When you take a job at Costco, you put a good amount of time into your orientation. Of course, like most jobs, there are plenty of boring videos about safety and you’ll have read through plenty of brand-specific content.
What is Context Marketing?
Context marketing is a fairly new buzzword in the marketing world. The concept is simple, but the execution is much more difficult. Simply put, it’s easy to write about a product, but it’s much harder to write about it in a way that allows a prospective buyer to visualize it in the context of their lives.
Similar to the 5 R’s, when using the powerful methods of context marketing, we need to show buyers the perfect picture of the product in action to be successful with sales. We need to show the product as being highly purposeful and highly relevant to the person buying it.
Instead of the 5 R’s, let’s consider the 5 W’s (and an ‘H’). Answer these questions instead:
Who is the product for and Why do they need it? What will it do for them and When will they use it most? Where will they use it and How will it be used?
If you can answer these questions, you’ve gone a long way in helping your buyer feel confident investing in your product.
Writing with Context
Here’s the dictionary definition of ‘out of context’:
“If a statement or remark is quoted out of context, the circumstances in which it was said are not correctly reported, so that it seems to mean something different from the meaning that was intended.”
Basically, another way to say ‘context’ is ‘meaning.’
So, ‘writing with context’ is essentially ‘writing with meaning.’ To write with meaning — to make our words mean something to our readers — we have to invoke an emotional response.
Think of a commercial that made you feel something. Have you ever been caught off guard by an advertisement that made you excited or scared? Consider a time you read a blog article or Facebook post that made you cry. These writers somehow managed to write in a way that allowed you to become part of their story. You allowed yourself to make it personal. You saw yourself in context, as if it was written just for you.
So how do you make your readers feel something?
You need to understand your audience really well. You need to know where they go with their friends and what they like to do on Saturday nights. You need to know what time they get out of bed in the morning and how many times they pour a cup of coffee a day. Okay… Not really. But you do have to understand what their lives look like. Then, and only then, you’ll be able to write copy that speaks directly to them.
In fact, you’ll want to write your copy for your specific ideal client. It’s not easy to shrink your audience to that size, I know, but it will help your content connect directly to that person with context.
The next time you write something, stop when you’re a few sentences in and ask yourself about the ‘5 W’s and the H.’ Do your text and the answers to the questions match up to your target audience? Try to highlight three things in your writing that matter to your audience; how do these things make that person feel?