It may sound crazy, but I think my dog is crushing it with content marketing.
His goal is the same as mine: audience engagement. He can only speak through action: sit, down, fetch, bark and wag. Whether these signals are learned or natural, he’s figured out how to engage people with them in a powerful way.
A Short Success Story
Today, I was getting set for our daily jog, but he wanted attention. He likes a good neck massage, enough to interrupt people to try and get one. His usual tactic is to sit an inch away from me while I’m putting on my shoes. He looks me in the eye, and wags his tail, which is more of a full-body wiggle, really. Most days this gets him what he wants.
Well today I ignored him. At least I tried to.
He wagged. He crowded me. He pawed my arm. I firmly looked away. He finally left.
When he’s feeling impish, he goes for his red ball. It’s his favorite toy. It’s bouncy, lopsided and careens wildly when dropped. Most of the time it sits idle on the floor. But when he needs to blow off steam, he’ll pounce on it, chomp and toss it, and go lunging for the rebound. If you throw it, he won’t give it back. He plays fetch with himself.
Still intending to ignore him, I bent to tie my shoes. He and his bouncing red ball tumbled into the room. It was impossible to overlook. I could not resist turning to see his antics with a smile. As the ball wobbled off, he looked me in the eye, sat right down and wagged with gusto. And he finally got what he wanted.
A Key to Success With Content Marketing: Happiness
Dog: 1; Jogger: 0. Of course, he’s not doing content marketing. He’s a dog. He is just doing what dogs do. But as a content marketing fanatic, I’m inspired by his success with such limited resources. With very little, he can often turn fortified resistance into friendly accord.
If he wanted just any kind of attention, he could have pawed harder or barked. But that usually gets him a scolding. Instead, he found out how to turn one person’s hard “no” into a soft “yes.” There must be something we humans can learn from his positive persistence and win rate.
A Doggone Successful Content Marketing Strategy
If my dog were a business, he’d be a runaway success. His winning content marketing strategy would look something like this.
Mission: Get the person to do what I want, without working too hard.
Persona: My human is always busy. It is hard to get her to see me. She has to look at me and be happy to give me what I want. Her food smells wonderful. She gives good neck rubs. She likes no barking. She likes the tail wagging. Sitting is good. And the red ball gets noticed.
Desired Interaction: A neck rub.
Available Media: The present moment, the visible area, the red ball.
Messages: All behaviors. Silence. Eye contact. Sitting. Wagging. Pawing. Playing. Fetching the ball.
The Neck Massage Engagement Workflow:
- Go where the eyes are looking. Sit. Wag. Watch the eyes. If they look up, wag more. If they do not, use the paw.
- If there’s still no response, sit back and wag. Look at the eyes.
- If the eyes do not look up, find the ball. Fetch it. Toss it. Bounce it. Roll it toward her. Sit. Wag. Keep it fun. Play until she looks up. Wag, wag, wag!
This workflow has a very high conversion rate. He gets what he wants probably 95% of the time. I don’t know how often he must go all the way to ball fetching to succeed. Sometimes just seeing him wagging within arm’s reach is all it takes.
Minimum Viable Content Marketing in 3 Parts
Given how successful my dog is with such a severely limited vocabulary, maybe he’s onto something – the Minimum Viable Content Marketing Strategy.
1) Know what simple things make your audience happy:
- Take the time to create a persona. You know what pleases the people you want to do business with. You know how you want them to treat you and what else competes for their attention. Briefly note your strengths when it comes to attracting positive notice. This is low-cost leverage you can use.
- Know which outputs you can make easily and often. Know what takes more work. Call on them in that order.
- Think small. It may not take much to get the desired attention. Notice what little things bring happiness.
2) Know where to show up, and show up often
- Express yourself in ways that come easily to you and learn to control them well.
- Position output where your people are looking, even if they are looking at other things.
- Send outputs frequently. Enjoy making and sending things out as best you can.
- Watch for the reaction you are looking for. Reward it.
3) Make getting the desired outcome as easy for both of you as possible
- Start with the outputs that take less work from you. If small efforts don’t work, try the next bigger one.
- Make it easy for the person to give you what you want – keep showing up; keep doing what you can do.
You do not need fancy content. What matters is that your people are glad to experience what you can give.
I believe the best content marketing happens when you enjoy creating and posting what engages the people whose attention you want.
The world is full of good lessons in content marketing. Of course, education and experience matter a lot. But there are valuable working examples all around us. Be willing to start with small actions designed simply to please the people you serve. Think tweets and retweets, sharing a colleague’s work, liking and commenting. Whatever you can do, the important thing is to start. Pick a business goal, find some signals you can keep going, and build from there.
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