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Archive for March, 2013

Using Content to Tap Key Motivators: Greed, Fear, and Risk

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I saw an article posted recently by the Content Marketing Institute entitled “2 Foolproof Methods for Getting Content Marketing Buy-In.” It got me thinking; what really motivates people to buy into to a content marketing campaign? There have to more than two motivators?

Before everything else, whether you are talking to chief executives, marketers, your peers, or anyone else you all have something in common – you are human. There are basic human motivators that date back to the Neolithic Age that still drive today. The big ones are greed, fear and risk, and most other motivators are subsets of greed, fear, and risk. If you understand how to apply these motivators as part of your content marketing strategy, then you will be able to get more buy in from your target audience.

Let’s consider greed for starters. Back in the days of the caveman, greed would be a great motivator to steal someone’s mammoth steak, but today it’s all about commanding market share and market dollars. If you can deliver content that outshines the competition and drives more business, then you have something compelling. If you can develop a campaign that minimizes cost and risk and provides a sure-fire sales opportunity, then you can get buy in.

How do you tap greed with content? Try offering sure-fire tips to solve a marketing problem. Create a white paper on sure-fire ways to build business. Offer success stories showing how someone else made a fortune with your problem or service. In short, make an offer that is too good to pass up. If you can create a compelling story using greed as a motivator, you will get a higher response.

Fear, however, can be an even more compelling motivator. Just as the caveman is motivated by fear to run from the saber-toothed tiger, you want to tap into fear to promote action. Use your content to address a dire problem. What about a new industry regulation that could cost your prospects a lot of money. Create a targeted message that uses fear as a motivator within a target group. For example, we did a white paper project for a technology company that solved social media compliance problems for financial service firms. The white paper was a big hit because the consequences for non-compliance could be millions of dollars in fines. Fear motivates like nothing else, so address well-defined problems with solutions that prevent big consequences.

And then there’s risk. In his article on “2 Foolproof Methods…,” author Joe Pulizzi says one method is using a pilot program is one way to get marketing buy-in. I think of this as a means to eliminate risk. A pilot program lets you test the waters before making a big fiscal commitment. Similarly, with content, if you can offer a “try before you buy” approach you are eliminating risk. Offering free tips and techniques means there is no commitment, which means a higher response rate. Reassure your audience that any information they offer won’t be shared. Be helpful without asking for too much in return. Eliminating risk, combined with something that promotes greed or fear, and you have content that will get a response.

So no matter how terrific a product or service you have to offer, and no matter how sweet the offer, remember that your respondents are still people. Use tactics that motivate people. Be sure to appeal to basic instincts and the logical arguments to close a sale follow. After all, we’re only human.


Written by Tom Woolf

March 19th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

How to make sure your call to action gets results

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Are you wondering why your website traffic is high but visitors aren’t clicking on your call to action? You may be experiencing a similar situation with your email marketing – good open rate but a weak click through on the call to action to download a white paper or sign up for a webinar.

The problem may not be your offering; it may be that your call to action isn’t clear or conveying the right message to encourage your customers and prospects to click through. In order to achieve the marketing results you want, a call to action needs to motivate your targets to act immediately on whatever you are inviting them to do.

An effective call to action needs:

Strong words: There should be no confusion or misunderstanding about what you want your audience to do and what they will get by clicking. Language that inspires action includes:

  • Book now
  • Buy now
  • Download white paper
  • Sign up for presentations

Value:  The call to action is about what your customers and prospects gain by acting; it’s not about what your business does.  “Always on surveillance safeguards your home 24/7 – learn more.” is more powerful than “Learn about our about our new home video security system.”

Immediacy:  Create a sense of urgency to inspire your audience to click on the call to action as soon as they see it.  “Prevent cyber criminals from taking your business down. Find out how” creates a greater sense of urgency than “Find out how to  protect your company’s data.”

Design: Make sure your call to action is clearly visible. You don’t want your call to action to dominate the page, but it should be big enough to be easily noticed. Contrasting colors also can help your call to action stand out from the rest of your copy.

Web page location: Try to place your call to action at or near the top of your web page. Your audience may miss it If you place the call to action at the bottom.

Link to landing page: Create a separate landing page for your offer. This makes it easy for your audience to find the information they need.

When you create a call to action that clicks with your audience, they will respond in kind.


Written by Barbara Kohn

March 12th, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Content Overload: How Much is Too Much?

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One of the most hotly debated topics in direct marketing is how often do you touch your customers and prospects? Do you send out a weekly direct mail piece? Monthly? How often do you blog? Daily? Weekly? How often do your prospects and customers want to hear from you? When does what you have to say stop being valid and start being spam?

There is no simple answer to this question. The flippant answer is, as long as your content is interesting and relevant, your audience will pay attention. But you don’t want to be the boor at the social media party and try to hog the floor. You can’t. There are too many competitors for your audience’s attention. So no matter how valuable the information you have to share, be judicious.

For many marketers, the number of touches dictates the amount of content they need to develop. That means how much budget do you need to commit, and how do you measure ROI. Assessing the ROI of an intangible such as engagement is tough, but it’s easy to overdo it.

Let’s look at an interesting statistic from Lab42, which conducted a survey on “Frequency of Posts, Unwanted Contact Discourage Brand Likes On Facebook”. What they found was that the more often a brand posts, the more of a turnoff it can be for Facebook followers. Of those surveyed:

  • 47% did not want to be contacted by brands on Facebook at all
  • 73% stated they had unliked or unfollowed brands for posting too frequently on Facebook
  • 1% of users who ‘Like’ a major brand actually engage with the Brand or purchase the product

Extrapolating from this survey, your online followers want to hear from you, but not too often. If you post updates too frequently or offer new information too frequently, it will actually turn people off. I know in my own experience, I get daily emails from certain brands and services and I have learned to ignore them; in fact I delete them without reading them. Those emails that get my attention are from brand I follow that send an email every week, or every few weeks; I can spare a minute to find out what’s new if I don’t have to do it every day.

So when developing a content marketing campaign, consider both quantity and quality. Do you have an awesome white paper with lots of great information? Why not break it up into bite-sized chunks you can offer over time, at intervals to promote interest. Or send out a monthly newsletter with information that provides a service for your audience and has value. If you can find that magic combination of delivering interesting information at the right intervals, you will be able to build a loyal following that really wants to hear what you have to share.


Written by Tom Woolf

March 7th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Appetizer versus Entree: Don’t Overstuff Your Content

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“While I have your attention, let me tell you about…” This attitude is the bane of content marketing strategies. Too often, marketing managers want to cram 10 pounds of brand messages into a 5 pound bag. The truth is if you bury your audience in content, chances are they won’t pay attention to any of it, and they won’t come back.

Effective content marketing is focused, giving the audience enough information to satisfy them based on whatever forum you are using. Social media, for example, thrives on sound bites. You use images, short messages, and content that can be taken in at a glance to drive awareness. You can use social media as an appetizer to drive traffic to the main course, such as a case study, white paper, or webinar, but you should always be aware of how much information you audience will be willing to absorb.

Infographics provide an interesting example of how to overstuff your content. You have undoubtedly seen infographics posted on Facebook, blogs, company web sites, and elsewhere. The problem with many Infographics is they suffer from infographic overload; they try to tell the entire history of mankind in a single graphic. The more information you stuff into an infographic, the harder it is to digest. You should reserve infographics for specific campaigns and content programs. As Leslie Bradshaw, co-founder of JESS3 and one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Tech, told CCO Magazine:

Infographics are a high-level tactic that are good for educated audiences; they are not actually good for consumer audiences. Consumer audiences are much more likely to share something on Facebook that’s really ‘snackable.’ Think about Pinterest. Those are the pieces of content we call snackable content—short, bold statements. If we produce content that has just one or two data points, we call it a data graphic.

For JESS3, a data graphic is Infographic lite; a short graphic that offers one or two data points to tell a story. This kind of graphic is idea for Facebook of other social media outlets, and you can link it back to something meatier, such an infographic or white paper.

If you feed your audience bite-sized bullets, the trail of breadcrumbs will eventually lead to the heartier content where you can tell an in-depth story where you can build a case for your product or services with examples, ROI statistics, and more.


Written by Tom Woolf

March 5th, 2013 at 6:32 pm