Those Who Can’t Sell, Teach
Since content marketing became the norm the has been a slow switch away from more straight forward sales based content, towards educational content. The rise of the internet has created a very different consumer situation to what went before it. Now consumers have more information than ever before making a purchase, so marketers (and salespeople) have had to change how they talk to their potential customers.
The days of just listing the features of your product, and hoping that someone will by it are long gone. Consumers now are much more sophisticated than ever before because they have access to so much more information. Being informed on a purchase is no longer an effort, so it stands to reason that marketing tactics have had to change to keep pace.
Traditional marketing would have sold you on the benefit that a product provides to the consumer. It would have done this by telling you what it can do, and how this will affect you. Modern marketing is a lot more subtle. Most content marketing will talk around the problems that a product solves rather than directly offering a solution to them. The idea of this is that it builds some trust with the consumer by not being too “pushy”.
The best way to do this is to frame your content as educational. Google has found that 86% of YouTube users seek out educational content on the platform. They’re not looking for ads, but how-to videos, or videos explaining why things happen. So if, as a brand, you can position yourself as the answer to their questions, customers will associate you with knowledge.
Building A Following
Building an online community is key to succeeding in content marketing. If you have a tribe of passionate advocates for your products then half your job as marketers is done for you. But it’s impossible to do that by solely creating sale focused content. To build a following you need to create content that serves a purpose other than selling. You need to educate and inform your audience. Then they will want to consume and share your content because it helps them. Once you begin doing this you can start engaging in industry discussions and building a reputation as an ‘influencer’. Then your content becomes a self-fuelling machine. More people read your content because you are an influencer, and you become a bigger influencer because more people are reading your content.
Building educational content has one more side benefit. It is often said, that to truly learn something, you should try teaching it to another person. So by creating educational content, you as a blog author, will be learning much more than you would be if you were just churning out endless sales brochures. What do you think about educational content? Has it helped you turn prospects into customers? Or do you prefer old fashioned sales focused copy?
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