And they’re probably NOT what you’re thinking…
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by repeating the obvious reasons why you need to create content online. You know the ones I mean – it builds authority (check)…it’s good for SEO (check)…it establishes trust (check).
You already know all that. And they’re perfectly valid reasons for creating content online. But there are a couple more reasons for creating online content which you might not have heard before. They’re not so much about building trust…in fact you might even go as far as saying that these reasons are a bit underhand. A tad manipulative.
And in a way you’re right. These reasons are to do with the art of persuasion and how creating helpful online content makes use of some common psychological triggers that master copywriters have been using for decades.
But by understanding why creating content directly helps move your clients towards buying, you’ll feel a renewed sense of motivation and purpose, when you’re struggling with writer’s block and feel like throwing your laptop against a wall.
Because, let’s face it, it’s nigh on impossible to muster the strength to publish a blog and grapple with the Google algorithm when your main rivals for the number 1 search spot are Forbes or the Huffington Post. It’s simply not a battle worth fighting.
So if you need a couple more compelling reasons to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) here are the real reasons why you need to create content online:
People only buy when they feel acute pain
No, I’m not just talking about the healthcare industry (although it’s a good sector to use to illustrate the point as you’ll see a bit later on in this article).
This applies to every product or service you ever buy. In any niche, its extremely difficult to sell anything if you’re pitching it as a preventative.
It can be done, but it’s a tough sell.
Legendary Copywriter, Joseph Sugarman puts it like this,
“The key to successfully marketing certain products lies in the way that product is viewed in the marketplace. The guiding principle can be summed up very clearly: Always sell the cure and avoid selling prevention.”
Here’s an example – How many times has your mum told you to eat more oranges and keep a stockpile of vitamin C tablets in your medicine cabinet to stop you from catching a cold? Loads of times, right?
You know the science…and logic would suggest that buying those vitamins would be the sensible, rational thing to do. And yet, you rarely follow your dear old mum’s advice – because it’s human nature to think we’re invincible. It’s not until your husband comes home, with a stinking cold he picked up from the office, that you decide to hot-foot down to the shops to stock up on multi-vitamins, echinacea tea, night nurse and 5 kilos of oranges.
The threat suddenly got real. And those vitamins went from preventative measure to cure for a very real problem you’re facing right now. So you suddenly feel pretty damn motivated to buy anything that’s going to save you from the impending snot invasion.
So what does this have to do with creating online content?
As a business owner, your challenge is to turn your product or service from something that might be helpful at some point in the future into a cure for a specific and immediate pain point. Something your potential client needs to resolve now because it feels like a tangible problem in this very moment.
Your content can do that. Here’s how:
Publishing awareness content helps to bring the issue you can resolve into your client’s consciousness. Without it, they might never know it even existed. It was never a threat to their health, success, wealth or sense of belonging because they didn’t even know it was a A Thing. But your content can make a it A Thing.
Over a period of days, weeks or months, you can plant a seed that agitates the problem you solve in the mind of your clients. (Obviously don’t go round making up problems and threats that don’t exist because that would be unethical and pretty darn horrible.) And they’ll start to realise that they:
a) Have the problem already and it’s costing them big time…or…
b) Are at risk of the problem and know what it could cost them if they don’t fix it
At this point it’s much easier to offer your solution because it’s front of your client’s mind and it feels like a very real concern. And because you’ve been their guide up to this point, you’ll be well-positioned to provide the solution.
Reciprocity is a really strong motivator
People are naturally wired to behave in a way that allows them to fit in to a group. And a big part of fitting in and being sociable is to give back as much as you take.
It goes back to our caveman days when being part of a group was the only thing that could save you from unexpected tiger attacks.
This need for social balance is hard-wired in to your brain and creates a powerful trigger when anyone gives you something for free.
Think of a time when someone you overlooked at Christmas bought you a gift. It doesn’t matter how small the gift – you feel wracked with guilt. And it feels awful, doesn’t it? You naturally feel obliged to repay the gift. Perhaps you might casually pop round with a bottle of bubbly. Anything to level the gift-giving scale and get rid of that horrible feeling of guilt and imbalance!
Creating helpful content online is a way to tap into our most human urge to remove any feeling of debt we have to others. If you turn up consistently, and help people with valuable insights and guidance, it naturally creates a subconscious feeling of obligation and gratitude in your audience.
According to the American Writers and Artists Inc,
” When you get your prospect to think, ‘Gee, I didn’t know that,’ you’re actually sinking in the hook. On a subconscious level he feels he’s been given something for free – and he feels gratitude. That makes him more likely to respond to your offers, or at least to keep reading.”
They won’t even realise it, but on some level most people will feel like they owe you something in return for all the free advice and wisdom. It might not be enough to motivate your content consumers to buy from you short-term but that feeling of debt might manifest itself in kind comments on social media, or recommendations to friends.
All these mini favours you’re building up in the debt bank will start to add up over time…and this will only grow as your audience gets bigger and you help more and more people.
So there you have it, it’s not all about slogging away to slowly build up trust and Google page rankings over time. Content creation can actually trigger something in the mind of your potential clients, which is powerful enough to move them to take positive action.
If you’ve been feeling deflated about the amount of effort you’re putting in and you’re not sure about when or how you’re going to see a return – remember that every piece of content you create is planting a seed in your reader’s mind and adding to your favour bank. Eventually you’ll hit a magic tipping point, which will result in that all-important sale…and it might not take as long as you think!