November 27, 2014

Is Your Content Marketing Me Focused or We Focused?

Lone SurvivorIs your content marketing me-focused or we-focused? If you find your content marketing efforts failing to meet your expectations, the answer to that question may help you understand why. I came across an article by Inc.com contributor, Jeff Haden, which explains why me-focused content pushes readers away while we-focused content pulls them in.

After seeing the movie, Lone Survivor, which details Navy SEAL mission Operation Red Wings, Haden, discussed the movie with Navy SEAL veteran Jeff Boss. As many such interactions do, their conversation took a side step where the two discussed Boss’ new book on leadership. That quickly segued into a discussion about the two different types of SEALs who choose to step out from behind their cloak of secrecy and into the public by writing a book about their experiences.

Boss told Haden that one type of SEAL-turned-writer works from the perspective of ego and writes me-focused material for glory and fame. He says arrogance fuels their writing projects. In the article, Haden quotes Boss as saying, “Me sucks. Ego on display is incredibly off-putting because if you’re that good at something you shouldn’t have to tell anyone – they already know.”

The other type, according to Boss, writes from the perspective of creating value, creating we-focused works. This second type writes with a distinct purpose that clearly does not seek personal glory. He may write because it’s a release or to help others find answers and personal inspiration within the experiences he shares. Marcus Luttrell, author of the Lone Survivor book on which the movie is based, shared his experiences from a we-focused, selfless perspective.

Content Marketing for a Greater Purpose

Does your content come from a me-focused perspective? Are you writing in hopes that everyone will read your work and finally understand how incredible you are and how well you do what you do?

If your content always has an underlying element of self-promotion, no one’s going to truly appreciate it, but you (and maybe your proud mama). Share the lessons you’ve learned by writing about both your victories and your mistakes. Create content that provides solutions to pain that your target audience needs or content that teaches them something new.

An outwardly focused content marketing strategy will create an environment that pulls the audience in, allowing you to build a robust following that engages and promotes your brand for you.

Running a business requires that you lead and that you do it well, if you’re going to succeed. Sometimes the decisions you make might lead to a different outcome than you’d hoped. It doesn’t necessarily mean you made a bad decision; it could be that unexpected circumstances made your well-thought out and proactive decision turn sour. Tell your audience about what you learned from the times when an important decision led to negative repercussions. That story, even though it’s about you, has external value. People can learn from your mistakes and learn about you by gaining some insight into how you dealt with the results.

It takes real courage to step away from yourself and offer high-value content that provides relevant and meaningful insight to your audience. But once you do it, and your audience realizes that you’re looking out for their greater good rather than your own greater glory, you won’t believe the positive momentum that comes from it. Your audience will drive promotion by driving your content (and its valuable insights and solutions) to their networks and beyond.

“The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.” ~Navy SEAL Creed

Set yourself apart from the rest. Be courageous. Be humble. Be generous.

In closing, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mike Murphy, the SEALs who paid the ultimate price, and to Marcus Luttrell for what they’ve done for us. We owe you and everyone who serves a debt that can never ever be repaid. Words are inadequate. Thank you.

 

Photo credit: tactical-life [dot] com

About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.

Comments

  1. Good call on whether or not content marketing is “me focused or we focused.”

    I agree that the best content marketing and writing provides solutions to your target audience’s problems. Of course, sharing your pain means you’ll have to become vulnerable, and I think this is what stops people. Who wants to admit they screwed up? Many don’t because they fear others will laugh at that them. Kick that ‘stinking thinking’ to the curb. When you open up and become vulnerable, you let others in and they can see that you too experienced what they experienced. If you can recover and come out better than ever, so can they.
    Amandah recently posted..Comment on Warning: Your WordPress Blog/Website May Have Been Hacked by Amandah BlackwellMy Profile

    • Hi Amandah,

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. It’s a difficult thing to share one’s own failings, even when the final outcome was victorious. Writing about these things can give a person credibility and cause the audience to see a commonality between them and the writer even when their lives and outward experiences are much different.

      Outside of that, I think it’s important that we, as content producers, provide real solutions or educate the audience with new ideas and knowledge.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing, girlfriend!

      XO

  2. I think the problem with writing me-focused content and basically telling everyone how the sun shines out of your backside is that most readers (me included) will call BS on you.

    Telling the story of how you fell and managed to get back on your feet again, however, is a sure way to induce empathy which in turn builds trust and acceptance.

    Sounds advice for any writer Samantha.

    • Hi Brian,

      First, thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to share.

      I agree that some writers either try to write thinly-veiled self-promotion pieces disguised as valuable, outward-focused content. Others write what I call “page filler” content just so they can say they post consistently X times per week, or whatever.

      Telling stories about mistakes and how you successfully handled the repercussions will always resonate better with the audience. I’m not saying never to self-promote, but my advice is that if you’re going to, make a humorous disclaimer from the get-go about how you’re shamelessly promoting yourself in this particular post, but that you think your readers will appreciate what you have to offer, etc.

      Again, nice to see you here, Brian!

      Samantha

  3. DeniseGabbard says:

    Always, always focus on the customer! I learned that more years ago than I like to admit to while working as a Finance Director at an auto dealership. No one wants to hear you preach– they want to know what you can do to help them!

    Good post! Thanks for sharing, Samantha.
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    • Hi Denise,

      I’m so pleased that you enjoyed it and you’re right — no one wants to hear you preach or toot your own horn. Anyone can do that. It takes a real pro with some meaningful experience to provide solutions and relevant information to the audience.

      I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Samantha

Trackbacks

  1. […] Boss told Haden that one type of SEAL-turned-writer works from the perspective of ego and writes me-focused material for glory and fame. He says arrogance fuels their writing projects. In the article, Haden quotes Boss as …  […]

  2. […] Is your content marketing me-focused or we-focused? If you find your content marketing efforts failing to meet your expectations, the answer to that question may help you understand why. I came acr…  […]

  3. […] one likes to hang out with a person who only talks about himself (or herself). It’s tedious and boring and not a little bit […]

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