My last visit to my mechanic was an interesting one.

For all intents and purposes, it was a very typical trip to a mechanic. We needed new tires, we dropped the car off and they put new tires on it. Pretty much exactly how you’d expect such a trip to go.

As usually happens, they found something that could use a bit of work. I needed new brakes. I knew that going in. But, what I didn’t know was that, apparently, I needed them now (which wasn’t actually true).

I had already replaced the front brakes myself and had run into a bit of a roadblock with the rear set–mostly that I couldn’t get them off. I mentioned that to the guy at the counter and, in a fairly rhetorical way, followed that up with, “But what can you do?”

The guy behind the counter shrugged his shoulders, said, “I don’t know. I’m not a tech,” and then pushed me to make the appointment to get them done.

I made the appointment, but instead of just accepting and moving on, I went home and dealt with the problem myself. Something about that whole exchange with the guy at the counter had bothered me, quite a lot as it turned out.

It took me a while, longer than it should have anyway, to realize that it wasn’t so much the cost of getting the brakes changed that bothered me, although the cost didn’t help, it was the way he responded to my question.

That shrug and, “I don’t know,” killed the sale on the spot.

“Surely you didn’t expect him to tell you how they do things at the shop?” I can hear you asking.

You’re right. I didn’t. In fact, I wasn’t expecting an answer period. But, he chose to provide one anyway and, worse, he chose to do it in a way that wasn’t even a little helpful. In the end, it cost them my business.

You see, like a lot of people, I trust people who can show me they know what they’re doing. I have a hard time respecting people, and an even harder time giving them a lot of money, if I don’t see at least some evidence that they know their job.

In other words, they need to demonstrate some kind of authority in their field.

Now, by this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with content marketing. Think of this guy as your website. A lot of the time, your website is a potential customer’s first exposure to your business and they’re going to use it to decide whether or not they’re going to spend their money with you.

The absolute last thing you want your website to do is fail to answer your customer’s questions. Even if providing the answer could cost you a bit of business, by showing that you at least know how to deal with the problem, you’re showing me that you know what you’re talking about.

You’re demonstrating authority and that is key.

When you demonstrate authority you’re showing your audience that you:

  • Really know your industry
  • Get excited about the ins and outs of what you do
  • Love talking about your job and hope to get others excited as well

I’m much more likely to spend my money on someone who shows off how much they know about their industry, especially if its clear that person has a passion for their work.

I’m not alone in feeling this way, either. Content marketing is an excellent way to reach your audience, so long as you’re providing good content–ie: it’s well-written, engaging and demonstrates that you know your stuff, meaning your website isn’t just shrugging its shoulders and saying, “I don’t know.”

Had the guy behind the counter at the mechanic said something different like, “I think they have a special tool they use,” or, ” They heat up the bolt until they can get it off,” or even, “I don’t know, but you could probably find out how on You Tube,” I may have decided to spend the money and just get it done.

But he didn’t and now I need to find a new mechanic.

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