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Content Marketing: How to Sell Without Selling

2 minutes Read

Content MarketingIn a previous blog about guerrilla marketing, we discussed how soft selling is a core strategy small businesses need to embrace in order to generate buzz and get people talking about their brand and their services. Soft selling is often an entertaining or educational method to establish a relationship with potential customers, often without mentioning, or only casually mentioning, your product or brand.

If you have ever watched a Super Bowl ad, then you’ve seen a perfect example of how advertisers put more emphasis on entertaining the audience than selling the product. In essence, this strategy drives a successful content marketing campaign, too.

Fundamentals of Content Marketing

Content can be used to inform, entertain or simply distract. It comes in any number of mediums: video, blogs, magazine articles, books, infographics, lists, even t-shirts. The goal is to focus on a group of consumers and influence how they think in a way that directs them to your business.

To unpack that statement, let’s look at some examples of content that can support your business goals and inspire your own ideas.

Blog about industry trends: Blogs might be the most basic, and important, types of content marketing simply because they offer the most straightforward way to establish an online presence that people can turn to and trust. If you run a bookstore, blog about a favorite book or author each week. If you run a café, write about the communities that grow the coffee beans you use in your drinks.

Pursue interviews: In addition to providing content for your blog, interviews with industry leaders offer another way to grow your network. The people you interview will not only be flattered, but they will often share the published interview, along with your website, with their network, helping you grow your audience and establish your credentials.

Make a how-to video: How can a how-to video help your business? Consider this: Pediatrician Dr. Robert Hamilton’s video on how to calm a crying baby has almost 19 million views. Not only does it offer great advice, but it’s invaluable publicity for his practice. Though your video might not go viral, you can take a similar approach: Restaurant owners can produce videos on how to make the perfect salad, HVAC companies on how to clean your outside vents, and you can make any kind of video that’s relevant to your business.

Visualize your expertise: In our age of lists and graphics, few things manage to entertain and inform like an infographic. The beauty with this medium is that it manages to cover the fundamental goals of content marketing by establishing you as an authority, engaging an audience and being very sharable on social networks.

In many ways it’s helpful to look at content marketing as a response to the fact that consumers don’t like to be sold to. The only real constraint of content marketing is to be aware of over-branding. Think of it less in terms of selling and more about establishing a rapport.

Photo credit: Bimbim/shutterstock.com

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