Zig Ziglar is famous for saying…
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Well, the more I think about it, I think that could very well be the main secret of effective content marketing.
I’ll explain more what I mean in a minute.
I’ll also reveal to you the surprising way this idea is tied to “Small Business Saturday.”
But first, I want you to hear this powerful story I heard that reveals what I’m talking about.
Two Young Doctors And A Lesson In The Power Of Focusing On Others
In the spring of 1883 two young men graduated from the same medical school.
The two were very different from each other both in their appearance and in their goals.
One of the young men was named Ben. He was short and stocky.
The other one’s name was Will. He was tall and thin.
But remember they didn’t just differ in appearance.
They had different ambitions.
Ben dreamed of practicing medicine on the East Coast.
Will didn’t care for that idea. He wanted to work in a rural community.
Ben begged his friend Will to go with him to New York.
He told Will that if they went, they could both make a fortune.
Will wasn’t interested. He refused.
Ben couldn’t understand why he’d want to start a practice in the Midwest and he called Will a fool.
Will told Ben, “I want first to be a great surgeon…the very best, if I have the ability.”
I don’t know what happened to Ben, but I can tell you what happened to Will.
Years later the wealthy and powerful came from around the world to be treated by Will at his clinic.
Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Will Mayo’s clinic is today called the Mayo Clinic.
The Main Secret Of All Effective Content Marketing
Will Mayo’s desire was to help others, not just himself and that led to many being attracted to his work.
That is the main secret of all effective content marketing!
It’s content that is focused on helping others.
That’s the kind of content people want, they share, and that will endear them to you.
If you create content focused on yourself, you might as well just write it in a private journal somewhere, because no one else is going to want to see it.
I can teach you how to create engaging content, but I can’t choose the topics or the focus of your content.
Only YOU can do that.
If you create content focused on helping others, then you’ll leave them thankful that they’ve come across you. And they’ll reciprocate that thankfulness by sharing your content with others.
But if you focus your content only on yourself and your business, then you’ll leave them wishing they could get back the time they just wasted consuming your content.
And if they even bother to spread the word about you, it won’t be to share your content.
It will be to warn others not to waste their time.
NOTE: This post is featured in my book “51 Content Marketing Hacks”. If you liked this post, you’ll probably like the book. You can learn more about it here.
What This Secret Has To Do With “Small Business Saturday”
Have you heard of “Small Business Saturday”?
If you haven’t heard of it, then let me give you a short explanation…
Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday that’s held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 24th this year).
It hasn’t been around very long.
It was only first celebrated two years ago on November 27, 2010.
It’s basically a take-off of the concepts of “Black Friday” (encouraging retail spending) and Cyber Monday (encouraging e-commerce).
Instead, Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop at their small, local brick and mortar businesses.
So what does this have to do with the main secret of effective content marketing?
It’s proof that focusing content on helping others works.
Why do say that?
Because of how “Small Business Saturday” got started.
You see, its origins might surprise you.
The origins of “Small Business Saturday” from Wikipedia:
“In 2010 the holiday was conceived and promoted by American Express via a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign. That year Amex bought advertising inventory on Facebook, which it in turn gave to its small merchant account holders, and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.“
Did you catch that?
“Small Business Saturday” was originally conceived and promoted by American Express!
They came up with the brilliant idea to help small business owners in this way (wish I did!) and then got others to promote it!
The Result For Small Business Owners?
Last year, over one hundred million people* came together to Shop Small® in their communities on Small Business Saturday®.
The Results For American Express?
They have 3.1 millon “likes“ on their “Small Business Saturday” Facebook page.
They received tens of thousands of tweets under their #smallbusinesssaturday hashtag.
Are their motives in doing this purely to help others?
I honestly don’t have any clue.
But even if they’re not purely to help others, their motives at least include others!
And the content they have created and that they’ve encouraged others to create (tweets, likes, articles, and posts like this one) have all had MUCH more influence and inertia than if they only created content about themselves.
Examples Of Content Marketing Focused On Others From American Express
Check out all the types of content they’ve created for this on their site:
- They provide an explanation of what “Small Business Saturday.”
- They have a section to help small business owners promote their business.
- They have a section on how to rally support in your community.
- They include a map with qualifying small businesses in your area.
- They provide editable tweets, posts, and emails that can be used to spread the word.
- They provide videos that explain what it is, give case studies, and more.
- And mixed in with all of that content are offers from Amex