As a marketer, you’re likely aware that content is one of the most important aspects of your business online. In comparison to paid search, content marketing gets you 3x more leads for every one dollar spent.
Good content attracts interested people to your website, and from this point, you can convert them into paying customers. The most effective way of doing this? Strike an even balance between how informative and promotional your content is.
There are a few distinct differences between each of these types of content, and they each serve different purposes. Here is how you can make use take advantage of each of them.
Promotional vs informational content
Promotional content does what its name suggests. It’s meant to promote your products, services or whatever else you have to offer the market. Think of it as a form of advertising: you want to generate interest and keep current users interested in your product.
To which, the uninitiated would go – why not write promotional content all the time? It seems like a pretty great way to push your strategy to its limits. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of such marketing strategies, however, you know how annoying it can be.
Like any relationship – in this case, you and your customers – things have to be mixed up a little if you want them to remain interesting.
Informational content is somewhat similar in intent: it serves to keep already interested parties within your marketing funnel. However, it also exists to cover some crucial spaces that promotional content cannot: it answers critical questions and helps the customer decide what problem you solve and how you solve it.
How to balance your content mix
1. Write down an outline of your overall strategy
According to Altimeter, 70% of all businesses lack a solid content marketing strategy. Chances are, you’re right in there, and that’s a problem.
Before you even begin creating content, you need to know where you’ll be going. Getting started is often the hardest part of any journey, and this isn’t very different.
A lot of people prefer to get in touch with professional writing services like AssignmentGeek, to get them on their feet. The key points of any meaningful strategy are that it should answer key questions like:
2. What do you need your content to achieve?
For instance, do you need to generate traffic or attract more qualified leads? Or do you already have a sizeable number of visitors per month and just need ways to convert a larger portion of those visitors? Once you (and possibly, your team) have agreed on the objectives your content serves, you have a solid foundation.
3. How detailed should the write-up be?
Different strategies benefit different kinds of businesses. Especially in marketing, no single solution fits all problems the various businesses out their face. Yours may have to be more detailed, and maybe even broken down into finer portions than your next closest competitor.
4. Who is your target?
Put yourself in the shoes of the person whose problem you are trying to solve. How you approach the initial research – how you determine who the perfect target demographic is – will be at your discretion. Having this information at hand will, however, give you an excellent way to determine the kind of content you will produce.
5. What are your competitors doing?
Creativity helps, sure, but at the end of the day, there’s hardly a niche out there that don’t have someone already providing a solution for the problem you’ve singled out. While this may sound grim, it helps to look at close competitors’ content. What are they doing and how can you improve on their weak points?
6. Set a time limit
Nothing helps people achieve their goals better than tight timelines and fixed schedules. Each section of the idea pool should have a limited time to be worked on. It helps create a sense of discipline and motivates your group members to think more creatively.
Depending on your team members, different sections might require different amounts of time. For instance, coming up with a title for your next article should invariably take less time than thinking of the actual content that will go into the article’s body.
Of course, it helps to do a lot of research on keywords, different writing styles and optimizing it for search engines.
7. Pick a method to present
Regardless of what you were told, a long article stuffed with keywords isn’t the only way to reach your desired target audience. Different audiences and situations require different presentation methods, as do different situations, depending on the message you want the image you want to be seen of your company.
Some things to consider when picking the presentation method include your audience’s interests, your own goals, and of course, if the data can be replaced by a picture or chart.
The most popular of these methods are:
- Articles: This should normally be used when there is a lot of technical jargon, and the content is bound to be on the longer side of things.
- Videos and other visual content: There are lots of different kinds of videos; from tutorial videos to explainer videos… etc. In general, videos should not be too long. Human beings have a rather short attention span, as it turns out. According to Buzzsumo, articles with some form of visual content are ten times more likely to be shared.
- Infographics: Works best when the presentation is data heavy. They can also be incorporated into videos with animated charts and data points, depending on what your audience prefers, of course.
Balancing it all out
Once all is said and done, you want content that both informs the person consuming your media and promotes your business. How is achieving such a target possible without seeming too promotional and making it to the top?
Here are our four favorite tips:
- Don’t do sales pitches: Don’t hit it off immediately trying to promote your product. There’s a time and place for such approaches, but a well-balanced article doesn’t start off right the bat being biased.
- Do your research: To establish yourself in the space as someone respected, you need to source information from already trusted sources like Inc or Forbes. These are a lot easier to trust rather than a first-hand word of mouth, especially if you’re an up and coming company.
- Don’t lecture: Just because it’s informational doesn’t mean it has to be long. Better short, well-written and well-researched articles than frequently-published poorly done content.
To shorten all this information in the span of a single paragraph, the informational part should be given a priority. Once readers know you’re a reliable source of information backed up by industry leaders, they will come back to you for even more information. This then creates an opportunity for you to push your product.
Alexandra Reay has been working as a journalist and editor in one of the finest Melbourne publishing agencies for 3 years. She is also a professional content writer who prefers to do research on the following topics – self-improvement, technology innovations, global education development ets. Feel free to contact her at Twitter.