A common piece of business advice is to sell what your market wants, not what they need. The same applies when you create content designed to attract prospects in your marketplace.

Content designed to meet and appeal to wants rather than needs engages more effectively, is shared more readily and will achieve greater results for your business.

What do I mean by this?

Think about it.

Let’s say it’s tax time again and you need advice or information about filling in the relevant forms for the tax authorities. This is your basic need.

You search around on Google and see a myriad of results that may provide what you’re looking for.

It’s at this point that your wants come into play, and they operate at a deeper level.

For example:

  • You want the information to be attractive and easy to read or follow…
  • You want information you can easily understand and that answers the question(s) you have…
  • You want to know the information is authoritative – after all, you don’t want problems down the road thanks to misguided information…
  • You want to feel you can relate to the information provided – it needs to speak to you on your level.

It’s a similar principle when you’re looking for products or services to buy.

Choosing a watch is based on want not need

Choosing a watch is based on want not need

For example, you might need a watch. That’s your basic need. However, there are more than a few choices available, and what you buy comes down to your more primal ‘want’.

  • You may want prestige, status or simply to reward yourself and feel successful, so you choose a Rolex or similar high-end time piece…
  • You may want something simple and dependable and within a certain budget, so you choose say a Timex…
  • You may want to experience the latest fashion technology and choose the latest Apple Watch…

We all have our own individual wants and they often guide our choices and decisions more than our individual needs.

The same applies when we’re looking for information online. This is how content marketing works. You get your information in front of your target prospect with the aim to begin a longer term and hopefully profitable relationship with them.

So what does this mean for your content marketing activities?

By ensuring your content appeals not just to your target market’s needs but also to their wants, your content will attract more prospects to you and you’ll build stronger relationships with them.

Try applying the following principles to your own content marketing activities.

1Ensure Your Information Is Attractive

When providing textual information online, use short paragraphs. No one wants to see dense blocks of text.

Provide multiple pathways for people to consume it. Some will read it from top to bottom, others will want to scan it quickly to grasp the essentials. Others will use a mixture of the two.

Use sub-headings and bullet points to break up the text, along with appropriate images and illustrations.

For videos, use proper lighting, and ensure the audio is clear. Keep it lively and interesting. Speak to the person watching it.

2Keep It Simple

Don’t use complex language or industry jargon to show off your expertise. It will have the opposite effect and reduce your authority.

Instead, keep it simple and directed precisely at the type of person you want to attract. Speak their language rather than your own.

3Keep It Focused

Each piece of content in your content marketing should address a specific issue or answer a particular query.

Edit carefully to ensure the information stays focused throughout and doesn’t veer off on unnecessary tangents.

Information you decide to remove can always be used for additional content in the future.


4Why Should They Believe You?

Don’t be afraid to illustrate your authority in the content you provide, to help people trust and believe in your information.

For example, if you’re providing tax information and you’re a qualified accountant, it makes sense to let people know.

But it’s not just about your personal credentials.

Authority also results from the information itself. For example:

  • Is it well-written? Does it flow easily?
  • Does the information by itself help illustrate your expertise?
  • Has it been spell-checked? Is it error-free? (Basic spelling errors and mistakes are real authority-killers)
  • For visual content, is it well laid out and presented? Does it look professional?

You can also gain authority and credibility from who you associate with. For example, content based on say an interview with a leading authority in your industry will transfer authority to you as well.

5Create Content For The Individual

As your content is created, think about who you are trying to reach.

If possible, create an avatar of your ideal prospect or customer. What are their wants and needs? How old are they? Are they married? Do they have children? What’s their occupation? And so on…

Then create the content to speak to them directly. This by itself will help attract your ideal prospect to you. They will feel you are speaking to them.


Be Consistent

By creating content consistently and sharing it with your audience through email marketing, social media and other channels, you build your relationship with your target market.

In so doing, your market builds familiarity with you and your content, and comes to want to receive it. As your relationship develops, they become attached and you’re speaking to them on a more emotional level.

Also, the more content you create over time, the greater your authority grows, and the more prospects you’re able to attract.


By keeping these principles in mind, you can ensure your content doesn’t just meet what your market needs. It’s also what they want… and this is the root of far more profitable and effective content marketing activities.