By Liz van Zyl, founder of The Content Agency
If you’re a lioness, content isn’t new to you… You read the daily newsletters, right? And all the articles in them. You visit the Lionesses of Africa website every once in a while and you follow Lionesses on social media platforms too.
So you already understand just how much of an impact content can have. It helps the Lionesses community share stories about our brands. It helps us keep in touch with the events and transformations happening around us. It even helps us feel connected to other dynamic female entrepreneurs in the network – instilling in us a sense of belonging as well as a sense of pride.
Without content any group, cause or business would be pretty boring. As a customer, there would be nothing to attract you to look a little deeper. As a brand, you would have very few means to actually build connections with prospective and current clients.
Getting to grips with content
One way to truly understand the value of content is to humour me with the following thought experiment: Imagine having to sell your product or service without saying a single word or showing your potential client a picture, video or demonstration. That would be pretty tough, right?
If you think about it, that’s exactly what content is:
1. the words to describe your business, product or service
2. the images, videos, gifs and demonstrations of your product or service.
That is why it’s virtually impossible to sell anything without good quality content. (Of course, for the content to convert leads into clients and keep current clients wanting more, you need an effective and streamlined content strategy – but that’s a topic for another blog).
If, as Steuart Henderson Britt explained, “doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark”, then trying to sell anything without content is like creating an account on Tinder, but including no description, location or picture and then wondering why you don’t get any requests for dates.
Content sets you up for success
It allows your potential customers to understand what you are all about - building connection and rapport. It allows potential clients to understand what makes your offering special - education and brand loyalty. It lays the foundation for all interaction with all your stakeholders - ensuring transparency, brand alignment and a realized brand promise.
I could write volumes about the importance and value of content for your business - whether it be website content, social media posts, brochures, profiles or blogs - but you’re reading this to get more insight into using content to gain customers, so here goes…
There are two main ways content helps you gain new customers:
1. It gets you seen
Last year round about this time, 26.8 million South Africans admitted to spending a whopping THREE HOURS per day on the interwebs. That’s a lot of time spent googling.
Of course, this presents us entrepreneurs and marketers with a grand opportunity: to meet our markets where they are looking for us, online!
Having decent, user-friendly, content on your website, blog and social channels will help increase your rankings on search engines like Google. This means prospective customers can discover you faster and with more ease (and if you’re doing your content right, they’ll be coming back and sharing it with others too).
2. It gets you ‘felt’
Being seen is not good enough. You have to gain trust, loyalty, engagement and brand ambassadors so that people “buy into” your products or services.
Content isn’t just about hard selling. In fact, ideally it’s not about selling at all. Content is about finding clever and engaging ways to CONNECT with your audience, to SHARE your story with them and to DEMONSTRATE the value that your brand can add to their lives. Done right, content creates a tribe around your brand that is loyal, engaged and interacts with your brand often.
For example, through content you can demonstrate to prospective (and current) clients that you understand their pain points and frustrations. And you can offer them examples of how your product or service addresses them. This is often where communication collateral like case studies and testimonials come in handy. Not only do they promote the key selling points of your product or service, but they do it through the words of an “independent party” that seems trustworthy and that prospective clients can relate to in a way that builds credibility for your brand.
Making content work for you
Creating content just for the sake of creating content is a waste of time. It should be something that you do to drive your business objectives, like creating content to gain customers. It can be a powerful tool, if used correctly.
As Robert Rose explains: “Marketing is telling the world that you are a rock star. Content creation is showing them that you are one…”
Liz van Zyl is the founder of The Content Agency in South Africa, a specialized content development and copywriting provider. Liz loves helping clients work out the best ways to get the word out and achieve their business goals. Over the last decade, she has crafted communications and marketing content and copy for prominent organisations and private individuals in Africa and Australia; and has also been published in a number of national publications and media channels.
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