A New Year’s resolution for brands – stop talking about yourselves!
Most seasoned communicators know a sure way to turn someone off (whether it be a colleague, friend or potential customer) is to talk only about yourself. People who share only their experiences can come off as selfish, braggarts or even one-uppers. Not asking other people how they feel can give off the sentiment “I don’t care about you.” This social faux pas is well documented, discussed online and brought up when describing those certain people. “I don’t care for him. He only talks about himself.”
So why is this social turn-off widely accepted when it comes to brands and their content marketing strategies? Most brands and organizations would not spend the time and resources needed to make a great piece of content without talking about themselves at all.
Michael Brenner, Vice President of Global Marketing and Content Strategy at SAP, says the self-focused approach is changing. He says for a content strategy that really converts, get over yourself.
“Content marketing is about the customer and making them the center,” says Brenner. “At SAP we have three rules for every piece of content: it must be social, mobile and non-promotional.”
What he means is that a piece of content should be sponsored by the organization but not about its product or service. Content should be subtly branded. It also needs to be shareable or “snackable.” He says the number-one way to fail at marketing in 2014 is to assume your customer cares about you.
Three ways to bridge the gap between executives who want self-promoting content and the audience who wants information to enrich their lives:
1) Provide a subscription-based content service. Readers will access helpful, non-promotional content by opting into the company’s library. This will garner leads.
2) Continually optimize for conversation. Being able to actively communicate with your audience is like a focus group online. Stimulate some back and forth conversation and your executives will thank you for the valuable insight.
3) Consider hiring a comedy writer or even a standup comedian to write your content or manage your Twitter account. He will write to entertain your audience, which is another important aspect of content: it should be fun to read or watch.
Brenner speculated that overly promotional content will be going the way of the banner ad. Something that looks ok but generally just takes up space and doesn’t get many clicks.
How do you feel about non-promotional content for your brand? How might your company or client implement this in 2014?
(Michael Brenner delivered these tips at the December BMA Chicago luncheon on December 12, 2013)