Content Marketing is About Giving – Not Selling

Five minutes with Andrea Edwards, CEO of The Digital Conversationalist

September 30, 2016

Content Marketing is About Giving – Not Selling

Ask a content marketer to define good content and you’ll probably get “customer relevance”, “emotional resonance” and “value” in their answer. But Andrea Edwards, CEO of The Digital Conversationalist in Singapore, suggests that many content marketers in Asia still struggle with creating content that’s truly customer-centric. We sit down with her to find out how a mindset shift to the Giving Economy, as she calls it, could fix this once and for all.

As marketers, it’s our job to promote and sell, yet you talk about giving.

Yes, I believe that we are on the cusp of the Giving Economy. Everything we do online should be about giving, not selling. This matters in content marketing because our fundamental objective is to build long-term relationships. Do it well and sales will naturally follow. I think many content marketers understand this but find it difficult to execute. We claim to create content for the customer, yet so much content is just thinly veiled attempts at selling our brand and our products.

Every time I have this conversation with my clients, I love citing Adobe’s and L’Oreal’s as brilliant examples of content marketing done right. Look at how subtle their own branding is and how the focus is completely on giving and helping the customer. 

So how does the Giving Economy shape the content we produce?

Content marketers like to tackle huge questions like: What’s keeping our customers up at night? In my experience, it helps to go micro. Grab someone from your sales team and ask them what their last customer conversation was about. If a problem bugs one customer, there’s a high chance it bothers 100 other customers too. That makes it worth addressing through content because we’re trying to help them solve real problems. And the best person to create this content is the sales guy you just spoke to.

You’re referring to employee advocacy then?

Employee advocacy is a term that’s been bandied around a lot. Very few companies are at the point where they treasure their employees’ personal brand over the company brand - and they should. People trust people, more than they trust brands.

I truly believe that every professional, whether you’re a content marketer, a salesperson or a senior executive, should be blogging on LinkedIn. If you’re not doing it, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to control your career, demonstrate your expertise and build your credibility. Do it for yourself, and let your company bask in the glow of your personal brand.

Consider last year, where all but one of the new entrants to the Fortune 500 have a social CEO. People now say there are two types of CEOs: social or retired. That’s today’s reality. We all need to get social, and embracing a giving mindset is central to success.

For more insights to help you create a winning content marketing strategy, download The Asia Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.