In speaking with a company that produces great content, they discussed that some of the content ideas that they ran up the flagpole had been denied because the content didn't directly influence the sale of their products nor services. Ugh. What an absolutely disastrous content strategy. If the goal of every piece of your content is to sell something, you may as well just shut down the blog and buy ads.
Don't get me wrong – some people out there are absolutely looking for the product or service that will help them fix a problem and you better have content that drives them to a sale. But if every piece of content is trying to drive them to a sale, you're not providing any value to your audience.
I'll provide some examples:
- TinderBox – their system automates the tedious task of writing customized proposals and agreements with clients, allowing comments, red-lining and digital signatures. If all they wrote about was their features every day, no one would come to their site. However, they write fascinating articles that provide value to sales leaders who come back over and over to read their content.
- Mindjet – their platform allows for ideation, collaboration, mind-mapping and even task management. Their site doesn't spell out every day how easy their product is to make a mindmap, their Conspire blog shares incredible content on innovation and its impact in the workplace. It's one of the top resources for ideation and innovation on the Internet.
- Right On Interactive – they sell marketing automation software… but their blog speaks to the customer lifecycle, buying cycle, customer value, customer retention and other huge issues in the space. While their competitors are always babbling about more leads in the top of the funnel, Right On Interactive applies a different approach – explaining how to find customers who are more valuable and will have staying power with your company to maximize the return on investment.
- Angie's List – supplies in-depth reviews of service providers that are trusted because they're not anonymous and the company works to mediate and ensure quality services experiences for their subscribers. But their site provides a ton of information about the industries, do-it-yourself advice for folks, and solid counsel for people who are researching that next purchase decision. They're not selling subscriptions with their content, they're extending the trust that consumers have in them and providing value beyond the reviews.
As the reader reads the articles, they begin to accept that the company understands their challenges and frustrations. Through the content, the reader gets additional value from the company, builds trust with the company AND, ultimately, the chances of becoming a customer are increased greatly. The objective of the majority of content isn't to immediately sell the person, it's to show them your expertise in their field, to show them your authority, your leadership, and to provide more value than just buying the product or service.
When you achieve this, your content sells.
Disclosure: The companies listed above are all clients of ours.