“Done properly, content marketing attracts more of the right kind of prospects: the ones who value what you do best. You can translate the extra inbound interest into any business benefit you like: raise your prices, grow faster, select your customers more carefully … whatever you need to do.” — Doug Kessler
There’s a lot of “buzz” over content marketing these days, and I thought it warranted us taking a closer look at it this week.
The basic difference between content marketing and, say, direct response, is that content marketing is more information-centric and less “push for the sale.” Does that mean content marketing doesn’t ask for the reader to make a purchase? Well, this is a bit of a gray area since content marketing — by nature — leaves it up to the reader to come to his own conclusion that the product or service is something he just has to have.
Direct-response copy is designed to lead the prospect into taking a specific action, whether that is making a sale, generating a lead, signing up for a newsletter, joining an organization, etc.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is all about delivering valuable, free content to the reader that will ultimately build a level of trust and rapport between the seller and the buyer.
But here’s the thing to keep in mind …
The two modes of sales communication — direct response and content marketing — aren’t necessarily exclusive of each other. Indeed, a strong string of promotions for a product or service will perform better if both forms of contact with the prospect are utilized.
Content marketing is a lot like an information site that imparts good information, exhibits a high level of credibility, and builds trust with the prospective buyer. It is the “lead-in,” if you will, to the more sales-oriented and persuasive direct-response copy where a call-to-action is presented to the reader. When used in conjunction with each other, the response rate is generally higher.
Content marketing follows many of the same rules as any other mode of sales copy. You need a strong headline and lead that lets the reader know you identify with his problem. You need to present a message that is believable, intriguing, and that demonstrates a logical flow of information. But the very nature of content marketing — which lies on the cutting edge of sales and marketing strategies — demands that you be aware of some other criteria as well. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you go forward in developing your content marketing strategy:
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