Why an "Editorial Mindset" Builds a Customer Base
Is your company missing out on fairly easy ways to get on your customers’ radar screens? Many companies have pumped out “tips” articles that may be perfectly useful on their own. But the “5 Ways to Build a Better Mousetrap” formula is getting stale, and it’s not “sticky,” either: Customers might assume that the article summarizes everything you have to say about mousetraps, so they’ve no reason to return (or subscribe).
There are many other ways to serve your customer with content. It’s useful to have what I’d call an editorial mindset. If you want to build a lasting relationship, then you should supply a steady stream of provocative “mousetrap” news and facts along with your tips. People with editorial experience—newspapers, magazines, blogs—know how to keep that stream flowing.
Here’s an example from an industry I’ll be covering more in the future: insurance. AIG Direct’s Education Center has a nice collection of articles on buying insurance. It’s mostly tips, though, and there’s not an obvious way to subscribe to it. But there’s some great potential in there, as long as you apply an editorial mindset.
Take this piece: “Term Life Insurance Top 10 Mistakes.” It’s a good story idea—no one likes making dumb mistakes—but it also creates its own editorial agenda:
Mistake #2 is “Trusting Quick Online Quotes.” The piece notes that the Internet is full of online forms and calculators that spit out a fast term life insurance quote but are inaccurate because they don’t account for individual factors. OK, so how about a fun story giving real-life examples of just how inaccurate these quotes are? That story could illustrate how these calculators are scaring people off from getting vital coverage.
Mistake #4 is “Purchasing Life Insurance That is not Medically Underwritten”—in other words, without a medical exam. If you’re healthy, you’ll spend a lot more for this kind of insurance. But how common is this kind of insurance, really? What percent of policies are written without an exam? How much more, exactly (or even roughly) do they cost for a healthy person?
Mistake #9 is insuring only the primary breadwinner. This also raises some big questions: What percent of households with insurance make this error? What is the estimated value of the services performed by non-breadwinners (like child care and housework)? How much would it cost to replace these services if the non-breadwinner passed away?
In fact, virtually all 10 of these tips could spawn off multiple great story ideas. The key ingredient is someone with an editorial mindset who asks the right questions.
With each story, the reader would learn something new or useful. The message would be clear (especially if stories were backed with quotes from AIG subject-matter experts): AIG Direct can help prevent you from making these mistakes yourself. And as the stream of stories builds, so will the number of subscribers who will be bound to keep AIG top of mind for their insurance needs.
Richard Sine writes about business, personal finance and health for magazines and content marketers. He writes regularly for Men’s Health magazine and for brands such as Fidelity Investments, UPS and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.