Of Racquetball and Content Marketing

racquetball and content

On The Court

I like to play racquetball. For purposes of full disclosure, I’m not good at racquetball. I think I’ve won only once in my career, and it was possible my opponent had the flu. I regularly find myself being beaten by the 74-year-old man at the local YMCA that’s had at least 2 knees and 1 hip replaced.

But in spite of all of that, I still like to play racquetball. My lack of talent and inability to control the ball makes it great exercise. I’m constantly running around chasing my opponent’s shots.

I tell you all of this, to give you a little background on what I intended to discuss in this post. Recently my son “misplaced” my racquetball racquet. My first and only racquet had been purchased at a large retailer famous for low prices and the quality that accompanies those prices. Given that I was now without a market, I thought to myself, no problem, I’ll hop online and order a replacement. Typically I can sort through user reviews on Amazon.com and make an informed decision, but it was clear after a few minutes of reading that I was in over my head.

Searching for Education

Never before in my vast experience of online shopping had a I seen a product that was so polarized. Every racquet I looked at in my price range was about 50% excellent reviews and 50% awful reviews. It became clear to me that there were other factors at work, and a good racquet was not going to be a one sized fits all product. The spec sheet alone reminded me of a Latin class I spent 3 days in during college before I gave up.

So I turned to my friend Google for a search on how to choose a racquetball racquet. The first hit after the sponsored posts was a site called Racquetball Warehouse. Their site is completely built around their buyer’s guide.

Racquetball Education

Content Marketing is King

If you’ve been involved in marketing anything within the past 5 years you’ve probably heard of a tactic called content marketing. It’s usually presented as creating colorful snippets of information on infographics, r beautiful imagery used to drive a point home. But content marketing comes in many different forms.

So how important has content marketing become? 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and that they are also more likely to buy from that company.

Back to my racquetball experience, when I arrived at this guide, I knew literally nothing about racquetball racquets, and how they are measured, balanced, or sized. After spending about 10 minutes sifting through the buyer’s guide. I knew exactly what I was looking for. The best part of their strategy was that the entire time I was working through this guide, I was never once shown an actual racquet.

I had spent 10 minutes on a website, not looked at a single product, but I had determined exactly what I needed. So where do I go now that I’m ready to buy, well I head over to the store section. Every racquet had the information presented in a format that matched up with the guide I had just read. I knew I was looking for a racquet that was balanced towards the handle, and had a moderate swing weight. (All that is technical jargon for this racquet is good for people that don’t play very well.)

Effective Marketing at Work

The next thing I did was unheard of for me. I purchased the racquet I found that fit all my requirements and was within the budget I had set when starting the project. I didn’t even price shop the site. They had provided me exactly what I wanted, and had taken the extra effort necessary to educate me. They deserved it in my book.

When you start developing content to market your business or when reviewing your current content ask yourself, is the content educating or is it selling? People want to be educated, they want to feel like they are making the best possible decision when they purchase a product, but as soon as they feel they are being sold, they throw up their defenses. Even if you only have one product to sell, don’t present that as a solution to the needs of the client. Instead, let them draw the conclusion that you are the solution.

To answer the question I know you’re all asking. After my new racquet came in, my old racquet magically surfaced. My son “found” it. He brought it to me one afternoon and said, “Dad, since you have that new racquet… can I have this one?”

And no, I still haven’t won any more racquetball games, but I have noticed I have much more control.

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