How being helpful can propel your business forward

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Bob Burg on the Business Storytelling PodcastBeing helpful can help us build better brands, drive more results and keep customers on our side longer and maybe even forever. Certainly, we have to have a good product but being helpful is a real differentiator. So how can we be more helpful when it comes to doing what’s good for our target audiences?

One thing is to give to the community. This is a topic I discussed with Bob Burg on this episode of the Business Storytelling Podcast. He also wrote the book “The Go-Giver” on the topic.

Certainly, giving doesn’t mean we have to say yes to everything, but the concept of being helpful and giving value to your audience shouldn’t come as a surprise to content marketers.

Being part of your community

It’s important to understand your customers. What problems do they have? How can you help them? Arvid Kahl wrote “The Embedded Entrepreneur” to explain the concept. He joined me on the podcast as well.

Find your organization’s content sweet spot

One way to be helpful also includes creating content that is actually useful to your audience.

Mael Roth and I discussed the importance of deep and valuable content on this episode of the Business Storytelling Podcast.

That of course means that we produce content for a number of reasons, including:

  • SEO
  • Conversion
  • Awareness
  • Etc.

[Tweet “”Always write for humans.” – @ctrappe”]

We want to convert people to buy from us, and that means that we also need to share content and campaigns that actually interest them and that are beneficial to them. Couple that with the fact that just three percent of audience members are ready to buy, it’s easy to remember that it’s a numbers game. Of course, we want to engage the other 97 percent as well so we are top of mind when they are ready to buy.

Read next: Stories spread when others share them [EXAMPLES]

Conversions are what keep the lights on. If nobody buys anything from us, we aren’t running a business, but probably something closer to a hobby.

[Tweet “”Conversions are important, but they aren’t the only thing.” – @ctrappe #digitalmarketing”]

But, if we only sell, sell, sell, that can present a problem as well. The trick is to sell at the right time and just often enough.

Kate Bradley Chernis shared on this livestream the importance of building relationships without annoying sales tactics.

Being nice and the ramp-up

Content and (digital) experiences that are mutually beneficial are most likely to build long-term relationships and help us move forward as businesses, organizations, and brands.

Content that stays in that zone is relevant but also converts when it counts most for all involved

And of course, depending on the age of your brand or product there’s a ramp-up period, as Casey Stanton shared on this episode of the Business Storytelling Podcast.

And then we have the reality that being helpful can help our brands long-term and make them loveable. David Yarde joined me on this livestream of the Business Storytelling Podcast to discuss why being helpful is part of being loved as a brand and how any brand can implement this.

Personal perceptions

Whether it’s internally or externally sometimes we need to get buy-in for whatever it is we are selling. That could be a new process, product, or service.

Bob Burg’s Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion is an insightful read that I would suggest to storytellers, content marketers, and others who interact with people in situations that can potentially be less than positive.

Bob does a masterful job explaining how all of us live our lives and see things around us based on our personal beliefs. Most of us don’t know we are doing this. With that in mind, marketers can learn in “Adversaries into Allies” how our own belief systems can impact how we see things. Understanding our and other people’s beliefs systems can help us gather and tell better stories. Our audiences and the people we interview will appreciate it.

Bob discusses how belief systems clash, and how we often don’t even know they are clashing. We just feel the stress of conflict. He gives simple examples to bring this point home:

Two people discussed whether or not a house was near the ocean. The home, seven miles from the ocean, was near the ocean by the Midwesterner’s definition. But that didn’t hold up to the definition of near the ocean of the person who lived two blocks from the ocean.

The key to clashing belief systems – and this is important to people gathering content through interviews of others – is to spot potential discrepancies and ask follow-up questions. “What do you mean by ‘near the ocean’?”

Setting the frame

Bob also talks about setting the frame for situations. For example, the two-year-old who falls, but is OK, looks at his parents to see if this is a bad or OK situation. If they laugh, he laughs. If they are panicked, he’ll probably cry. It’s about setting the frame for the situation, Bob says.

Something to keep in mind for our next campaign and in our attempt to be helpful to our audiences.


At the end of the day, the foundation of useful content marketing that drives long-term results does come back to being helpful and creating content that engages and connects people to our brands as advocates and customers.

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