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Everyone is into content marketing these days. You can’t do well with Google or directly with people without creating valuable online content.

Content, however, is one thing. Content that actually works as marketing is another.

When done correctly, content marketing is a form of win-win persuasion. And, this type of persuasion is simply an exercise in getting people to understand the benefit to them when they choose your solution.

How does this understanding happen?

The Art Of Explanation

Effective content marketing gets people to know, like, and trust your business. But, it also does more than that. In the words of Lee Lefever of Common Craft, you’re dealing in the art of explanation, which lowers the cost of understanding.

To say we live in a noisy world is a vast understatement. People still have problems and desires that they want to fix and satisfy, and often the solution that is the simplest and clearest is the winning choice by default.

That’s why a content marketing approach that clearly educates often produces the breakout winner. And, there are certain attributes of a content creator that you should look for (or strive to have) if you want to be effective.

Let’s look at the five traits that matter most:

1. Empathy

The biggest mistake most people (and many marketers) make is failing to put people in their own shoes. They assume people see things the same way they do, from small personal preferences to dominating worldviews.

Smart content marketers are able to put themselves into other people’s shoes, also known as empathy. They realize that the perspective of the audience is what drives content strategy, and they’re able to tap into the little things all the way up to the way a prospective customer views the world.

2. Curiosity

It’s boring to talk about research, but to content marketing superstars, it’s actually a treat to do it. They’re driven to find out everything about the audience they’re intending to serve.

Remember, great content marketers can put themselves in the shoes of the prospect, and create from that standpoint. The only way to earn those shoes is to learn everything you can about the problems and desires of the target audience.

3. Observation

Curiosity, research, and observation go hand in hand, but what we’re talking about now is something that takes it to the next level. How do you take something that’s out there in plain view to everyone and transform that information into something unique?

In other words, how do you explain the topic better than anyone else? How do you find the right analogy, the right metaphor, the right hook? It’s by looking at a subject in a way that no one else sees and turning it into something uniquely remarkable.

4. Packaging

Seeing a topic in a unique way is the first step to packaging information in a better way. Great content marketers shift perspective and lower the barrier to understanding by taking the same dry facts everyone can find and presenting them in a way that’s not just clear and simple, it’s downright better.

The substance of what you say is the foundational point. How you say it is what separates the average content creator from the exceptional content marketing.

5. Caring

Yes, great content marketers care. They care about getting people to truly understand, because without understanding the prospective customer or client cannot grasp the benefit to them, and there’s no opportunity for persuasion.

More importantly, a successful content marketer gets them to care. When understanding occurs, people care enough to take the steps that lead to doing business with you. Otherwise, the safe answer is always no – which means you haven’t done your job no matter how perfect your solution may be.

What’s The Why?

I have a good buddy from high school who — when he truly “gets” something — says “Ah, that’s the why.” The “why” is what it’s all about.

Why does the topic you’re explaining matter? Why, more importantly, does it matter to your prospect’s life? Why will your solution make that person’s life better?

Once your prospective customer gets the “why,” wonderful things happen. Not only are you more likely to gain that person’s business, they’re also more likely to share your content and solution with others.

And don’t forget about the second customer. This is the person who might not be in the market for what you sell at the moment, but they’ll share your content with their network because it’s remarkably well done.

Most businesses are invisible in social media and online in general. It’s your job to change that for those who are fortunate enough to work with you.

These 5 traits will definitely help you help them. What other characteristics do you think make for a successful content marketer?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Content Marketing | Content Marketing | Content Marketing Column

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About The Author: is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media, and Editor-in-Chief of Entreproducer.



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  • http://www.ethicalbehaviorboy.com/ Michael Belk

    Brian you explained this article very well. I really like how you broke down every point. As a blogger content marketing should be important no matter what niche you chose.

    I write on ethics so any form or marketing is foreign to me, but I am learning fast thanks to bloggers like you.

    You taught me how important titles are to the article.

  • http://twitter.com/copyblogger Brian Clark

    Thanks Michael, glad to help!

  • http://twitter.com/chai_lim Chai Lim

    I feel all these are important but for me, telling a simple story which is understandable, emotional and memorable makes for good marketing. I took this from a presentation that I read about, see my blog http://dawnlim.com.au/2013/03/17/blogging-hints/

  • http://twitter.com/copyblogger Brian Clark

    You’re right. But it’s this skill set that allows you to tell the right story, and tell it well.

  • http://twitter.com/SheldonNesdale Sheldon Nesdale

    Wow, awesome stuff Brian. My favourite bits: Creating content like you describe “lowers the cost of understanding”. Yes! Because learning can be hard, unknown, time consuming, and intimidating, but content like that is soothing.

    And telling them “why” is what it’s all about. So often I get frustrated that I have to explain the “why” instead of people just accepting my advice at face value. Now I know why it’s so important. Legend.

  • http://twitter.com/copyblogger Brian Clark

    Thanks Sheldon. Yep, it would be nice if people just “got” what we were talking about and we could proceed with the next step. But I’ve learned the hard way that if you lose people from the beginning, the rest is a waste of time.

  • http://kapost.com/ Christine Leas

    “What’s the why?” What a great question to ask before creating any content. We need to remember that “prospects” are really just people who want to know why they should care. Great reminder to focus on making connections and understanding others’ needs!

  • http://twitter.com/ContentumSA ContentumSA

    great article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bruce.frazer.75 Bruce Frazer

    Glad to see someone is discussing the “Why”, Usually people only put out the “What”
    Another trait great Content Marketers need, or any type of marketer for that matter, is to be a ” Dynamic Conversationalist”….meaning they must invite and promote dialogue (must be a good listener as well as a talker) , overcome objections , close the sale, all while making the prospect believe that they ,themselves made the choice to purchase.
    which also leads into another trait….” Product Diplomat” because is not Diplomacy the art of getting your own way?
    Great Job Brian

  • Luke Hancock

    Great stuff Brian. I sometimes struggle with empathy. What are your suggestions for discovering your audiences’ wants, fears, etc.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    It’s hard to put yourself in the customer’s shoes sometimes. We live and breathe our niche/industry, so it loses some of it’s “newness” and excitement over time. But you have to remember that you customers don’t know the ins and outs like you do, which is why they are looking for you to guide them with your content. What would you want to know about your industry if you knew nothing?

 

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