Finding The One Word You Stand For Changes Everything
You need to find that one word for what you stand for that doesn’t describe your product but the value you provide.
There has to be a word to latch onto like that leach in Stand By Me. When you find the password to open a door where everyone else has bolted through the one next to it, it becomes a place to layout your own fixtures, fittings and LazyBoy.
Let me explain.
Content is now showing uniformity.
Within the space of marketing, that I hold my hand up, you can categorise topics into:
Marketing is different today
You need to be noticed
Marketing is a lot difficult than it was
You need to be human
Don’t be average
Use Instagram and Snapchat
…I think you get it.
This is all the stuff that flows through the door that has been left open, with no lock on it. It just allows a constant stream with one topic presented in the same way. Imagine turning the tap on the bath, but not putting the plug in.
We’re Doing More, With Limited Results
Even a recent report from TrackMaven (February 2016) stated that brands are producing more content than ever, on more channels but are seeing limited results.
The intentions are to still to produce more. According to the Content Marketing Institute UK 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, nearly all (88%) companies surveyed planned to create more in 2016.
However, more does not mean people will tune in. For instance, just because Virgin added an extra 50 channels to my package with an upgrade back in November, doesn’t mean that I am going to watch any of them. I’ll stick with those channels that relate to me.
What worked a couple of years ago with a pretty standard approach to filling up space with a vague attempt at showing some form of expertise and knowledge does not work today as density increases and finding an audience who connects becomes ever more paramount. The ‘they ask/you answer’ approach is not the answer to creating a lifetime of compelling, emotional, ‘I want to give you a hug’ centred content. It’s a bit dull.
Spaces today are becoming saturated.
You didn’t want to be everyone’s friend anyway.
So, Why Do People Run Out Of Steam?
What is the biggest reason for a company that started with best intentions and then ran out of steam, inspiration and creativity?
I am saying it is not allocating time to create, publish and distribute but running round a hamster wheel of repetitive industry expectations (and also understand why you need a content goal).
If you can find an audience that values you and you can deliver over and over again. It works in three ways:
capture the imagination/interest of someone else
Stamping you own belief with conviction, soul and purpose
The fewest words that describe your overall viewpoint ie. you are effectively finding the smallest eye of a needle with the biggest thread
Let me explain…
Last week I started my three-month Content Marketing MOT programme. A group of businesses who acknowledge change and are in similar position to many small business. They recognise the opportunity that is in front of them, it is just a case of adding structure.
To find a door that is locked, just needs a bit of time to find the four-digit code. It comes from acknowledging the role you play for others in the smallest amount of words possible.
A bar/restaurant that once was happy to show a promo video of a gravy boat and someone pouring a glass of wine and 100% product now takes a responsibility to encourage people to interact.
A gym that was proud to show Facebook pics of inspirational quotes and 100% product now takes a responsibility to give people energy even when Friday afternoon arrives.
A retail company that creates store layouts that was happy to blast people with generic sales messages now represents documenting change within the retail sector.
An estate agent that believed that trust was based on posting A5 flyers through houses stating what has been sold in the local area now takes a responsibility to become a local source of information for a neighbourhood.
Showing You Proof
Have a look at what Conker Sprit are demonstrating at the moment. Rupert Holloway left his role as a chartered surveyor to start Dorset’s first gin distillery in 2014.
The story that Rupert is telling has nothing to do with producing a dry gin, cocktail recipes with gin or 19 reasons why gin is better than other spirits type posts. Everything that Rupert is sharing has the word ‘enterprise’ associated with it and stamped all over it.
This is where it becomes personal, insightful, honest and provides a path for people and businesses who have made or about to have the courage to make a career move into a space that they have never been before.
In Rupert’s words at the end of every article is a sign-off with ‘That’s The Spirit.’ See, he has made it clear at the end of every post the purpose behind what he believes in and what his brand stands for. It is nothing about ‘look at our gin’, but everything about independence, resolve, guts and a dogged pursuit of a better life, not just him, but the person reading.
Have a read of Rupert’s blog. He tends to put Monday’s aside as his creation time.
Everything Has To Be Centred On An Audience
Coming back to the beginning of this article, when dull, product centred content becomes a focus, people switch off and by the looks of it, they are switching off quicker than ever. A Microsoft study highlighted that the attention spans of humans is now eight seconds, compared to 12 seconds in 2000.
Everything that you create has to be centred on an audience and how they want to spend their time.
The main ingredient to never running dry is to find a word that links what you do with the cause that you stand for.
For instance, Conker Spirit has an opportunity to create a community around people who are taking lesser-known paths, who are taking that calculated risk but centred on their spirit and enterprise. From bringing in the voices of others (from visual, to audio, to copy), this can become a brand that believes in independence and the people who represent it.
This is the opportunity for all of us to find a space that we can keep progressing and never lose the momentum.
You Can’t Use Adjectives (The Describing Words)
Remember, this is not about you stating that you and your business are skilled, ambitious, revolutionary, challenging, cutting edge, effective, fun, resourceful or enthusiastic. These are adjectives or more commonly regarded as describing words. Describing the benefit of your product or service means that you are slipping back into old habits from a product oriented world.
To Think About
The single words that I have described in this article from the examples to Conker Spirit represent personality traits and to help people connect on a personal level in order to make their own lives better.
What about you?
- what is that word that connects you and what you believe in?
- if someone asked you for the one thing that you represent, ‘You Stand For…’
- can you find longevity and scope for that word that you believe in?
- can you become creative in order to build a community around your core principals and deliver from audio to the written word?
- can you capture the imagination and attention of others on a consistent basis?
Lets Start To Round Up
If you can use your word as a framework to build on, then raises the bar as your differentiator.
While businesses acknowledge that it is difficult for brands to get their voice heard, the main reason is the comfort of heading back into product mode.
If you can understand that one underlying word to create an emotional bond for others to empathise with, believe in and come back to you on a consistent basis is one of the biggest opportunities that you have for your content marketing efforts.
While others point the finger squarely at burgeoning media spaces and dwindling attention spans, you have that audience to build on and come back to.
N.B Image at the top of the article courtesy of Jacqui Brown
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