This June, a new white paper came out: Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field: How to Select, Connect, and Convert Business Buyers Through Engaging Content and Smarter Multi-Channel Delivery.
Yeah. It’s a mouthful. (But a smart mouthful.)
For me, one of the most interesting topics they touch on is this (from page four of the white paper):
“As marketers, we have to be very careful that we’re not simply trying to bring new clients in the door by billboarding content with an expectation that it will result in genuine engagement,” says Jamie Mendez, director of channel marketing responsible for IBM’s global partnering infrastructure, PartnerWorld. “As an example, when I’m trying to understand something, I want to engage with an expert. I don’t want someone sending me a series of billboards.”
I think this is one of the biggest misunderstandings about content marketing: The idea that just throwing some content at people will get them engaged, that starting a blog is the same thing as having a content marketing strategy, that self-promotional material belongs in every channel.
To that I say: False.
If your blog is a weekly post advertising how much you rock, you’re not going to generate a following. If your headline says “the 5 best spots to visit in Paris,” and your post is all about how you offer tours of Paris and people should buy one – you’re probably not going to get very far.
Because here’s the truth: your content doesn’t just turn people on or leave them feeling neutral.
Your content is also very capable of turning people off of your brand and your products.
And that’s what overly promotional content marketing does.
In fact, according to that same white paper:
“Blatantly self-serving and promotional content is a major turnoff cited by 43 percent of [survey] respondents, and [is] exceeded only by content that comes with too many requirements for downloading (50 percent).”
There is absolutely still a place for advertising and promotional content. People still want to know what your product features are and why they should purchase your services.
However, content marketing is not the same thing as advertising. It’s about building trust. It’s about demonstrating thought leadership. It’s about helping your users out—giving them something.
So, if your blog is full of product descriptions or self-promotional material, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. And quick.
Because the longer you let it go on, the more customers you’re turning off.
And if you fix it today? If you start to think strategically, if you start publishing content that inspires, entertains, or informs your audiences, if you add the “content” back into content marketer…over time you can start to build or re-build that trust. Trust that drives real leads and real sales.
So that’s your homework for today: it’s time to stop that “blatantly self-serving and promotional” content in its tracks and start really informing, entertaining, or inspiring your customers.
Ready. Set. Be helpful.