Why your content should attract attention rather than demand it

3 November 2022 | 4 min read | Digital
Helen Fripp

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You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as the saying goes, and the same applies to getting people to engage with your content amongst all the buzz out there. This isn’t new information, but still many companies are so close to their products, they can’t see the bigger picture when it comes to content.

Your product or service may be amazing, beautiful, scintillating and make you an awful lot of profit, but do you really want to be the bore nobody wants to sit next to at a dinner party while you shout about how great it is?

If you have an agency and pay them handsomely (which of course you should, on both counts) the temptation is to ask them to keep reinforcing your sales messages ad infinitum so you feel you’re getting value for money. But the fact is, you’re not.

You already have your carefully crafted sales messages on your website, in your brochure, or wherever your customers go to get specific goods or services from you – and that’s perfect. But just because there are multiple ‘free’ platforms and channels through which you can hammer your message home, from social media to newsletters to press, it doesn’t mean you should.

It’s much better to tell a story, make an effort to entertain, or give your expert opinion away for free rather hit them over the head with what you want to say. You wouldn’t go into a room full of people and do that, and the same applies to social media and content marketing. Hopefully through targeting and strategy you’re in the right room in terms of an audience, but you still need to engage with them on a human level.

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You want to tell other companies about the amazing accountancy services you offer? Tell them your opinion on the latest regulations, or if you’ve taken the time to understand new compliance rules, share your knowledge and save your audience the bother. They’ll be much more likely to work with you as a knowledgeable authority on your subject, who understands what they need.

You want to feature in a major national broadsheet? Get a journalist out of a scrape by staying late to share your expert opinion on an industry issue, or take the time to understand what they like to write about and find a story that fits. A story that’s genuinely newsworthy is the key, not just your latest service add-on.

Maybe you’re an industrial cleaning company sharing a cleaning-related wordsearch puzzle you know procurement managers will enjoy during their break; a tech start up with a former football coach for a Chief Talent Officer who uses his transferable skills to maintain staff performance and morale; an art gallery who’s offering a warm space and free tea to invite in hard-to-reach audiences in the local area; a family law firm with advice on how to break divorce news to the children; or a hotel whose concierge knows all the best restaurants in town. Share it, photograph it, tell them how it is. Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em cry, or at least make ‘em vaguely interested.

We get it, you’re not a Broadway smash hit, but everyone has a story to tell, and if you get it right, they’ll keep coming back for more.