Recent studies have documented a situation in which a little more than 10 percent of consumers who make purchases on the Internet trust advertising, while the opinion of friends from social networks for almost 80 percent is decisive when choosing a particular offer.

When I talk to the C-Suite, one of the questions I ask is for them to tell me what the last 3 adverts they saw on social media were about, and what they did after they saw them - now I know this is a rhetorical question, but each and every time the answer is the same 'We can't remember the ads, so of course we did nothing'.

I then ask them why they think other people would behave any different than them........

At best it's a 97% failure rate, and that doesn't account for the people it pissed off!

What you read next isn't rocket science, neither is it a silver bullet.

It's 'common sense', which for people looking to start out on the road to building a content strategy needs to become 'common practice'.

I was reading an article recently that said marketeers were struggling to work out how to 'communicate' with customers as the data points they previously had access to from those paid media adverts had mostly disappeared as a result of this crisis, GDPR, Ad Blocking and budget cuts.

In a world where pre-covid marketing had been reduced to the communications department this doesn't really surprise me, but it does worry me.

I won't bore you with the details but I once built and sold the 5th largest data and e-mail marketing business in the UK. 

We did this at a time when companies were trying to work out how to gather e-mail addresses and use this relatively new marketing tool for something that replaced the postal stamp, envelope etc.

As such they, and our competitors were focused on a model of 'how low can you go' which basically reduced the medium to a commodity sale.

Instead we decided to focus on using the medium to better help businesses build relationships in order to create longer term value. 

From this we worked with our clients to create messaging based on where the person was in the relationship - common place today but innovative back then. 

So when companies are starting to think about developing a 'content led' strategy its important they apply the same principle around building relationships and not make it all about them.

Let's take an overly simplified look at what I mean.

As I said before this is common sense, but isn't common practice - just yet!

Rhetorical Questions: 

Would you have the same conversation with someone you just met opposed to someone you've known for ages?

Would you talk to people about Golf if you knew they had no interest in the subject ?

We are all either customers of someone else's business or open to become one.

So, you need to create content stories that I can relate to depending on where I am in that journey. 

And the best stories are the ones where you and your teams have experience.

Remember - I'm getting to know YOU in order that you can get to know ME;

To make your marketing operational, you have to understand who your audience is.

Stating the obvious your grandparents won’t fit into the same target group as your niece. 

Everybody wants something different.

  • Prospect - I don't know you yet. You need to make it relatable to me and show me you can solve my problem.
  • Tryer - My first foray into buying with you .e.g 'what's in it for me'.
  • Advocate - I know you and I like you - now show that you know me.

It isn't more data sets you need, its an empathy that shows and respects you understand where our current relationship sits.

There are over 60% of the worlds population on one social network or another around the world. 

Trust me there are plenty of people who will be interested in your story.

By sharing what you know, and 'why' you do what you do will draw the right people to your stories, in turn those stories will draw the right people (customers) to you and will help filter out those that don't - just as in real life!