Having been involved in content marketing since it first emerged as a strategy, the one thing I hear more than anything is that companies find it hard to keep creating shareable content and stories that they think their target audience will find interesting.

They spend a lot of time and resources looking for golden nuggets. But does finding and creating great content need to be so hard? Actually, it's all around you, you just need to recognize it. Everyone's busy, but don't overlook that there's great stories to be told every day in your business, purely by the way you do business and by the service you provide to your customers

Stop and look around you.

I recently had a conversation with a construction company owner, who told me how hard it was to keep talking about his business in his marketing activities. He was struggling to find stories that were of interest to his audience, he said. In almost the next breath though he told me how he was soon to be taking on six new apprentices to work on cutting-edge energy efficient construction projects. To him, taking on those staff was just part of the day job to meet the needs of his business. To me, that's content marketing gold.

Expanding the business, creating opportunities for young people, working on emerging technology in a vitally important sector. That's a blog, social media content, a press release and a case study all waiting to happen.

And there will be something in your business, I guarantee it, that will be unique to your competitors and worth talking about. Something that makes your business more human,  shows it to be more in touch with customers, more innovative, more concerned about the environment -- whatever it may be, have a look around you and you'll find it.

Get your customers talking.

Delivering great customer service and delighting your customers is just as likely to become a shareable story as taking on six new staff. The powerful difference, though, is that it will be your customer telling the story.

Not too long ago I chatted with content marketing and social media marketing guru Jay Baer. Jay made the brilliant point that if we truly treat a customer well, they can't help but share that experience. They tell their friends, their family, and their colleagues. Surprising and delighting our customers isn't a strategy that we can sit and devise, it comes purely through delivering each and every time. And that's particularly true when it comes to handling complaints.

Don't ignore the haters.

One-third of complaints go unanswered. That's a crazy state of affairs when you consider how much customer service now takes place in public. Jay says that "customer service is now a spectator sport" because so many people take to social channels to publicly complain about poor service they've received.

How a business responds to the complaint is crucial. It's not about the speed of response, as important as that is -- it's about the response itself. Letting a complaint go unanswered is unforgivable. Jay has done research that shows that customers that have a complaint that is successfully resolved are more loyal that customers who never have a complaint at all. And even if the complaint can't be resolved, the fact that there was a response goes a long way to keeping a customer on board. That's especially true when the complaint is dealt with in an empathetic manner, with one-to-one communication, and a human touch.

Every channel matters.

A complaint is an opportunity to retain a customer and potentially a chance to win new customers too. Don't ignore that bad review on a website. Respond to it, address it, show that you care. You'll impress more people than the initial complaint will upset. Answer everybody across every channel that you have. Ignoring them is the best way to say goodbye to them, and your ignorance will be seen and remembered by people thinking about doing business with you, too.

So, don't look too far for those golden nuggets to share in your marketing. Take a look at how you can deliver better and better service, don't ignore any complaints, and turn your customers into advocates that will shout from the rooftops about their great experiences  doing business with you. There's nothing more powerful.

Published on: Oct 26, 2017