Relationship based marketing content treats readers like people rather than dollar signs.
And, if you want to not turn people off with icky salesman tactics it's a worthwhile approach to every piece of content that you produce.
Why relationship-based content is important
A great way to think carefully about relationship-based content is to compare it to successful mom and pop shops.
When I say "mom and pop shop" what comes to mind?
Chances are you'll think of a small, independent business that has played an important role in your life.
But what makes them so important to you personally?
Was it the product or service?
Or was it the fact that they treated you like family and remembered stuff about you?
Let me tell you a little story...
About a year ago, my significant other got me into a tea shop, run by a tea sommelier from Sri Lanka.
The first time we went there her whole approach to selling tea that was unlike anything I've ever seen before.
And her memory for faces, and ability to always quickly solve any problem with tea blew my mind.
But what fascinated me the most was the fact that every product had a story, and she clearly loved sharing those stories with other people.
And I still go back, just to purchase something new, and see what stories there are to share.
Sure, her products aren't as cheap as Starbucks or Teavana, but what you're really paying for is the experience and the perks of buying from a world expert in tea.
If you want your content to not only improve your search engine traffic but actually mean something to your readers, you've got to offer an experience that's just as steeped in meaning as buying products from my favorite tea lady.
So how exactly can you do that with your online content?
Here are some tactics you can use to offer a similar experience to your readers.
1) Say "bub-bye" to the customer profile
I hate customer profiles AKA buyer personas because they're too one-dimensional.
No idea what I'm even talking about?
Here's Adele Revella's take on what they are:
Buyer personnas are an archetype; a composite picture of the real people who buy, or might buy, products like the ones you market, based on what you’ve learned in direct interviews with real buyers.
Why I don't like buyer personas:
The problem is it's impossible to create a buyer persona that represents everyone.
Using a buyer persona to represent an entire demographic is a bit like assuming a phone survey at a specific day and time represents everyone.
There will always be missing stats.
People might have been at work when you called, or not willing to answer a call from an unknown number.
Plus: people are super complicated.
Sure 50% of the people surveyed might think something, but what about the ones that didn't answer the phone or fill out a survey?
2) Be Value-focused
The better way to think of it is to focus more on your values and focus on appealing to people with like-minded points of view.
For instance, when I did a ghostwriting project a while ago, targeting customers that are physically active mothers, with families that are equally as physically active, I focused on the one thing they have in common:
The desire for safety, for themselves and their families.
If you want to use online content to build meaningful relationships with your customers you have to find common ground, and that will help you uncover the one thing that makes them all gravitate towards your product or service.
Put yourself in this person's shoes and think carefully about common struggles.
For instance, if you're a financial advisor, and you want to reach millennials, you want to emphasize how you can help them save money.
3) Provide free content, in more ways than one
Sure, you're trying to make money, but free content is what will get people hooked.
A great way to do this to not just use your social media accounts to self-promote.
Include a good balance of not only your own content but also content from other experts in your field that your readers will find useful.
Follow blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts that offer relevant insight into what's going on in your industry.
Then, invest in tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite, and make the articles on your area of expertise that get your attention a weekly part of your social media strategy.
Ever since I started doing that, my level of social engagement went up, and I started getting new followers every week on Twitter.
4) Promote your content via relevant Facebook Groups
A great way to make sure you're maximizing your relationships with your customers and earning the right audience is to promote your content in Facebook groups.
Just in case you're unfamiliar with how these groups operate, it's a give and take/ Karma-based system.
In other words...
If you promote a certain amount of other peoples' content and offer free advice, then other members will happily share your latest blog post or promo offer on their social media accounts.
Take the time to join Facebook groups where your ideal customers and readers actually hang out and take advantage.
This is an important strategy to take advantage of because even if your content is brilliant, it's totally meaningless unless you're actively making an effort to create a valuable relationship with your ideal customers.
5) Make sure you show a glimpse of you
There's a reason why I'm all about authenticity when it comes to copywriting.
Because people love it.
If you get nothing else from this post, I want you to make sure that you fearlessly let you shine through.
Because no one else can do things your way.
And you have your own approach to things.
So be proud of it.
If you let the real you shine through in everything from your social media accounts, to your website and blog posts, the right people will pay attention.
Start by being true to you, and then the more technical aspects of getting your work out there, such as SEO and figuring out where and when to promote your content will be a lot more effective.
What tactics do you use when using online content to form a valuable relationship with your customers? Do you have any questions about how it all works? I'd love to hear more about it!
And if you have no idea where to even start when it comes to relationship-focused content, click here for an updated list of my individual/ a la carte services.