Do you feel like a content marketing loser? Like even though you’re using the same strategies as the celebrity bloggers, the crowd keeps passing you by? In a super post about “getting lucky” in the content marketing world, Tracy Feit Love breaks it down to this memorable example:
“Two guys walk into a bar (humor me here). The first guy walks up to a woman and says, ‘Hi. I make a lot of money and drive a really fast car, so you will definitely want to go out with me. Here’s my number. When you’re ready to go out, call me.’
“The second guy sits down at the bar and listens. He hears the woman next to him complain to the bartender that the last Italian restaurant she tried was terrible, and that she couldn’t seem to find good Italian food nearby. When there’s a break in the conversation, he says, ‘Excuse me, but I couldn’t help overhearing about your bad experience with some of the local Italian restaurants. Have you tried Davio’s Cucina? It’s really excellent.’ Which guy is more likely to end up with a date?”
Even if guy no. 2 doesn’t get the date, he’s at least demonstrated that he’s listening and that he’s willing to offer help. So, how can you show you’re listening? Here are a few ways:
1. Try a poll or online survey
We’re often afraid to put our ideas on the table and admit that we don’t know what the next step should be. When, in fact, asking your clients and/or readers what they think of your next move, or product can only put you on the right track to better meeting their needs. Another way to use polls or surveys is simply to develop a profile of your client/reader base: What are their demographics? Are they more into Facebook or Twitter? What areas of work and life do they need most help in? This information can help you figure out where you come in.
2. Listen and react
When you read others’ blogs and Twitter feeds, you are listening. But unless you comment or react in some way, the author has no idea you’re out there. You are not engaging. Put yourself in their shoes: They would love to know they’ve got your attention, that they’re making you think about something, that you read a post of theirs from start to finish. Jump the hurdle of silence and connect in any way you can think of – even if it’s just to ask the writer how they came up with the idea for their post, or to thank them for voicing an interesting point of view. Responding to others’ questions or requests for advice/help seems obvious, but you have to get into the habit of doing it.
3. Connect people
Another way to show people you’re listening is to connect them with those that have a relevant or mutual interest. Think of the people in your various networks, and how they might be able to learn from or work with each other. This shows that you’re thinking of others, and willing to make an introduction that may help them in the future.
4. Give credit where credit is due
Let people know how they’ve influenced you or helped shape your decisions. Perhaps a particular thread of forum discussion or Tweets helped you gather opinions on a particular topic. Tell people that their feedback was helpful, and be specific about how you used it. Here’s a great example of letting your readers know how their feedback helped: Rypple added a new feature based on user feedback.
5. Give people something different
If you are out there listening to what’s being said in your online neighborhood, chances are you hear a lot of the same things over and over. You read discussion of the same issue, rehashing of the same problems or approaches. Try to find ways to establish yourself as something other than a parrot: find an angle, tool, recommendation or resource that helps people. Or, at the very least, makes them laugh. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get lucky.