You are at a social gathering and don’t know many people in attendance. You are looking to engage in an interesting conversation. Finally, it happens – you connect with a new person and start to converse. However, after a few minutes, you feel trapped. The other person – let’s call him Joe – begins a rant about his accomplishments, lavish vacations and how his child won the second grade spelling bee. And he doesn’t stop. After listening to his monologue for 10 minutes, you are bored and just hoping for an escape as Joe continues to rattle on.
Have you ever been in this situation? I am sure most of us have encountered this type of person (and hopefully you aren’t THAT person!). Bad content marketers have many similar characteristics to Joe at the social gathering. There are many terrific examples of brands doing content marketing right: Whole Foods’ Blog and Home Depot’s YouTube Channel are just two examples. However, there are also too many brands that simply don’t get it and just want to rant on about their “greatness”.
Here are seven tips on how Joe can make friends at social gatherings as well as for Brand XYZ to attract potential customers with its content. Notice the similarities.
1) Joe: don’t only talk about yourself at social gatherings – get to know the person at the opposite side of the table.
Brand XYZ: don’t only talk about how great you are in your marketing communications – listen and engage with your audiences.
2) Joe: now that you are getting to know the person on the other side of the table, find conversational topics that are of mutual interest.
Brand XYZ: now that you are listening to your audiences, create content that is of mutual interest.
3) Joe: you can still that accentuate your positives at social gatherings – but share examples in a humble way.
Brand XYZ: don’t go on and on about how you are the leader in _________ but rather demonstrate your expertise by providing real thought leadership that resonates with your audience.
4) Joe: don’t be long winded. Your new friend doesn’t need to hear 20-minute uninterrupted monologues. He/she is likely busy and can always look for more engaging conversations from others in attendance at the social gathering.
Brand XYZ: don’t be long winded. Keep your communications short, snappy and to the point. Your audiences are busy. There is so much content out there. If you bore your audiences, they will quickly leave and look elsewhere for their content.
5) Joe: if you have cool photos or videos on your phone that might be of interest to the person on the other side of the table, please do share. We all love visuals – they make your stories more memorable.
Brand XYZ: your stakeholders would probably enjoy different forms of your content. We all love visuals, so consider how you can communicate useful information to your audiences in the form of video, photos and/or infographics.
6) Joe: if the your new friend at the social gathering says something you don’t agree with, don’t say shut-up, completely disregard the comment and walk away. The person on the other side of the table will not think highly of this, and will probably share this with others at the party. Instead either ignore the comment if it is really crazy, or use it as learning and come up with a thoughtful, respectful and genuine response.
Brand XYZ: if someone makes an unflattering comment on your blog or some other owned outlet, don’t just delete this. If there is some warrant to the comment, it is probably best to address the comment directly with a thoughtful, respectful and genuine response. If you just delete the comment, the person on the other side will tell others how you have stifled their voice and will then communicate this fact and negative commentary in other public outlets.
7) Joe: share resources that might be of interest to your new friend at the social gathering. Your new friend will truly appreciate any new contacts and advice. This builds trust and that person will likely remember and thank you.
Brand XYZ: share outside resources that might be of interest to your audiences. This builds trust among your audiences and positions you as a trusted source. This will increase the possibility for better engagement – and business opportunities!
An original version of this piece was published on Spin Sucks.