A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Two Keys to Content Marketing: Be Useful, Be Human

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Be Useful, Be Human.

What does that mean?

The first part – Be Useful – is pretty easy – make sure your content has value for your audience. Sure, it’s nice to let them know about your recent successes, your new product or your new service lines. But you should strive to weave that information into material that is has a better answer to the “What’s in it for them?” question. Don’t write about you. Write about – and for – them.

Ideally, that means actionable information your audience can make use of immediately. At the very least, you want to provide the kind of information they’ll want to file away for the future.

Setting yourself apart as an expert rather than a salesperson or marketer is powerful, too. Content marketing is all about moving beyond that kind of fluff.

The Be Human part is more interesting, and a bit more difficult for some folks to master. You shouldn’t be all business all the time. “Just the facts, ma’am” gets old in a hurry.

Think of it in real world terms. Who do you have the best and most productive relationships with, both personally and professionally? It’s the people you know best. All things being equal – like levels of experience or expertise – the people you turn to when you need to solve a problem or answer a question are the people you are most comfortable with, the ones you know a bit about as a person, the ones, in short, with whom you have a connection.

So while in the strictest sense my degree in philosophy isn’t really important to what I do, it’s something I mention pretty regularly (kinda like I just did …), and it’s on my web bio because it’s one of those interesting factoids that people seem to connect with. (I’d argue that my degree is pretty central to my success in biz, but that’s another story …) Be careful not to share inappropriately or in ways that don’t connect to your overall message. If you can’t tie your love for scuba diving into content that matters to your audience, leave it in your bio.

(By the way, “Be Useful, Be Human” is too good a line for me to have come up with alone. If you’ve seen it before, please let me know where. Searches turned up nothing useful. And apologies in advance.)


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