Is your content marketing icky? Does it leave a bad taste in people’s mouth?
If you are struggling to get people to join your audience, it might be because your content marketing is icky. #SorryNotSorry.
What is icky content marketing?
It is content marketing that is too salesy or promotional.
If icky content marketing was a person, it would be a used car salesman. It is pushy, it oversells, it hounds you for a sale, and it doesn’t know when to back down.
And worst of all? It talks at the customer, not with the customer.
Content marketing is about building relationships. The *highly tested and repeatedly proven* theory is that when you build a strong, solid relationship with someone before you pitch them your wares, you are significantly more likely to convert.
Building strong, loyal audiences also leads to repeat customers and higher levels of word-of-mouth / recommendations. And we all know that word of mouth is still the #1 form of marketing.
If your social media feeds are full of promotional content and if you only email your database when you have a sale or want them to know about a new product launch – then you’re doing it wrong. Sorry to be blunt, but it’s the truth.
I’m not saying you won’t be making any sales doing it your way. I’m just saying that your customers aren’t loyal to you. They would throw you under a bus for a $20 discount with your biggest competitor. The moment you stop offering sales and discounts, or someone cheaper than you enters the market, your audience will jump ship. In a heart beat.
So, if you want a loyal audience filled with die-hard repeat customers who tag their friends into everything you post with the comment “@BFF this is the brand I was telling you about!!!” then stop posting promotional content at your audience and start building relationships with them instead.
What to do if your content marketing is icky
Look, if all of this is hitting a bit too close to home – if you are looking at your content thinking “eep, my last 10 social media posts *absolutely* sound like a used car salesman desperate for a sale” then don’t panic. We can fix this.
The first step is to create content streams.
Content streams are different topics that you post about in your content marketing activities. They have two main purposes – the first is to ensure that you not posting too much of the same type of content (ie. promotional / sales content), and the second is to ensure that the ‘filler’ content you’re posting in between sales posts isn’t actually ‘filler’.
It is strategic, it has purpose, and it connects you with your audience, ensuring that when you do post promo content, they are more open to hearing/seeing/reading it.
Ok, so we’re going to keep this quick and simple – we have posted about content streams in more detail previously. Ideally, you will have 5-8 different content streams and every time you post, your content will fall into at least one of the streams (there can be some cross-over sometimes and that is completely fine).
What are your content streams? Well that will vary depending on your brand, your audience and your marketing goals. But some common streams include:
- Value – Usually either entertainment or education, value posts are designed to give your audience *free* value and a reason to follow you. If your audience don’t gain value from following you, they will leave.
- Connection – You will usually have 2-3 different connection streams; they are designed to give your audience insight into who you are, and why you do what you do. Connection streams will usually tie in with your brand values, and they share your story and background so that people can relate with your brand.
- News / Events / Announcements – Pretty self-explanatory.
- Thought Leadership – want to be an industry leader? You’ll need to create and post industry-leading content. #Simples.
- Promotional – yes, there it is! The icky content! But you know what? When you’ve done all of the above first (given value, connected and established yourself as a knowledgeable source of information) – then when you do post promotional stuff, it’s not going to come off so icky.
Once you’ve got your content streams sorted, start using them. Create content for each stream and post it evenly. A content calendar is a great tool here – you can plot in when you have to post promotional content – new product launches, planned sales etc. and work backwards. Make sure that in the lead up to every promotional piece, you’re posting something of value for your audience (an entertaining video, a myth buster, a tip or trick etc), something designed to connect with your brand (‘meet the team’, ethically sourced materials, your story etc.), and something designed to establish your knowledge within your industry (an editorial piece, commentary on relevant current news/events, examples of how you’re leading the way in your industry etc.).
Then, when it finally comes time to tell your audience about your sale, new product or general awesomeness, they will be much more interested, engaged and likely to follow through with a conversion.
Final Thoughts on Icky Content Marketing:
If you’re still not sure if your content marketing is icky, or if you don’t think there is a problem with having icky content marketing, think of it this way: if you wouldn’t walk up to some stranger at a networking event and start blasting that information at them, then you shouldn’t be blasting it on social media.
Take a bit of time to get to know your audience. Ask them some questions about themselves. Take interest when they pull out their kid’s baby photos. Give them some free advice. And make sure they have a drink in their hand before you launch into your sales pitch.
If you want help with your content marketing, get in touch. We help with content marketing strategy (the content streams stuff), content marketing training (for the DIYers who need a bit of help to get started), and complete end-to-end content creation and implementation.