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How Content Marketing Can Solve Your Customers' Problems You need to demonstrate your skills on a regular basis, through content that offers solutions.

By Alex Ionides

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Content marketing is all about using content to solve the same problems that your company's products or services solve. It's no longer enough to simply tell people you have great products or services. You also need to demonstrate your skills on a regular basis, through content that offers solutions.

When people talk about content marketing they often say the content needs to show "thought leadership'. But what is that exactly? What is the benefit of thought leadership to the person receiving the content and deciding whether to view it or not? The answer is that thought leadership is about providing value to your audience. As an expert in your space, content marketing is all about using your expertise to solve their problems. It's not about showing off, or putting your knowledge on display for all to see: "Hey, look how much I know. Aren't you impressed?' It's more humble than that, more real.

It's about sharing your knowledge in a way that will help people to feel better, do their jobs better, live their lives better. Can it work for my audience? Of course, it must be relevant to your particular industry -your particular space- but the fact is that content marketing works equally well for any industry. That's because the underlying logic of content marketing does not vary by industry. Your products or services appeal to a group of people -your audience- regardless of its size. Your products or services solve your audience's needs. The content you produce can solve those same needs.

Let's take an example from the UAE healthcare industry: physician X, based in Dubai, specialises in getting people to their optimal health. She has programs for reversing diabetes, for losing weight, for improving cardiovascular health, and so on. What's more, she also sends out regular articles, videos, and podcasts on topics ranging from healthy eating to stress management to staying fit through exercise. By doing this, she is sharing some of the same knowledge that she uses in her patients' programmes. She is building up trust to win new customers and to get more business from existing customers. Quite simply, that is content marketing.

Now the healthcare industry has some advantages when it comes to content marketing. Taking care of our health is something most of us think about frequently, so we're quite open to receiving quality content on that subject. But the fundamentals apply to any industry and any type of company activity- whether B2C or B2B. Essentially, you have an audience of customers and prospects who benefit -or would benefit- from your products or services in some way; and those same people would also benefit from information that addresses the same problems.

Getting the content right

The big challenge is the content creation. I've seen so many companies get it wrong by cutting corners on content quality, and not always due to laziness. Consistently creating strong, valuable content is extremely challenging. The right framework needs to be in place. Whether you work with a content marketing agency, have an in-house team, or some hybrid of the two, you first need a process for arriving at the topics that matter to your audience.

There are many tools available for buzz monitoring and keeping up with your industry- and we'll talk about these in future articles. We love and use all these tools, but one of our favourite techniques is to just sit down with our clients and ask them directly: what problems do your products and services solve? Those solutions become our content topics, and the list is endless- regardless of the industry. In the end it makes economic sense. If you want someone to buy your product or service you'll need to satisfy some sort of need- solve a problem. If you can do that with your products, you can do it with your content. If you can't do it with your content, you might have trouble convincing people that you can do it with your products or services.

Related: Infographic: How To Create Content That Creates Customers

Alex Ionides

Managing Director, Silx

Alex Ionides is Managing Director of Silx, a Dubai-based digital marketing agency. Previously, Alex was General Manager of the Dubai office of global PR company Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and Managing Director of Munich-based marketing agency Threeview. He grew up in Vancouver, Canada, receiving a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mass Communication from Simon Fraser University. In addition to his career in marketing, Alex worked for many years as a journalist in the Middle East. He has lived and worked in the US, Germany, Hong Kong, Egypt, and now Dubai.

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