Content Marketing: Storytelling for Sales

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Content marketing's message shouldn't be swallowed up by sales patter. If it drives engagement, trust and shares, the sales should follow naturally. Read on to find out why...

How to Engage With Prospects via Content Marketing

There’s a huge buzz surrounding content marketing in the SEO world at the moment, but one thing that many webmasters fail to understand is that content marketing is not a single, perfect answer to all online marketing problems.

Content marketing does not create customers – it draws them in when they’ve found what they’ve been scouring the SERPs for, and convinces them to convert.

It would be better to consider it as an important component of a much broader SEO strategy.

Traffic, Engagement and Trust

The three keys to running a successful website are traffic, engagement and trust.

It’s pretty obvious, but you need to get a large amount of traffic to your website. That traffic must consist of people who are interested in the content and respond to it, ideally engaging with the brand – by sharing pages they find interesting with their friends via social media.

Strong engagement helps to build trust.

As visitors get used to seeing a site regularly, an element of trust developments. And they become more receptive to any sales pitch that they might be presented with.

Good Content Tells a Story

The challenge that many webmasters face is understanding the differences between content marketing and selling.

Sales pitches don't necessarily drive engagement. The hard sell has its place online, but content marketing should entertain, inform, inspire, or all of the above. There will nearly always be an underlying sales agenda, but the overlying intention of content marketing is to engage users enough to make them share.

More often than not, content marketing does not drive sales on its own. But it can play a pretty vital role in the overall conversion process.

Good content tells a story. That story can be used to provide visitors with information. And it can even build up to a sales pitch.

Successful marketers balance funny, informative and interesting content with the occasional sales pitch, which is delivered at the point a website's audience is likely to be at its most receptive.

For example, someone who produces guitar playing tutorial videos and sells guitar related paraphernalia could run a series of blog posts talking about preparing for a gig.

He might mention a problem he had with the neck of his guitar. He could then produce a video tutorial about repairing that damage and perhaps another about re-stringing acoustic guitars.

Finally, he could send out a message to his subscribers recommending a great new cleaning oil that can be used to keep guitars in good condition.

Regular site readers are more likely to be receptive to a message like this, which ties in neatly with the useful and informative content they’ve previously read, than they would be if they simply got a sales pitch for guitar cleaning oil out of the blue.

It's important to remember that stories don't have to be self-contained.

Ideally, a website’s visitors will come to back more than once, so content should be broken down into bite-sized chunks if possible – maintaining a steady flow of fresh relevant content.

However, there’s a balance to be struck. It’s important not to give away too much knowledge for free. It should be offered up slowly enough to keep audiences coming back for more.

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