Estimated reading time: 18 minute(s)
Imagine you’ve developed a device that goes into a wearer’s ear to translate any spoken communication into his or her native tongue. Call it the tech equivalent of the Babel fish in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Your device took years to develop and might require just as long to describe in detail, on paper. But attempts to do so would alienate your target audience—say, business executives—and, frankly, leave them cross-eyed as a consequence of the complexity, paired with the irrelevancy of such an explanation to their daily lives.
You know this, and yet, as the developer or marketer of this device, you can’t help diving into the technicalities of the product, and landing your content gracelessly in the weeds. How do you create the desire to own the device…on the web, in your sales spec sheets to distributors, on paper?
The answer is surprisingly simple. To market to humans, use human marketing. Demonstrating the usefulness, versatility, or all-round awesomeness of a piece of tech is all about finding the ghost in the machine—the aspect that will make your customer crisply envision its usefulness. This is where content marketing comes in.
Unlike other forms of marketing (like your company’s website or paid ads), content marketing allows you to drive inbound traffic through the gradual release of useful material that informs, intrigues, and delights your target audience. It’s this content that helps humanize the tech, that makes your readers curious to find out more—and that makes your company pop into their mind the next time they experience the problem you can fix. Let’s take a closer look at why.
What’s so special about content marketing?
Content marketing is different from straightforward advertising because it offers something of value to your target audience. From video tutorials about how to use a certain function of your product to blog posts or podcasts about cyber security and hacking, there are countless ways to use content marketing to give something back to consumers while simultaneously drawing them in.
You might be thinking “well, that’s what I have a website for.” But along the modern buyer’s journey, your website is only one stepping stone in a long and winding road. It may even be the final step, the place they visit to purchase your product or service after engaging with your marketing efforts elsewhere. And without an enticing and humanizing content marketing effort, they might never get that far.
Most consumers want to have a real feel for a new product or service before they fork over their hard earned cash. They want to know how it’s going to make everyday life easier, better, and brighter for them, and a list of tech specs and buzzwords is never going to convince them. And in most cases, this conversion isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes repeated, meaningful interactions with your brand—and with a strategic content marketing strategy, you can create a storyline for them to follow.
Find the human story
You know your target audience. And you know the impact your product or service will have on their lives. Now all you have to do is show them.
The best content marketing creates an experience. It’s an experience that customers can relate or aspire to. A piece of workflow software that streamlines daily office administration, eliminating cumbersome tasks. A virtual assistant that lets you switch on the heating in your home from your car, so it’ll always be toasty when you arrive. It might not appeal to everyone, but to your target audience, it fills a gap they didn’t even realize existed. And through your content marketing campaign, you can show them why.
At its core, content marketing is all about showing, not telling. Remember, it’s not straightforward advertising—you’re not telling someone to buy your product or service, but instead showing them something that might be of interest to them. That’s not to say that you’re deceiving them; if your content marketing is good, people will actively seek it out to find out more. The goal is always to share a little human story, one story at a time, building up to a bigger picture about your company.
Let’s use the example of the virtual assistant again (and assume for the moment that they aren’t already ubiquitous). This is something that no one has ever needed in the past, because they’ve been doing just fine without it. So why do they need it now?
To demonstrate this, you might write a series of blog posts about ways in which the device will benefit different kinds of people depending on their unique needs—from helping moms and dads entertain their kids to making business meetings flow more smoothly. There could also be a few posts teaching a layman how to use the device and get the most out of it, or what to do if it isn’t working the way they want. You might want to write some articles for other sites that consumers will visit, and of course you’ll need a great newsletter to talk about new features and upgrades and how they’ll improve the user experience. Maybe you’ll even release a free ebook or white paper full of handy tips and advice, something a person can refer to again and again.
The average customer might only interact with one or two of these pieces of content before converting. But whichever pieces they discover, the effect will be the same—to make your complex piece of technology accessible, attractive, and something they can envision as part of their life.
This doesn’t just apply to “sexy” tech like smartphones and big TVs. Even the most “boring” pieces of technology exist to fill a gap in someone’s life, and there’s an interesting story there that deserves to be told!
Nerdy subjects, human interest
We live in an age when consumers will queue around the block to get their hands on the latest iPhone, and brave the Black Friday crowds to snag a plasma screen TV—but if you asked them how these products work, most couldn’t tell you. To market to them, you need to go beyond the technical lingo and speak directly to the customer’s heart. Show them the gap it will fill in their life, and create desire through a relatable human story. Because without that human story, it’s just a machine.
At MarketSmiths, there’s nothing we love more than taking a deep dive into your business and finding the human interest in your offering. Our writers and content strategists have a special knack for translating even the most complex of technologies into compelling narratives that leave readers eager to find out more.
Find the ghost in your machine. Get in touch today.