Thanks to for insights on the winds of change in the online marketing world. Lee Odden suggests that marketers need to shift their efforts from providing features and benefits about their products and services in hopes of getting new customers.  The current thinking is that you should focus on what the customer wants and needs and find ways to be there when they are ready for you.

Here are some ideas he offers up for creating content marketing and social media engagement opportunity:

1. Imagine your ideal customer by identifying their preferences for content discovery, consumption and sharing. What are their pain points, what situations would drive their need to buy your solution? Using this information, create a Social & Content Marketing strategy.

2. Audit your existing content to incorporate the information customers really need to: buy, use & recommend your products/services.

3. Go to Customer Service and Sales people within your company with to find out what are the most common questions customers ask. Develop a creative strategy to answer those questions with content and media online, on an ongoing basis. Create an editorial plan that will help you manage creation, optimization, promotion and measurement of this customer-centric content.

4. Use real-time and social media monitoring toolsto identify questions being asked about topics of interest for your target audience and products/services mix.  Try using a query on, Quora and Facebook for topic ideas and engagement opportunities.

5. Request content from active customers and fans by presenting challenges or requests for opinion and information on relevant topics from your social networks and customers to create new content shared with the community. Recognize contributions publicly to reinforce participation and sharing behaviors. Find ways for fans to participate in a way that meets their needs.

The bottom line is to build trust with your customers by focusing on what they need rather than what you can give them.  Read more by visiting

Marnie headshot is an SEO copywriter, author and online marketer. She works with small and medium-sized businesses to develop their marketing and communications and expand their customer base.

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