In Good Content Marketing, Listening Has Limits

There are some people and companies that never listen. They’d rather admire their own opinions and wax on about their offerings. Those who don’t listen are not charismatic; they’re annoying. And we all agree on that.

A person who is charismatic is a good listener. However, there’s no guarantee that a good listener is charismatic.¹

A lot of content marketing is predicated on the following belief: listening to customers’ problems and answering their questions (another facet of good listening) is what it takes to win hearts, minds, and deals. In reality, something else is needed. As I discussed in my recap of the book The Challenger Sale, it’s not especially compelling when someone is completely other-focused, trying to figure out what it is they want to hear and deliver only that — the old “jump”/”how high?”. Rather, charismatics bring a perspective to the table. After listening, they speak up!

Maggie Jones of Marketo made me think of this during her webinar about corporate blogging. When explaining the 4-1-1 rule to portioning educational content to promotional content, she pointed out that a company that listens is like a good date — polite and attentive to their companion (and likely to get a second date). However, she clarified, at some point in getting to know a person, you have to pause from passively listening and answering questions to communicate a very key message: I have needs, too! You have a product to sell and your own perspective to share, and that’s a good thing. As the proponents of challenger selling argue, prospects appreciate when you inject originality, enriching them with insights of your own that they wouldn’t have the knowledge yet to ask you about. That’s when you can really add value.

[Tweet “Good listening along with sharing a unique perspective: that’s charisma in #contentmarketing.”]

Just as IRL-charismatics experience, focusing on others vs. leading with your own point of view isn’t always an easy balance — but it’s a line that must be walked.

¹To argue that connection would be to commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent.


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