They're people, not SMEs

Don't forget that the audience sitting behind their screens reading your content are human beings.

The ‘whole’ customer

All too often it’s easy to forget that the audience sitting behind their screens reading your content are human beings with opinions, emotions, beliefs and ideals. Creating content just for its own sake can be a mistake; some time spent developing content that people will connect with on all sorts of levels will help them engage with your business.

A customer doesn’t engage with a business thinking about nothing else than transactions, leaving the rest of themselves at the door. To structure your content so that it only appeals to the business side of your customers means you’re appealing to only a part of who they are.

Think about interactions you’ve had with businesses where you’ve come away from the encounter feeling that they ‘got’ you. It won’t be just because they were able to meet your customer needs, but because they took some time to get to know you on a more personal level.

So if you take some time to get to know your audience, you can create content that appeals to them on many levels. Don’t underestimate the importance of the ‘gut feeling’ – a report by The Fortune Knowledge Group – Only Human: The Emotional Logic of Business Decisions –  found that things like trust, relationships and personal values were essential to decision-making.

Ditch ‘the robot’

Whether referring to a certain style of dance or the way your content is structured, ‘the robot’ is definitely something to avoid. Your audience wants to read content that’s interesting, genuine, and that ‘speaks’ to them in a way that lets them know you’ve taken some time to get to know them.

Your goal should be to convert an anonymous visitor to your site into a legitimate customer, one that keep coming back and continually engages with you. There are a few ways of doing this:

  • Remember that your audience are humans, not search engines – of course SEO is important, but being ranked shouldn’t be your primary goal. Search engines don’t care about the emotional connection, but people do. Getting them to trust you and your business won’t happen if your content is stilted and generic.
  • Identify the pain points – if you can figure out what’s causing pain in the lives of your audience, then you can structure your content to address it. People want to know that you’re aware of the challenges they’re facing and are thinking of ways to solve them. Often you can do this simply by asking questions then using your content to answer them.
  • Use external contributors – what better way to reach a larger audience than to use different writers? If you get more people involved, your content will be more human. Not only that, but if you’re helping people to share their work, you’ve created a connection with them and they’ll value you more highly.
  • Identify the commonalties – there’ll be several common personality traits in the kinds of people who are reading your content. If you can find out what they are, you can create content that appeals to them.
  • Create an experience – what your audiences experiences when they engage with your content is a reflection of your brand. So if you give them a great experience, they’ll employ your services.

The ‘competitive advantage’ in content

Anyone familiar with business knows what a competitive advantage is – it’s what a business does better than anyone else. The same applies to content marketing. If your content is remarkable, then you’ve got the edge, and the best way to do this is to create content that’s got the personal touch.

Your content needs to stand out from the crowd. Remembering that your audience is made up of human beings and structuring your content accordingly will reap the rewards.

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Here at The Small Business Company, we’ve worked with banks and credit unions from all over the world. Our experience with small business content has given us a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t. We’ve taken the best and presented it in this guide so that you can get the most out of your marketing.