From the Trenches

Stop Blowing Your Own Horn – Content Marketing is Not Sales

Will Davis | June 20, 2011

It’s without a doubt the biggest mistake I see when it comes to any form of content marketing – people spend too much time blowing their own horns.  Whether through social media, blogging, bylined articles, email marketing or any other form of content, you can’t spend the vast majority of the time selling your self-proclaimed greatness.

Think about it – it’s no different than if you are at a networking event or a party.  Nobody wants to spend time cornered by the person who only talks about themself, everything they have been doing, and how wonderful they are.  Typically, the cornered person tries to run from that conversation as quickly as possible (I have a few well-tested escape tactics – email me if you need them).  Yet companies think nothing of sending sales focused email newsletters, blogging about how great their company is, and generally running down the path of self-promotion.

People often ask us to explain why they should invest time or dollars in content marketing, or say they want social media when they really want content marketing. The problem? They just don’t know what content marketing is.  My simple explanation is to ask this question: what would you do if you had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the best event in your industry? Wouldn’t that opportunity be great?  And wouldn’t you want to get up there and make a fantastic speech or presentation to that audience?  You certainly wouldn’t get up there and just talk about yourself for an hour, right?  Content marketing provides that same opportunity, but it is ongoing, not once a year, you don’t have to travel – you don’t even have to wear your best pressed suit and sweat too much.

As Mike Sweeney always says “educate, educate, educate” and it’s true. The best content marketing primarily involves sharing knowledge, helping people learn or understand something new, and only then can you write the occasional piece about your own company.  When done right, content marketing absolutely supports your sales efforts –but you can’t use it to make the hard sell or it falls flat on its face.  So stop blowing your own horn.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Want to post a whole bunch of great stuff about your company here?  Chime in with your comments below.

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