Why is great aviation content important for successful marketing?
“People just don’t seem to be responding. We have Facebook, we have Twitter, we’re doing emails and postcards and ads, but we get no takers. I just don’t get it.”
When people send me samples of the current marketing they’re doing, or when I research their companies online, I often find that their marketing is composed of messages like these:
- “Like us on Facebook!”
- “Our product rocks!”
- “Our customers rock!”
- “$10 off on Product X!”
- “Photos from our Cookout!”
- “Our customer service rocks!”
Not bad for a start, and better than nothing. But a little lacking in, well, substance!
Jay Conrad Levinson’s Monumental Secret of Guerilla Marketing – Secret Number 15 is this:
Sell the content of your offering rather than the style; sell the steak AND the sizzle, because people are too sophisticated to merely buy that sizzle.
This is true in the business-to-business space, and particularly in aviation!
Great companies don’t sell products. They sell solutions to problems or opportunities to make their customers’ lives better in some way. That includes more than just a widget or gadget or piece of software, or even an airplane, as fantastic as airplanes are.
We get so attached to our products and services that we forget they are merely the means to an end to our customer. Our objective should be to provide a better means to that end. We need to be very well acquainted with your customers’ objectives and problems. And we need to position ourselves as the best tool to reach those objectives and the best solution to those problems.
Without information and context, one gadget or widget or piece of software is just about the same as the other. But when it comes with useful information about why you need it, how to use it, and how it’s different from the competition, this widget or gadget or piece of software has just become much more valuable.
We’re all in the information publishing business. Like it or not, we need to provide our customers and prospective customers with conversations, stories, instructions, comparisons, text, pictures and video. In other words, content.
What makes great content?
Ann Handley & CC Chapman put it this way in Content Rules:
Share or solve; don’t shill. Good content doesn’t try to sell. Rather, it creates value by positioning you as a reliable and valuable source of vendor-agnostic information. Your content shares a resource, solves a problem, helps your customers do their jobs better, improves their lives, or makes them smarter, wittier, better looking, taller, better networked, cooler, more enlightened, and with better backhands, nicer muscles, and cuter kids. In other words, it’s high value to your customers, in whatever way resonates best with them.
The key part of that thought – it’s not about you. It’s not about your company, or even about your product. It’s about THEM.
One of our first activities with a new client is to help them develop an Editorial Calendar. We take a compiled editorial calendar from most of the major aviation publications and brainstorm connections to their company, product, service, and most importantly, customers. We want to enter that conversation that’s already taking place in the aviation community and become vibrant, helpful, informative participants in that conversation with great aviation content.
Here are some ideas for creating substantial, helpful, fascinating content:
- Listen before talking. Do some surfing of your top 10 most-desired clients’ websites and social media profiles. Or the magazines and blogs that your most-desired clients are likely to read. What do THEY talk about? Can you enter their conversation? (By commenting on their blog posts or discussions, retweeting their content, or posting it on your blog or newsletter with commentary? )
- Brainstorm your ideal client’s top 10 problems, concerns and pet peeves. Write about the problem about which you can offer the most help.
- Brainstorm your ideal client’s top 10 aspirations and desires. Write about the one that is the most relevant to your area of expertise.
- Write about your clients. Success stories are the very best marketing material. They show your concern and connection with your clients, and they show how your product or service solved a problem or improved a situation.
- Write a Buyer’s Guide. People shopping for the product or service that you offer may not know what criteria they should be using to choose the best option. Write an honest, legitimate buyer’s guide to help people decide on the best option for them based on the options available on the market.
- Create a Video. If you present at trade shows or do other types of public speaking, you have given the same presentation to live audiences and have refined it because of the feedback you get from your audience. Produce that refined presentation as a video, and use the video as content on your blog, or send CDs to current and prospective clients.
- Use current events, movies and other current stories. Use the topics that people are already thinking about and apply them to your product, service or area of expertise whenever you can.
- Add some personality. Like posting the photos from your employee cookout, this helps people identify with you and feel like you’re somebody they would enjoy working with. Southwest Airlines is famous for this – they produce YouTube videos of retirement parties and other celebrations and really make their customers feel like insiders.
- Show rather than tell. Using examples, tables, graphs, charts, images, and even video is much cheaper than it used to be, and is usually much more effective at demonstrating a product, service or concept than plain old product specification sheets. (Which also have their place, but they can usually be improved upon!)
Building a better product than your competitor has always been the name of the game in business. That has evolved to the point where the name of the game these days is to provide a better solution than your competitor does. And that includes providing better aviation content than your competitor does!.