Every business needs a good content marketing strategy. Most businesses decide that their strategy is to sell their products with their content. This floods the internet with billions of articles about everything from hair brushes to online courses, and these articles are boring.
They don’t give you good SEO results and they don’t sell your product.
Because they don’t engage your audience.
Ask any marketer for the key to a healthy marketing strategy and they’ll almost always tell you, “audience engagement.” This is true. If your audience doesn’t care, they won’t buy your products.
But the key to a good marketing strategy isn’t just audience engagement. It’s solving your audience’s problem. “Why does your product exist and how does it help your audience?” are the questions you need to answer, not “What is your product and what does it do?”
The Difference Between “What” and “Why”
I decided to write this blog post after I read an article from the Content Marketing Institute with a similar theme. I do recommend that you read the article. It’s quite good. However, that article only goes into the “why of your why.” It doesn’t explain how to find your “why.” That’s what I’ll do here.
First, I’d like to discuss the difference between “what” and “why” when it comes to your content marketing strategy. And to do this, I borrowed a YouTube video that was posted in the CMI article. You should take the 3+ minutes to watch it. It’s a great explanation and this guy’s voice is fantastic!
Now that you understand the difference between your “what” and your “why,” let’s apply that to your content marketing strategy:
- Your what, is your product: What it does, how it works, etc.
- Your why is the benefit it offers to your prospective customer: Why does your product exist? What problem does it solve for your customer? What need does it fulfill?
Once you figure out your “why,” you’ll have a much better foundation for your content marketing strategy.
How to Find Your “Why”
You use the “So What” method. I wrote about this in one of my early blog posts last year, but it’s a great exercise and it bears repeating.
Basically, you ask the question, “So What?” to drill down to the deeper benefits of your product. Those deeper benefits need to do more than talk about your product and what it does. They need to strike an emotional chord with your audience.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. “So What?” is the question they ask every time they look at a product or service. “Okay, this cereal provides me with 15 necessary vitamins and minerals. So what? What does that do for me?”
That last question is the one you want to answer when you come up with your “why.”
Here’s how you do it.
Take your product and come up with a list of features.
A feature is:
- Something that is true about your product
- Something your product does.
My favorite example is duct tape. It’s easy, and pretty much everyone knows what it is. Just to start you off, here are 2 features of duct tape.
True: Duct tape is made of fabric.
Does: Duct tape sticks to just about any surface.
Now, ask yourself, “What does that do for me?”
My favorite answer to this is “duct tape makes the world stick together,” but that’s not really relevant to this exercise, just me being silly.
The real answer would be something like:
- If your car breaks down, but you have a roll of duct tape handy, you can probably repair the problem so you can keep driving.
Now, go a step further. Find that emotional appeal. So what? Why does this matter? What problem does this solve?
Honestly, it solves a few problems:
- You can get wherever you’re going without a long delay because of a tow and an expensive visit to the auto mechanic.
- Repairing your car yourself costs less, even if it’s only temporary.
- You can take care of yourself and keep yourself safe, instead of sitting on the side of the road, possibly in the middle of nowhere.
You see where I’m going with this, right? I’m appealing to my potential customer’s sense of:
- Confidence (not being horribly late to their destination.)
- Self-reliance (making the repair themselves.)
- Safety (getting themselves off the side of the road, where who knows what could happen.)
Your emotional appeal should do more than trigger an emotion. It should also solve a problem your customer has. All of the emotional appeals above do just that.
Once you answer that question of “So What?” you will have your “Why.”
Using Your “Why” in Your Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve found your “why,” it’s time to apply it to your content marketing strategy.
Instead of writing blog post after blog post or Facebook ad after Facebook ad talking about what your product does, write about why it helps your customer.
- Your weight loss product gives people confidence. (Losing weight is a feature, not a benefit.) Write about how great your customers feel after losing that lingering 10 pounds.
- Your software product improves productivity. (The software function is the feature, the productivity is the benefit, the money saved by speeding up the process is the deeper benefit.) Write about how much easier, faster and cheaper it is to use your software than the current process.
- Your toothpaste gives people a longer-lasting smile. (The anti-cavity ingredient is a feature. A person’s sense of confidence and their overall health are the deeper benefits.) Write about the effects of dental problems on a person’s health, or how much better your customers will feel when they can smile with confidence.
You get the idea.
I’ve included the “So What” Method sheet again here for you. Please click on the button below to download it and use it for your products, your company mission, arguing with your spouse or children, wherever you can apply it in your life. Trust me, it helps.
Do You Know Your “Why?”
If so, tell me about it in the comments below. If not, let me know how I can help.