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Kevin Anselmo

Seven Content Marketing Tips: Make Friends and Influence People

By: Kevin Anselmo | August 6, 2013 | 
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Content Marketing Tips

By Kevin Anselmo

We’ve all been there.

You are at an industry-related social gathering, and don’t know many people in attendance.

You are looking to engage in an interesting conversation. Maybe get some content marketing tips.

Then finally, it happens – you connect with a new person and start to converse.

However, after a few minutes, you feel trapped.

The other person – let’s call him Joe – begins a rant about his accomplishments, lavish vacations, and how his child won the second grade spelling bee.

He doesn’t stop, and after listening to his monologue for 10 minutes, you are bored and are looking for an escape as Joe continues to rattle on.

Boasting and Bragging

I am sure most of us have encountered this type of person (hopefully you aren’t that person!). Often, bad content marketers have similar characteristics to Boast’y Joe at the social gathering.

There are many terrific examples of brands doing content marketing right: The Whole Foods Blog and The Home Depot YouTube Channel are just two examples.

However, there are also many brands that simply don’t get it, and just want to rant on about their “greatness”.

Seven Ways to Make Friends and Influence People

Here are seven content marketing tips that work for Joe at his social gatherings, and work equally well when applied to Brand XYZ and their desire to attract customers with content.

  1. Joe: Don’t only talk about yourself at social gatherings – get to know the person at the opposite side of the table.Brand XYZ: Don’t only talk about how great you are in your marketing communications – listen and engage with – get to know – your audiences.
  2. Joe: Now that you are getting to know the person on the other side of the table, find conversational topics of mutual interest.
    Brand XYZ: Now that you are listening to your audiences, and know them better, tap into this knowledge to create content of mutual interest.
  3. Joe: You can still accentuate your positives at social gatherings, but share in a humble way. Pepper in a few accolades or successes while telling a more interesting story!Brand XYZ: You, too, can pat yourself on the back, but don’t go on and on about how you are the leader in _________ . Instead, demonstrate your expertise by providing real thought leadership that resonates with your audience. And tell the stories behind your successes.
  4. Joe: Don’t be long-winded. Your new friend doesn’t need to hear 20-minute uninterrupted monologues. He/she is likely busy, and can always look for more engaging conversations from others in attendance at the social gathering.Brand XYZ: Don’t be long-winded. Keep your communications short, snappy, and to the point. Your audience is busy. There is so much content out there. If you bore your audiences they will quickly leave, and look for content elsewhere.
  5. Joe: If you have cool photos or videos on your phone related to a story you’re sharing, then share them! We all love visuals – they make stories more memorable.Brand XYZ: Your stakeholders would probably enjoy different forms of content. Consider how you can communicate useful information to your audiences in the form of video, audio, photos, and/or infographics.
  6. Joe: If your new friend at the social gathering says something you don’t agree with, don’t say “shut-up,” completely disregard the comment, and walk away. The person on the other side of the table will not think highly of this, and will probably share what a jerk you’ve been with others at the party. Instead either ignore the comment (if it is really crazy or offensive), or come up with a thoughtful, respectful, and genuine response.Brand XYZ: If someone makes an unflattering comment on your blog or some other owned outlet, don’t delete it. It is probably best to address the comment directly with a thoughtful, respectful, and genuine response. If you delete the comment, the person on the other side will tell others how you have stifled their voice, or worse, how you’re ignoring a serious customer service issue, and will then communicate this and other negative commentary far and wide.
  7. Joe: Share resources of interest to your new friend at the social gathering. Your new friend will truly appreciate any new contacts, as well as advice. This builds trust, and they will likely remember and thank you.Brand XYZ: Share outside resources of interest to your audience. This builds trust, and your community will begin to see you as a trusted source of valuable information. And they will share it with their communities. This will increase engagement – and in a perfect world, business opportunities!

Much of today’s customer-focused marketing and communication boils down to one simple thing: Be human. Your fans and followers will thank you for it.

About Kevin Anselmo


Kevin Anselmo is the founder and principal of Experiential Communications, a consultancy focused on education. He helps brands within academia – whether individual or corporate – communicate with stakeholders. He also teaches communications and public relations workshops to different individuals and groups. Kevin is the host of For Immediate Release on Higher Education, the communications podcast for academics, marketers, public relations professionals and administrators within higher education. Check out his blog here.

11 comments
PepepiLosem
PepepiLosem

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jetwhine
jetwhine


Great piece Kevin. I thought it was just me who felt this way.

Believe it or not, over the last 10 years or so, my wife and I have actually started consciously ignoring people we used to call friends because we can't stand another night out listening to these people endlessly talk about themselves.

I know their biggest biz problem, how much they spent on tuition for their kids and why they love their new Acura. 

And every time either of us try to interject anything about anyone other than these terminally self-absorbed morons, they act as if we're interrupting. 

Of course, I guess we are.

Rob 

Word Ninja
Word Ninja

The way we communicate as individuals translates into how we communicate well--or not so well--with wider audiences. If I am a good listener--or at least make a concerted effort--that quality should show itself in the way I engage with larger groups. All good points/reminders, as we can forget that we're actually talking to real people, not just a "demographic."

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

First off, I'm sorry - I was on a 47 day coffee bender and went a little off the rails. Also can you delete that photo of my cat wearing the stripey waldow shirt & blue pants? I promised my live-in cat nanny I would never share that. 

All seriousness aside, good advice. I'm not real big on "networking" but I do love talking to people, and there's nothing worse than trying to have a fun, thoughtful conversation with someone who isn't really interested in engaging. 

kevinanselmo
kevinanselmo

@Word NinjaThat’s an interesting point. Most of the people I know who are good at communicating with wider audiences in a professional context are usually people I enjoy having a friendly chat with on a 1-to-1 level. And many of the communicators / marketers who I find annoying in the way they communicate professionally to broader audiences are also the same people that are arrogant and obnoxious in 1-to-1 personal settings. I know of a few exceptions, but interesting to think about the correlation between the two.