Content marketing has been around for a while now. It began when search engines like Google started ranking sites by—among other things—the quality of the content as perceived by the audience. This caused many marketers to increase the quality of their content. But if you’re still wondering if you have the right kind of content for your business, you should check out this idea from Mark Schaefer. It’s one of the easiest ways to decide if you have a strong mix that will help drive sales.
The Content Hierarchy of NeedsMost business professionals understand they need to produce valuable content. But exactly how do you do that? Marketing guru Mark Schaefer used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to create a content-based pyramid structure. Here’s how using Schaefer’s structure can help you create the right types of content to impact your audience:
Addressing Basic NeedsThe foundation of Schaefer’s pyramid is providing basic information and answering questions. This is the bare minimum of what anyone producing content should do for their audience. Many businesses address basic info in a Q&A section, but you can also create pages, blog posts, and videos dedicated to answering the questions you get most frequently.
Take some time to look at search and analytics. What are some of the most common questions asked in the industry or business that you serve? Use top-ranking keyword phrases in question form on your website and throughout your content.
Answering basic questions is a great way to rank in search but doesn’t do much for improving time on site or returns as website visitors get their information and leave. That’s why you need additional content including…
TeachingAfter addressing basic questions about your product, services, and/or industry, consider what your ideal customer needs to know to make a good buying decision. This educational component can also include content like DIY tips, background or historical information, and best practices. A site that posts this type of relevant content entices people to subscribe and visit it again as a first stop in getting the answers and advice they need by a subject matter expert.
Emotional ConnectionHere’s where the magic begins. Up until this point in the pyramid, you have been sharing what you know. You created content with basic needs and questions in mind, and you established yourself as a helpful thought leader, maintaining trust with your audience through your straightforward answers.
Now, you want to take your relationship to the next level by creating an emotional reason for your audience to seek out your content. You won their minds, now you are going for their hearts. You can do this by showcasing authenticity and vulnerability in your content. Share personal stories and experiences that relate to your niche or business views. Engage with your viewers actively through comments and social media to create a sense of community and foster a two-way connection.
Tailoring your content to address the pain points, concerns, challenges, aspirations, and emotions of your target audience ensures that they see themselves reflected in your content, creating a powerful emotional bond. Lastly, use storytelling techniques, visuals, and music to evoke emotions that resonate with your brand's values and messaging, leaving a lasting impression on your audience.
InspirationAfter you have established an emotional bond with your audience, they will look to you for inspiration. You can inspire them by tapping into their aspirations, passions, and desires. Start by setting a positive and enthusiastic tone in your content. Share your challenges and how you overcame them. Talk about others who have inspired you and share their success stories. Give actionable tips that your audience can apply to their own lives, making them feel empowered and motivated. Use your platform to showcase individuals who have achieved remarkable feats, highlighting their journeys and the lessons they've learned. Encourage open dialogue and engagement with your audience to foster a sense of community and support, encouraging them to share their own goals and dreams. Celebrate their accomplishments by calling them out and congratulating them. By consistently delivering content that uplifts and offers valuable insights, you can inspire and drive positive change in the lives of your audience.
Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story. She works with small businesses, chambers of commerce, and business professionals who want to make an impression and grow a loyal customer/member base. She loves road trips, hates exclamation points, and finds content strategy one of the most rewarding parts of what she does.
When I speak to small businesses about their local chamber, the businesses that have let their memberships lapse often make it sound like a gym membership. “I didn’t really use it.” What they’re missing when they make comments like that is the behind-the-scenes benefits of chamber membership. Just as your investment grows in a savings account in a bank, your business investment in chamber membership is growing even when you aren’t actively participating. Here’s what you’re getting that you may not even realize:
Ever notice how some offers are irresistible? You didn’t even know you needed the product or service. Then you saw the offer, and BANG!, you’re whipping out your credit card. This isn’t by accident. Someone down the line carefully created the offer that caused you to act with wild abandon. And you can do it too for your business. It just takes a little forethought.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.