There’s a difference between sales and marketing. While sales, even in the most new conceptualizations, is about closing the deal, marketing has more to do with introducing your products to the customer. Content marketing is a crucial piece of marketing in general, as your content is what your potential customer is going to find when they end up on your website or social media page.
With every piece of content you craft, you need to consider: Is this piece of writing doing its job? Is it marketing? Is it readable? Is it useful?
When you can answer yes to all of these questions, you’ll start to see deals go through and sales begin to climb. Let’s look through each of these questions.
Is your content marketing?
If the goal of marketing is to introduce your potential customer and your product or service, then you need to start with an introduction. As a customer (and as a content writer) I groan every time I end up on a website that promises me excellent customer service, world class technology, unbelievable results – but never actually tells me what the company does.
Start slow. Make your website tell your customer what you do. Don’t assume they know. It takes two sentences, if that. “Stellar Company is the first class provider of custom app design services for publishers and crafters. If you’re looking for a way to put a personalized storefront onto a customer’s mobile device, we’ll make it happen.”
If the customer doesn’t know what you’re selling, they’re not going to get in touch to ask. They’re going to move to the next result on their search list, and you’re losing a sale.
Is your content readable?
There’s nothing worse than content written in legalese. Okay, some legal items have to be written in legalese, that’s their job, but when we’re talking about articles and web content, write in every-day English. Save the careful, precise, exacting language for your white papers and downloadable PDFs (You have those, right?). In general, you want your marketing story to be written for anyone who might happen across your website. It should be technical enough to show that you know your way around your industry, but this isn’t, ultimately, where you’re closing the sale. You need to also keep your content approachable for novices in your arena.
Is your content useful?
At the end of your article, what is different for your reader?
Do they know more than they did, so that they can go forward and do something different with their lives?
Do they better understand how your product will make something simpler or more efficient for them?
Do they feel empowered to do something differently?
Do they feel lightened, confident that they’re not the only ones facing a particular problem?
If you want your readers to come back to your website – and after all, that’s the goal, to increase traffic and sharing – then you need to show them that you have something they want. They need to feel good, empowered, or connect with your content. Not every post needs to be a revelation, but they need to get what they want from it.
Your job, then, becomes to figure out what your audience wants from your content. If you’re a business, odds are good that they want information that pertains to the business, and not to your family, your pets, or your kids. If you want to talk about those things, start a Tumblr about them. Leave it off your business page.
Is your content doing its job?
If you can answer yes to each of the above questions, then the odds are good that yes, your content is doing its job. Content should be increasing your customer’s trust and interest in your product, convincing them that you know what you’re doing, and that you are a good bet to complete the service the customer is looking for.
It’s important to remember that there isn’t any truly unique service that a company can offer, especially on the Internet. The best way for a business to distinguish itself is by showing that it cares about its customers, and that their experience is a priority. Offering great content that is readable, useful, and relevant is one way to show customers that you’re invested in them, just like they are in you.