Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

If no one gives a crap about your cool new product, there’s a BIG reason why

When it comes to marketing, I’m going to be straight-up honest here — I absolutely suck at spending money to get leads.

I’m goddamn horrible at most paid channels, sans Reddit.

Some Facebook advertising specialists told me they’ve divinated the magical spells to summon hoards of customers, but apparently I’m too stupid to get it.

It feels like witchcraft.

However, there’s a BIG reason for my lacking skillset, and it honestly has nothing to do with my ineptness, and everything to do with actually gaining loyal customers that keep coming back for more:

People don’t like being sold to. But they love the shit out of a good story.

You can very specifically flub a paid campaign and waste an inordinate amount of money.

It takes a lot of experimentation to get something viable, depending on the industry, the keywords you are targeting, the demographics, the value proposition, and so on and so forth.

It also takes testing copy and compelling advertising graphics, so it’s almost like you can’t ever escape content being married to marketing — even if you want to.

You can also very specifically succeed with a paid campaign, but not be able to retain lasting customer and consumer relationships.

Which is how growth works, and how businesses scale.

So the penultimate reason why my skills falter on the paid spectrum is that my clients honestly don’t ask for it.

They’re already using paid advertisements and they don’t need more of what they already have.

What they’re looking for is a solution to their customer loyalty and engagement problem. Which paid digital advertising can’t actually fix.

Because people buy stories, not products. And companies make products, not stories.

And everyone hates being sold to.

No one cares about your product because they aren’t drinking your Kool-Aid

If someone knows the original artist, please let me know.

People find your expertise through your content, and are loyal to your company because of how you position your product, brand, and knowledge.

How your customer service experience is, how helpful you are, what your company stands for, how you treat your employees, what your aesthetic is.

You know, the stuff that doesn’t technically bring the leads in a direct way, but leaves a gigantic impression.

Not through the performative window dressings that we all know advertising can sometimes be.

(It should go without saying that this isn’t the case for all ad campaigns, please don’t get upset.)

The same authentic content and brand processes can, and have, worked for my clients.

And can, and have, worked for various companies.

Take Buffer for instance:

Buffer is a great example of this. I’m sure there are advertisements floating around, but their key differentiation is relatable and helpful content. It just is.

And they are incredibly self-aware, so that vulnerability and transparency also creates loyalty and interest.

Buffer’s blog is an absolute wealth of knowledge. And their email newsletters are a pleasure to read.

They also have a more intuitive product than say, Hootsuite, which highlights to me that they put their customers and consumers first.

Let me ask you a question:

Would you rather use a product that’s easy to use with a pleasant interface, from a team that has a strong sense of social responsibility, provides amazing content to teach you how to better your craft, and has excellent customer service, oh, and does that one thing you need really, really, really well?

Or would you rather use a product that’s more robust but lacks the human element and is the ugliest monstrosity you’ve seen in all your days?

This interface is not only overburdened, but if you click away from a ‘post’ you’re writing, Hootsuite often times deletes it! Wew!

I know I’m throwing shade at Hootsuite, but it’s a UI nightmare.

If you said the second one, you’re lying. Sorry.

People care about how something makes them feel. If a product makes them feel good, they’ll use it.

Emotions win out, every single time. Great, identifiable brands win because they are well-known. And they’re well-known for more than just the functions of their product.

They’re well known because of clever content.

Smart visual advertisements certainly won the day for companies like Apple.

But it was the content of the advertisement that gave them such a huge push.

Remember Apple’s silhouette ads during the musical renaissance known as the iPod?

The iPod wasn’t adopted just because it had more storage than competitors and was stupidly easy to use.

It wasn’t just because it was more robust than their USB stick competitors like Creative Labs Muvo.

It wasn’t just because it was a damned Apple product.

It was because of these infectious advertisements.

They’re paid ads. Of course. But their content won the day. It filled people with a desire to fit that lifestyle. It was engaging. Powerful.

I think paid advertising can be paired with great content to concoct a devastatingly explosive one-two punch that gets organic love and paid reach.

But more than that, the story wins. Every single time. Advertisement without creative collateral is literally just a budget that won’t be spent.

Campaigns can’t run without content.

I get asked this question about content marketing a lot:

How do you get so many leads by just writing stuff? — Said with a twinge of disbelief.

As if I just haphazardly stumbled onto how to use content to gain leads, make allies, grow a community, and construct a career.

As if I somehow didn’t have a knack for writing narratives to begin with.

This is my new response to anyone who asks, with disbelief and not with genuine curiosity:

“I’ll tell you in a sec. First let me set up my altar and sacrifice a couple of virgins. Then I need to stare into a mirror and do a death metal scream chanting ‘GARY VEE’ three times while gargling the souls of the innocent in between glottal stops.”

And for anyone that asks earnestly?

“I’m passionate about connecting with people through stories.”

That’s it.

If you want more information on how to create a lasting impression with your brand and use content marketing tactics to extend your reach, you need to start thinking about stories and people.

And not about products.

I can’t help you if you can’t, or won’t, reach that level of understanding. Or see the long-term benefits of building loyalty, even.

If no one gives a crap about your cool new product, it’s because you haven’t given them a reason to.

With the right tactics, content marketing becomes an evergreen, vastly inexpensive way to get leads and build up an earned audience, organically.

Want to know a huge secret?

It’s also a lot of fun.

Special thanks to Renato P. dos Santos for his continued support!

Kira Leigh is a writer, gamer, digital creative, and small business owner.
Catch her here and send her a line if you want to work together.

If you love her content, please consider donating to her Patreon so she can make her career alllll about content!

Or join her on Discord like the giant nerd you are: windows95toasteroven#3745