Take a Taylor Swift approach to compelling content

Her lyrics draw her listeners in, making them central to the storyline. That’s what you can do with your brand marketing efforts. Just follow three steps.

I am a huge Taylor Swift fan. OK, granted, I’m not a huge fan of a lot of her music, but I am a fan of how she connects with her fans.

Like many successful rock stars, Swift purposefully seeks out her most passionate fans and creates amazing experiences for them. She endlessly shows her fans that she appreciates and, yes, even loves them.

The key to Swift’s success is that her fans can relate to her music. A lot of Swift’s songs are autobiographical, focusing on her life and her loves as a teenager. So, is it any wonder that teenage girls across the world absolutely adore her?

When they listen to Swift’s music, they can relate to her songs because they have had the same experiences. They hear Swift’s songs and think, “That sounds like what I went through!”

We gravitate toward content in which we can see ourselves

Swift’s music is so beloved by her fans because they can see themselves being the person that Swift is singing about. That makes it much easier to relate to and connect with Swift. So how do you apply this to your brand’s content marketing efforts, especially if your fans aren’t teenage girls?

You do the exact same thing Swift does: You create content that’s written from the point of view of your intended audience.

First, figure out why customers are buying your product. What are they using it for? Kathy Sierra calls this finding “the Bigger, Cooler Thing that your product is a part of.” For example, people buy cameras because they want to take better pictures. They don’t want better cameras, they want to be a better photographer. Create content that addresses the reason why they want to buy your product (in this example, to take better pictures).

If you can’t figure out what the Bigger Idea is behind your product, here are some places to start looking:

1. Online reviews

Brand reps typically hate any review that includes criticism of the product, but these reviews can be the most valuable. I’ve heard from many top brand marketers that 4-star ratings are often more valuable to them than 5-star ratings because they include a reason why they didn’t give the product a 5-star rating.

Product reviews give you very valuable insights into how your customers are using your products, and how they fit into your customers’ lives.

2. Customer feedback online

This can come in many places, such as blogs, Twitter, message boards, etc. Yes, you may find some complaints that are hard to read, but again, these customers will give you useful insights into how they are using your products.

They might mention a feature that they wish the product had, or another feature that they use that you didn’t realize would be so valuable to them.

3. Offline communication from customers

Yes, I said offline. Ask your customer service reps what trends they are seeing in phone calls and letters from consumers. This not only helps you further understand your audience, but it also lets you see if the feedback you are receiving from customers online significantly differs from the feedback you receive from those offline.

Doing so also trains your customer service people to look for feedback. The more insights they can give you about what your customers like and dislike about your product and brand, the better you can satisfy those customers.

Once you have an idea of how customers are using your products, you should create content that addresses those needs. As Marcus Sheridan says, a great place to start is by answering customer questions. Address their problems and concerns.

By switching the focus of your content from the product to the customers who are actually using the product, you are making it more relevant to them. You are making it easier for your customers to relate to your content and see themselves in it. This means they are more likely to enjoy your content and become fans of your brand.

Mack Collier is a social media strategist and author of the forthcoming business book Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans. A version of this article first appeared on Convince & Convert.

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