When your product solves the right problems, your content can too

Fixing problems with U-LocksI recently started listening to the Track Changes podcast, from guy-I’ve-followed-on-Twitter-forever Paul Ford and his business-partner-and-guy-I-don’t-know, Rich Ziade. The podcast is a way for them to promote their agency (Postlight) while getting to know people they admire.

They usually interview someone in the media/tech/software space or talk among themselves on a topic of mutual appreciation (i.e. software designed with empathy—or disgust (i.e. LinkedIn).

I really enjoyed the recent episode with Medium’s product manager, Michael Sippey.

His three questions he reminds product managers (and himself) about resonated with me:

1. What problem are we solving?
2. Who are we solving it for?
3. How are we going to measure success?

Michael elaborates:

Everything else, like how are we going to solve the problem, how are we going to bring it to market, what are the needs that it has from a feature perspective or a speed perspective, or where should the button go or how should it look or how should the brand work — that is a team exercise. […] Because if you can set that context and you give the context to the team, the team will produce much better results.

Michael’s framework aligns perfectly with an effective content marketing strategy. Successful content finds the overlap between:

1. Your prospect’s problems and desires
2. The parts of those problems your product solves

When you can identify and empathize with those problems, and point out the ways in which your product actually makes them better, you have a winning combination of content that helps and converts.

I’ll write more about this soon. But for now, check out the podcast episode.

For more podcasts I listen to, check out my recent list of suggestions.

The Naming of Things

Fascinating article about the product naming industry {new york times}:

He administered a questionnaire to 150 Stanford and Berkeley students, asking them questions like: Which sounds faster, “fip” or “fop”? Leben found a consensus. “Fip” was faster than “fop.” Why? Because of the way the sounds were generated in the mouth, Leben says. “Fip” feels lighter and faster because the vocal tract is open only a small amount. There is less acoustic substance for “fip” than there is for “fop,” the pronunciation of which causes the jaw to drop and the tongue to lower, creating a heavier, more powerful sound.

Reminds me of this episode from the Startup podcast, How to Name Your Company, in which business partners Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber talk with friends, family, and professional namers to come up with a name for their new podcasting company.

How Campaigns Target & Customize

Interesting piece about the Obama campaign’s efforts to target their email campaigns to different subscribers based on demographics, past donations and other variables.

Campaigns are increasingly tailoring their messages — and their funding requests — using massive databases of personal information about potential voters. Here are six variations of a Thursday night message from the Obama campaign, based on emails submitted by 190 recipients across the country.

“Message Machine: You Probably Don’t Know Janet” {propublica}