If you're concerned about coming up with content marketing ideas, your "Eureka!" moment might come from listening to your customer service team.
During WWII, the US government invented a fake spy to fool the Germans. They made up papers, a travel history, and more, hoping the Germans would spend time and money to find him. Alfred Hitchcock heard this story after the war, filed it away in his brain, and then found a use for it years later, making the concept of an imaginary spy a key plot point in the magnificent North by Northwest.
The point is, you never know where creativity comes from. Even creative types aren’t really sure: it’s a hodgepodge of things you hear and see, filtered through your own ideas, experience, and artistry. Even in marketing, ideas can come from anywhere. A good content marketing team needs to find inspiration from a frequently overlooked source: customer service.
Customer service representative talks to clients, handle their problems, and understand their needs better than maybe anyone on your team. They know what customers want, and what drives them. That’s crucial to content marketing, and it is another example of how customer service is a driver of quality marketing.
Part of the problem is that they don’t truly understand what their customer wants, or what they are looking for. A company that provides health care may have a lot of content up about, say, wellness, but might not have a lot up about insurance. That’s partly because they feel that insurance isn’t too much fun to write about, and that more people want to watch videos about healthy eating. And that makes sense.
But in doing this, they don’t fit their own niche. They are offering something valuable, for sure, and wellness-related content should be part of their strategy, but customers aren’t looking just for tips: they are looking for advice and information about insurance. And they probably have some very specific questions and issues.
That’s where customer service comes in.
It’s very possible that their CSRs (whether in-house or contracted through a trusted partner) keep hearing a theme from their clients. Customers may be calling asking about a specific issue, or complaining that their plan is missing something. They might be calling to talk about a deductible, or have questions about finding the right optometrist in their network.
All of this can become content! Knowing that people are going to be searching for optometrists in their area lets you know you should be doing blog posts about eye doctors, explaining how to find the right one, and then leading people to your service. Or the marketing team could make a video about the importance of taking care of your vision (maybe computer-related strain), and lead viewers to sign up.
What they are doing is taking customer-related issues and turning them into content. This does a few things.
Answers questions before they are asked. If people have a clear idea of your service, they won’t misunderstand it. This will save you a lot of confusion and complaints.
Present you as a trusted expert and thought leader. If a potential customer needs information on a subject (in the “Awareness” stage of their journey), and they find you have an infographic or white paper on it, you’ve already entered their mind as a valuable source of information. When they When they enter the Consideration phase, chances are they’ll turn to you. Chances are your information moved them into Consideration.
Demonstrate empathy and understanding. If 10 customers have the same question, chances are another 10 do. Imagine answering the question on your site with an in-depth article or cool chart. If it is there, and someone finds it before they call customer service, you’ve saved time: their’s and yours. And you’ve shown that you actually understand their issues.
Don’t forget that listening to customer service issues solves another huge problem: coming up with ideas for content. 36% of B2B marketers have producing engaging content as biggest challenge. By learning customer pain points, ideas, and stories, you’ve found a whole new avenue for content ideation.
Customer service representatives are the go-between between your content and your client’s needs. It’s where inspiration turns into actual ideas.
At RDI Corporation, we combine the best in progressive and comprehensive digital marketing with proven effectiveness in customer service. Our training, hiring, and execution practices make us complete partners with our clients. Connect with RDI/A or RDI-Connect to learn more, and we invite you to read our white paper, The Perfect Circle: How Customer Service and Marketing Are the Same Thing which discusses even more ways that the two sides can complement and improve each other.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.