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Why You Should Build Content Marketing Bridges – Here’s Why #199


The dismal truth is that most brand content marketing fails. It performs poorly because it can’t bridge the gap between brand goals and prospect needs and desires.
In this episode of our popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Mark Traphagen shares how to build bridges to your target market with content marketing.

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Eric: Hey, Mark, what’s a content bridge?
Mark: Eric, it’s a metaphor I use for a key characteristic I’ve observed about the most effective content marketing. And by effective, I mean content that actually produces results for the business publishing it.
Eric: Why a bridge?
Mark: If you have two pieces of land, separated by a chasm, you need a bridge to move people from one to the other. In marketing, every business starts with a chasm between the goals of the business, what the business wants to achieve, and the prospects that want to reach.
Effective content successfully builds a bridge between the two that not only allows prospects to cross over it–in other words become qualified leads or customers–but encourages them to do so.
[Tweet “Successful content marketing builds a bridge between business goals and prospect needs.”]
Eric: How do you build content marketing bridges then?
Mark: Let’s start with the main goals of the two land masses the bridge is supposed to connect.
Now, on the one side is your business. I call this Brand Island. Brand Island is populated by the purpose, intention, and reason for the existence of your brand. It’s why your business exists. That goes beyond to make money and into the specifics of your products and services, what you bring uniquely to the marketplace.
Most brand content is stuck on a desert island
Now, across the water is Prospect Island. Here dwell the needs wants, hopes, dreams, and desires of your prospective customers.
Prospects who won't see your content marketing
Eric: And your content needs to be able to bridge those two islands?
Mark: Yes. Most content that fails to produce desired business results tends to be anchored on one or the other island but fails to reach across the gap. The content may be stuck on Brand Island if it is too salesy, or talks too much about your product or service without linking it to what your prospects actually need.
On the other hand, content that is stuck on Prospect Island tries too hard to grasp the hearts and minds of potential customers while failing to make a strong association with the brand and what it sells.
For example, a brand that sells shoes might post a pop culture quiz that goes viral, but few consumers will remember that it had anything to do with a shoe seller.
The key is to always have both islands in mind as you create your content, your business goals and brand identity on the one side and the needs and desires of your prospects on the other. Then find a link between the two. Often that link will be emotional at its core, but it must strongly associate the emotional response with the brand.
A great example of this is the clothing retailer Patagonia. You and I have used them as an example often, and in this case, their environmentally conscious content. That creates a strong connection with the brand’s affluent, socially conscious outdoors enthusiast customers while emphasizing that Patagonia shares their values.

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Thoughts on “Why You Should Build Content Marketing Bridges – Here’s Why #199”

  1. That is a really good analogy, Mark & Eric. I have seen lots of commercials where I remember the commercial, but have no idea what it was for. Whether it is guest posting or advertising, we should always stay relevant, and build the bridge, as you put it.

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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