Pain Relief: Your Prescription for Highly Effective Online Marketing

Erin Pheil
Erin Pheil Owner, Timeforcake Web Strategy & Marketing

Posted on October 15th 2012

Pain Relief: Your Prescription for  Highly Effective Online Marketing

What's the Point?

The point of content marketing is to deliver useful information to engage a prospect and, at some point in the cycle, foster brand loyalty and (of course) drive sales.

Unfortunately, the ambition to create a robust and steady stream of content frequently gets in the way of sound strategy. Simply put, too many content creators just guess at what the content should cover.

It's often too self-centered, and dare I say, self-indulgent.

Disciplined content marketers are 100% committed to helping targeted factions of potential customers solve problems. They remind themselves of the most common starting point: the search engine. What did the information seeker enter in the search field? In one form or another, they described or alluded to a problem—a pain point.

Did you catch that?  

It's critical you keep this in mind when planning and writing your content: buyers' search terms trace back to something those buyers believe they need. Something causing real stress.  Something causing some form of pain.

Tell me a story...

Content marketers claim their job is to tell stories. Andif you're looking to become a wildly successful content marketer, you're going to need to approach content from the mindset that:

  1. your customers are always the main characters,
  2. their pain points are the villain, and
  3. if the story is to have a happy ending, it's you, the content marketer, who is the hero that can offer the solution that saves the day.

The power to nail it, to really pull someone into your stories, comes from relating to that person by understanding what's bothering them. You need to know why and how they hurt.

“People will do more to avoid pain than they
will to gain pleasure.”

~ Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within

It Sounds Mean, but Consider Pouring a Bit of Salt Into Their Wounds.

Counter-intuitive? Nope.

Your story might as well sting. If it makes sense to get into how a little itch can become dreadfully crippling, go for it.

pain reliefRecreate the pain. Add a little sting.  Because...

You make them relive the pain. 
Then you come in and offer to relieve the pain.

I strongly believe I'm doing you a favor by asking you to run with this strategy.

Ask yourself, why would your site's main pages or your campaign's landing pages avoid speaking to your customers' pain points?  After all, people want medicine when they're sick and tired of the condition they're in.

(And you're not unintentionally pushing potential customers away from your site, right?)

Tell them you understand.

Recount instances where you've seen the same troublesome condition.

Remind them how poorly problems age.

Finally, tell them the doctor will see you now, and the good doctor will prescribe the right remedy. (And of course, your solution really does need to solve their pain—or all your content marketing work goes right out the window.)

And for today, that's your small dose of medicine for highly effective content marketing.

(Not enough for today? Care for more? If you'd like to learn more about how content determines whether you generate sales or send customers away, make sure you download our free Strategic Copywriting Report.)

Erin Pheil

Erin Pheil

Owner, Timeforcake Web Strategy & Marketing

Lovely to meet you. My name is Erin Pheil (pronounced "file") and I'm the owner of Timeforcake Creative Media. Founded in 2002, timeforcake is a results-driven boutique web design, development and strategy company located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

I love meeting new people, potential collaborators, and new colleagues with whom we can collaborate and partner. So follow me on Twitter or Facebook and say hello/introduce yourself, won't you?

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Posted on October 15th 2012 at 11:51PM


Well done. Those are very cool insights and tips, however painful they might be. Any insights into how to best discover what pains people? Being a content marketer, I get Qs like this often, so I'm trying to develope a series of good answers.