By Christoph Trappe, Chief Storyteller at the Authentic Stoytelling Project and IMA Internet Marketer of the Year
We should tell the stories that are most relevant to our audiences – whomever they might be. If the story is of relevance to them and if we have expertise in the area we absolutely should share what we know.
Why wouldn’t be? Blogging and social media are always about sharing our expertise with our communities (aka target audiences). Whether or not we sell a particular service is irrelevant.
I blog about things all the time that I don’t directly sell services for. All my blog posts have some relation to authentic storytelling, social media, content marketing and my thoughts and (I hope) expertise in the particular topic at hand.
I knew I was doing it right when a while back somebody who connected with me through my blog said to me in an offline conversation:
“I love your blog. It’s so relevant. What do you do as a job, though?”
“Get hired by organizations just like yours to help them do what I (for the most part) blog about.”
That’s content marketing! It’s about sharing super relevant stories first, connect to each other and then at some point you may potentially buy services from each other. When those services are relevant, people will buy because you’ve established that trust over time.
Selling online and through content is a long-term process and it’s not actually about directly selling right now. In fact, I’ve said before that I believe that journalists make such great content marketers is because they can distance themselves from the selling aspect.
When journalists report stories, they don’t think about advertising or how many papers will be sold. They think about the story at hand. How to share it fairly and accurately and whether or not they might be missing some facts and have to call another person to complete the story.
Some marketers on the other hand use terms like: state of the art, innovative, the best and other superlatives that make us tune out because they aren’t believable coming from them anyway.
We should think wisely as we consider what content to produce and what calls to action are relevant, but it’s not only about the call to action and getting people to do something. Calls to action are just fine when they are meaningful to the reader. If the only call to action a big red button that’s offering your main service, that’s not a customized call to action based on content.
From my experience across dozens of projects I can say this: The best and most relevant stories are produced when we think about the call to action early on to help us focus some. But then it’s set aside and content producers focus on shaping the best and most relevant story for the reader.
Content producers are humans, too, and as humans we focus on the things we focus on. So, if we focus on the sale, we sell. If we focus on the story, we focus on that.