Leaky Pipes, Trust and Content Marketing

ThinkerWhen we moved into our new home, my wife and I knew that there was ample work to be done. While the house was structurally sound there were enough bullet points on the inspection report that I could reasonably argue it qualified as a fixer-upper.

But many of the aesthetic touch-ups we wanted to tackle had to be put on hold when we discovered that both our showers were leaking water into the first floor. Having just moved in, we didn’t know how long the problem had persisted, and we wouldn’t know the extent of the damage until we cut into our sheetrock to diagnose the problem.

Preparing for the worst, we asked every plumber that we spoke with if they had the prerequisite certifications should we need to file an insurance claim. Most of them did, but the individual that we ended up cultivating a working relationship did not.

You’re probably wondering why.

Even though he was not a licensed plumber, he demonstrated a willingness to help us despite the fact that he knew there was no chance that he’d earn a sale from the interaction. I spent about an hour on the phone with him as we discussed everything from the grout between the tiles in our showers to the state of the copper tubing running from the basement up to the second floor. He was able to go into great detail about our specific model of hot water heater and spoke with confidence about what the water stains on our ceiling most likely signified.

In short, Joe the Plumber took an hour out of his day to educate me, knowing from the first minute that it would not benefit him personally. He didn’t just consider the symptoms of the problem we were facing either, but took the time to develop a broader perspective of the entire layout of our plumbing system.

And by the end of my phone call with Joe the Plumber and interesting thing had happened. I trusted him.

I am typically an unrelenting skeptic. I assume that everyone will extricate as much money from my pockets as they—particularly those in careers like plumbing, where I myself have no ability to gauge the true value of their time or materials.

But Joe the Plumber got through to me for two reasons. First, I believed I could trust someone who was willing to be helpful when it did not benefit them. Secondly, I appreciated the empowerment I felt that came with the crash course on plumbing he gave me in our hour phone call.

So when we finally determined that we would not need to file an insurance claim, guess who we called to help us fix our leaks? That’s right—Joe the Plumber.

Still wondering what that story has to do with content marketing?

Even if you aren’t in the business of fixing leaky pipes, your organization’s success still rests on your relationships with customers. Before they buy anything from you, they’ve got to trust you. Your marketing efforts, then, should not be limited to material espousing the benefits of your goods and services, or lauding the various merits of your personnel. You’ll come off as preachy and gimmicky and potential customers won’t swallow your messaging just because you ask them to do so.

Instead, integrate a content strategy into your marketing efforts. Help your customers understand your industry. Educate them so they can make their own informed decision about how to spend their hard earned money. Use content to build your reputation as a thought leader. Content can help you connect with your customers without trying to sell them anything, so that when they do need to make a purchase, you’ll be the one they have in mind.

If you need more assistance cultivating a content marketing strategy to help build a brand that your customers can trust, check out Content Boost here.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQuAAAAJDQyZjlmZDdmLWZkMGUtNGUwNy05NTAyLWVhYTc1MTAyNWM2NgKeith Batter, known as “The Machine” due to his ability to provide quality content on a tight deadline, earned his degree in Creative Writing from Colorado University. Keith’s interest in a multitude of topics imbues his writing with valuable insights that resonate with readers in many fields. His work experience spans industries as diverse as hospitality (Thistledown Inn Bed and Breakfast), insurance (American Income Life Insurance), sales, journalism, publishing and even a brief foray into politics as a community organizer during the 2008 presidential election. In his spare time, Keith is difficult to find. Equipped only with a guitar, notebook and a liter of water, he frequently disappears deep into the forest with his wife and dog to evade civilization and wax poetic about the nature of existence.