Using Content Marketing to Build Meaningful Relationships

trixie-picWith the July Fourth holiday weekend upon us, I thought it would be fun to deviate from my typical marketing post format to share a fun, personal story about content marketing that will hopefully illustrate the power of connecting meaningful content to a specific audience … that also speaks to the spirit of the holiday (friends, family, freedom, and fun)!

One of the goals behind marketing of course is to connect, engage, and build relationships with an intended audience. But the question is: how do we best do that?

In this particular case, while I wasn’t aiming to market any specific product or service, through sharing good content I was able to connect with a whole group of people who I would have otherwise never met, bringing further clarity to a woman I’ve always been inspired by but never knew a whole lot about: my grandmother.

The Backstory:

Back in 2010, I wanted to learn about blogging so I started a blog with no real purpose other than to share stories that were of interest to me. (The real point was to learn how to use WordPress.) In one of my first posts, I shared a letter that my grandmother had written back in the 1960s. My grandmother had been a female pilot and journalist in her day, who died in a plane crash in 1965 along with  Joan Merriam Smith, who was the first woman to complete a solo flight around the equatorial Amelia Earhart route.


Just about the time I had planned to delete the blog, I started receiving comments and emails from people who had known my grandmother that had been searching for information about her online. Since then, I’ve connected with the following specific individuals, among others:

1)  A gentleman and fellow pilot who used to spend time at my grandparents’ house:

We knew Trixie – and your Grandfather also. My former wife, Pat, and I would often visit your grandparents at their home in LA. We knew your Mom because of my wife’s involvement in the 99’s, the International Organization of Women Pilots, of which your Grandmother was a very active member.

2)  A man whose mother had passed away when he was young, but who held onto an article that my grandmother had written about his mother:

Your grandmother and my mother were, as I understand it, friends back in the 50’s and perhaps before. In 1948 my mother  was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had the treatments available to her at that time and was told that she would be unable to conceive any more children. Well, I was born in 1951, the 3rd of 3 boys in our family. In 1954 the cancer returned and settled in mom’s spine and in 1956, my dad and mom decided to make a trip to Lourdes, France searching for a cure.

Their journey was documented by Trixie Ann Schubert and was written up in the September, 1956 issue of St Joseph magazine. My mother passed away in January, 1957, 2 days after my 6th birthday. I have an original issue of that September 1956 St. Josephs magazine that I have read and re-read many many times over the years. My father always had wonderful things to say about Trixie Ann and I still remember the shock to him and, frankly, to all of us boys, when we heard of her untimely death in 1965.

3) A woman whose mother had been a close friend of my grandmother’s:

My mother also knew Trixie. They were very dear friends and I heard constantly about her in my life (mom is still alive at 92 and occasionally mentions her in conversation about the past). We leave our marks on this little planet for all time.

4) Another fellow pilot, who shared a 1960s article from the Saturday Evening Post I’d never even known about before:

Your Grandmother, Joan Merriam and the Saturday Evening Post article “I flew around the world alone” by Joan Merriam that your Grandmother helped Joan write, Aztec Aircraft at Long Beach Airport and the other women who were your grandmother’s contemporaries are all part of early memories for me.

Who knew such a little, unassuming post could turn out to be such an exciting force of engagement?

Key Learnings and Takeaways

While we can’t always predict the outcome of our marketing efforts, we can focus on building more meaningful relationships through content by:

  1. Sharing quality over quantity
  2. Uncovering timeless stories
  3. Personalizing our content
  4. Focusing on shared passions among a group
  5. Finding new subjects to write about, or at least topics that haven’t been already covered a million times over

Now it’s your turn! Would love to hear any stories about how you have generated any meaningful connections through effective content marketing. What advice would you add to this list?


  1. I love that your blog generated such a response. It’s so evident that Grandma had a huge impact on her community. So much so, that people are still searching for information about her. She was such an incredible human being, with an overwhelming amount of talent. Thank you for sharing her story and helping people reconnect! It’s incredible!

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