How Smart Content Solves the Engagement Problem

A recent study by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, revealed that content marketing acceptance and usage is high across all industries, with no single industry reporting less than 70% adoption.

And yet just like in previous years, marketers continue to lament that their number one challenge is creating relevant and engaging content.

Why is engagement still a problem?

Well let’s look at it from the consumers point of view. If you think about it, customers are accidental content consumers. They don’t visit a business website merely for their reading pleasure.

They’re there to buy, to get product information or for support. If they happen to encounter relevant, or engaging content while they’re at it, then that becomes additional information that helps to support their buying decision.

The funny thing is that smart content becomes important not because consumers want it, but because your product depends on it. And yet smart content must be insanely customer centric.

Content that runs deep

Imagine what might happen if you broaden the emotional frame of a product and invoke sentimental values, as is the case with this 2012 Chevy Silverado ad?

Notice how even for ‘a big honking man’s man pick up truck‘, the brand experience was transformed into something that really runs deep – family feelings.

Switching your brand story

Brands that are struggling with engagement should try switching up the way they are telling their story. Instead of talking about what they do and what kind of products they create, they could talk about how their customers experience their products.

Of course content must still address product utility, performance, efficiency and all that other fun stuff. But there must be some ‘additional information’ that captures a consumer’s emotional faculty.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital tells a compelling story on their website. Their message to parents of desperately sick children is one of hope and encouragement:

“Here we see potential”

“Here we see a future”

“Here we see transformation”

I can only imagine what that re-assurance must feel like to a parent who has all but lost  hope.

I agree with emotional intelligence expert Robbie Kemper, who says:

“When you touch the heart of the consumer, their minds and checkbooks will open.”

Allow me to paraphrase that statement:  When your content touches the heart of a consumer and her checkbook opens, that is smart content.

What do you think? Does smart content solve the engagement problem? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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