Of all the diet gurus, what factors really determine who you’ll read, follow, and buy from? It’s likely not performance or documented results or scientific evidence. Almost all major, well-known diets can claim those three factors.
But fad diets — with none of those factors — oftentimes manage to attract just as many adherents. In those cases, it isn’t a matter of results. It’s likely a matter of users selecting an expert’s advocated position that matches their own inclinations.
So what really determines your diet, assuming you’re in the market for one?
Most likely it’s the match-up between the diet guru’s advocated position with your own experiences, intuitions, and prejudices.
Let’s face it. If you can’t imagine starting your morning with a breakfast that doesn’t include eggs, and you consume meat at every meal, the chances of you dieting on Dr. Ornish’s plan — many vegetables, little meat and dairy — are low. The chances you’ll follow an Atkins, Zone, or South Beach diet — which allow those foods — are fairly high.
This isn’t a matter of results, it’s a matter of identity and selecting an expert’s advocated position that matches your own inclinations.
Yet this is exactly the dynamic that most content marketing ignores.
Why ‘Content’ Misleads
The word “content” adds to this problem. Content sounds and feels generic and textbook-like. Just imagine if it was called “editorial marketing,” instead.
The phrase “content marketing” seems to imply that the name of the game is to pump-out perfectly objective, and official-seeming how-to advice, beginner’s guides, and the like. While “editorial marketing” would lead you to believe that your strongest assets would be a definitive take on the subject matter and a strongly advocated position.
In fact, you’ll need both useful how-to articles and an easily-defined and strongly-advocated position. But like dieting programs, what determines your readership, — and therefore your prospect and customer base — isn’t usually the “meat” of your content so much as the content’s perspective and advocated position.
So the more striking and defined your advocated positions, the more powerfully you’ll attract like-minded customers.
For example, if you build and install swimming pools for a living, and you’re 100 percent in favor of non-chlorine-based pool systems, your content marketing will be much more effective if you passionately advocate for your position, versus hedging your bets so as not to lose the regular-old-pool crowd.
Yes, you will lose some people by passionately advocating for non-chlorine pool systems, but the people you gain will be far more passionate about doing business with you — and far more willing to pay a premium to do so — than you could otherwise expect with generic, flavorless “content.”
Remember, the goal of content marketing isn’t to inform, even though that is a necessity to offer valuable insights. The goal is to persuade while also informing. In other words, to sell.
How to Develop a Well-Defined Advocated Position
If you’re interested in pursuing a more strategically-sound style of content marketing based around a well-defined advocated position, you’ll want to spend some time pondering the following.
- When it comes to your business, service, or industry, where and in what ways do you strongly disagree with the common wisdom or currently accepted orthodoxy or mainstream methods?
- Where do you find yourself abandoning an attempt at reaching some sort of “golden mean” to pursue extremes? What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve perfection?
- To sell your service at a premium price, what do prospects need to believe about you and your service, and what values would they need to hold in order to make the sale as smooth and easy as possible?
- How can you build a tribal identity around those beliefs and values? How can you express those same beliefs and values in action? How would holding those beliefs and values color your perceptions around your service and industry?
- What or who is your natural enemy? Would your best prospective customers consider it a mutual enemy? How can you stand against this common enemy in your content?
A strongly advocated position for your content marketing strategy if crucial. It must follow your business’s advocated position.
But this is only half the battle. The other half is actually producing that editorialized content with a strong and interesting voice. Stay tuned for more on this in my next content marketing post.Last modified: March 9, 2021