown that people respond better to emotional appeals than intellectual ones,” says Kimbarovsky. “While Apple touts the features found in its products, their print and video marketing always focuses on emotion. People intend to make rational decisions, but often make emotional decisions instead. Anyone who’s bought something on impulse knows this well.”
Don’t forget to ask for something. “No marketing copy is complete without a call to action. Or CTA,” says Kimbarovsky. “The CTA is the moment in your copy when you stop making your case and ask for what you want. That’s the marketing part of content marketing. A call to action should always be clear and concise. For example, when people are looking for custom logo design for their business, we bring them to a landing page on our site that explains that product offering. And our main call to action there is ‘Get started (no obligation).’”
Pick the right social channels to share content. “Before you invest time developing and sharing content on a social network, consider whether your customers are likely to be using that network,” says Kimbarovsky. “Having 10,000 friends or followers is great, if most of them are customers or prospective customers. Sharing content with non-customers might make you feel good, but it will not help your business.”
Here is the bottom line for Kimbarovsky: “Most marketers and companies fail with content marketing because they focus on content and ignore marketing. If your company wants to develop a relationship with people who read and engage with your content, then the marketing part of content marketing deserves as much of your focus as the content.”
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