Content is a funny thing. It really just means information passed on for the purposes of helping someone else understand something. In our world, there are two broad categories of content (min) - sales content and marketing content,
More fashionably known as content marketing, this category of content sells people on you - your story, your vision, you purpose, your perspective. It sells (or at least tells) people more about your brand.
Contrary to what the Instagram algorithm wants you to believe, there is no silver bullet with content marketing. One piece of content might deliver a spike in sales but it wont solve the problem of consistent, reliable dollars in the door.
In the parable of the tortoise and the hare, content is the tortoise. It's a slow, steady conversation that turns followers and readers into advocates, ambassadors, or even better fans! It takes time to have an impact, and you need to understand the numbers to unpack the impact. But just like the tortoise, content helps you win the race.
One pundit years ago referred to good content marketing as being charming. It's apt - good content spins a yarn, it tells you about the business, the people, the values that you might share. It creates a teeny tiny space in your consumer mind that helps you to remember, and recall, a brand or product name.
Overtime, good content marketing charms consumers into a sale. It's easier to choose if you first understand 'why this brand' amidst the flurry of other offers and brands you see each day. Marketing content plans the seed, waters it and nurtures it to grow.
Sales content on the other hand is about as charming as an angry badger. And quite frankly, sales could care less. The purpose of sales is not to charm, it is to wow. In contrast to the seed analogy above, Sales Content is the market stall.
Sales content convinces using statistics, awards, sales figures - all designed to show you that this is the brand or product for you. Sales content is everywhere. It's the ads on TV through to the "this could be you" promises of instant success "if only you...[insert solution.]"
Good sales content isn't self aggrandising though. It's confident, understands the audience and to the point.
Balancing content: marketing vs. sales.
You need both. Content marketing fosters that all important relationship. In a digital, otherwise disconnected world, content is the account manager you might have had in years gone by. It not only captures hearts and minds, it informs, educates and supports buyer decisions by using words, videos or imager to help overcome objections or barriers to purchase.
Sales content, on the other hand, is designed to the whet the appetite, highlight the possibilities and appeal directly to your wallet, ego, fears and desires. It converts prospers to customers.
There's no magic formula for the percentage of content that should be marketing vs. sales. It differs by brand, product, industry, category and of course audience. Overtime a business can assess the balance that is right for them: the balance the drives the stickiest, best kind of customer...not just the quick win.
[For more on content, have a look here.]