Way Beyond Blogging: Use Content To Solve Business Problems

"This is too long to read" summary:
Content is more than marketing. You can lower return rates, increase retention rates, and do a lot more than just write blog posts.

Content could be doing a lot more for your business than it is right now.


If I say the word content in the context of sales and marketing, you probably think of blog posts, visual content, social media shares, etc. All with the goal of getting traffic to your site and increasing sales.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of content. I’ve written a lot of it myself, and that approach works. But if that is all you’re doing with content, you are missing out.


Solve problems with content

Free content in all its forms can help draw in and educate buyers, build relationships, and give you a presence on multiple platforms. That allows you to create an audience that will buy the things you sell.

Wonderful. Really. This is absolutely the core of a great content strategy.

But it’s still missing something.

If we broaden our definition of marketing content, we can see new possibilities that extend beyond what we would normally call marketing.

Content can also be used to fulfill specific roles and solve specific problems that plague a business.

  • Set buyer expectations
  • Improve customer retention
  • Provide no-touch customer service
  • Eliminate negative reviews
  • Reduce returns

With just a little thoughtful planning and some time, you can create assets that will solve these issues for you.


Here’s 3 examples of content you could create to make it happen.

Assembly/Install Guides

Should you have one?

If your product arrives in more than one piece, you should really consider writing a good assembly guide AND create a quality video guide on assembly.

Ask yourself:

  • Do customers ask support questions about assembly or installation?
  • Do you get returns for breakage?
  • Is difficult assembly/installation mentioned in buyer reviews?
  • Can you hand it to literally in one in the target market and them assemble it quickly and easily?

What should you do?

A good guide doesn’t mean one of those terrible, computer-translated monstrosities that come with products manufactured in China.

Try to put your product together yourself. Have others do it. Have people in your target market do it. Create a list of steps, potential problems, and indicators of success along the way.

Turn this into a text-AND-visual guide. Make it clean, simple, and easy to understand. Hire a writer to work with you on this one to make sure the end user (the rest of us don’t matter, the people who give you money do) can understand and use the guide.

Take a little bit of time to make something that is actually helpful and speaks for your brand. You only have to put that work in one time, with possible updates based on customer questions and product changes. It’s not a big deal, and it’s worth it.

How do you deliver it?

Some market segments and products will need a printed guide, but some could be just as well served with a delivery-day email containing a digital version of the guide and a link to the video. Posting it as permanent on-site content works too. Knowing that kind of help is available will also boost confidence in those who are considering a purchase.

How does an assembly guide help the business?

Fair question.

  • Show buyers that you still care about them even after you have their credit card information.
  • Reduce returns to difficult or botched assembly
  • Reduce bad reviews, which boosts sales
  • Improve overall customer relationship

By turning what could be customer service problems into opportunities, you can create some awesome content that will reduce costs for the business.

Use guides

Should you have one?

Yes. Almost always, yes. If it’s more complicated than a banana, help your buyers out.

No matter what you’re selling, there are ways that you can help your customers to get better results from it and be happier with their purchase. Any time you have the opportunity to do that, take it. Physical products and software especially benefit from this kind of helpful content.


Beard Brand

When you buy beard oil from Beard Brand, you get a delivery day email with their text AND video guide to how to use it. The guide also lives on their site and shows up as the second result when you search “how to use beard oil”.

So not only are they creating a customer service touchpoint by sending the email with the guide on the day of delivery (genius), they are also creating on-site content that brings buyers to their store by posting content they are already using elsewhere(also genius).

Right off the bat, this seems like a product that would be simple enough not to need a guide. It’s oil, that you rub on your beard. I’m in the target market and kind of intelligent, but as soon as I think of this product, some questions jump out at me:

  • How much do I use?
  • How often?
  • Are there specific ways or times I should apply it?
  • How do I avoid wasting it?
  • What is my overall experience going to be like when I use this?

And every one of those questions is answered in the guide.

What should you do?

  • Compile questions from buyers.
  • Look for conversations between users of your product online and find out what they need help with.
  • Find out if those who are helping others have tips and tricks you hadn’t even thought of.
  • Sit down with people who are actually in your target audience, and have them use your product. Walk through the logical steps of use and ways to get the best results.

Then you turn that into a step-by-step guide. Cover the bases, and revise the guide over time as the product changes or you collect more data on customer needs and questions.

How do you deliver it?

Just like with assembly guides, you’ve got several options:

The guide should definitely live on your website as traffic-drawing content. You could also send a print copy with physical products, a digital copy via email, and make a short video.

Exactly how you put it into the hands of your buyers is best left up to them. Survey your buyers and ask how they’d like to receive it, or look at your demographics and do some research into what types of content they’re consuming.

How does a use guide help the business?

  • Sets buyer expectations
  • Give buyers a better result and experience with your product.
    • Creates repeat buyers
    • Creates brand evangelists
  • Gives you educational content to share online.
  • Builds trust and understanding in your product for potential buyers.
  • Reduces returns and negative reviews.

Value adds

What is it?

Any kind of free content that improves customer experience and the usefulness of what you sell beyond a basic use guide.

What you are looking to do here is to help your customer get the absolute most benefit and enjoyment out of your products. Unlike assembly and use guides, this doesn’t have to strictly focus on the product itself.


Tumbleweed Tiny Homes

Tumbleweed sells tiny homes: High quality, mobile, minimalist housing.

They have two target audiences:

  1. People who want to own these homes and use them for adventure, travel, or low cost living.
  2. People who want to buy one, park it in a tourist destination, and let it make them money. 

The Tumbleweed blog serves up free content for both of these audiences.

  • For folks who want to live in one, they can read about destination spots, appliances and fixtures that work best in their homes, guides for who and what each of their models will work best for, and overall how to get the best use of it that they can. 
  • For those who see the tiny homes as a business opportunity, they help them make the most of their investment. Where should you place your home, how to stock and outfit them, how to advertise.

Should you give away free value-adds?

Absolutely, yes. Anyone selling to consumers can profit by being informative, helpful, and friendly to their buyers.

Kitchen Appliances often come with free recipe books and technique guides. Hell, I’ve bought bottles of whiskey with a recipe for an Old Fashioned on the label.

What should you do?

This kind of content is accrued over time more than others.

Talk to your buyers. Think about what they know that you haven’t thought about. Ask what they wish they had known when they first bought from you. Find unexpected ways that people use your product. Encourage sharing between buyers on social media and in other arenas.

Collect this information and turn it into content that will enhance their experience. Give it to them in whatever format is appropriate.

How do you deliver it?

Any way you want to that makes sense for your business and your customers.

  • Email list fodder
  • Forums for your customers to interact and discuss
  • Blog posts
  • Social Media content
  • Books (Paid or free)
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Interactive tools on your website

You’ll notice that all of these also serve the bonus of spreading your marketing message. SO even while you’re helping out people who have already paid you, you’re creating assets that draw in more new buyers.

How does this content help the business?

It accomplishes the most important thing a business can achieve. It gives your buyers a reason to love your products, interact with your business, and tell others about how awesome you are.


Should you go outside the box with your content efforts?

Only if you want to make your business stronger, more profitable, and more sustainable long-term.

Taking the idea of what can be achieved with “content” beyond what everyone else is doing can elevate you in the eyes of your buyers. At the same time, it can eliminate some of the problems that you, as a business owner face every day.

That kind of behind-the-scenes, high-level care and planning is what gives your buyers a great experience, and that’s what they’ll remember about you long after they’ve bought from you. It’s the same attention to detail will lessen your load of headaches and let you sleep better at night.

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[…] Be proactive in customer service, offering content that helps them use your product or adds value to their lives. […]

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