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Three compelling ways to create content that sells (in a subtle, social way!)

Good content is all about capturing your audience.

Like the excitement we feel when reading the first few pages of a new book, we want our followers to read on, to want more detail. Engaging content creates an emotional response, like that generated by lovable characters, or the beauty of a scene described in perfect detail. Our favourite authors can control our mood and emotions simply through words on a page. Can we even hope to recreate that captivation through our social media posts? Since social media gave us a ‘page’, we’ve been striving to fill it with the best content we can produce. As small businesses, social media can be an enormously powerful tool. By using it to build our brand and raise our profile, we can achieve growth that would have costs thousands through the paid media channels of old. But what are the qualities of good content?

  1. Relevance

We’ve all got connections who continually share on social media – cat videos, memes, other people’s news – the main theme being that they’re mass viral posts to which your connection adds nothing. Do you find you move on quickly from these profiles?

The key to content which will enhance your personal and professional brand is ‘relevance’. Think about who your audience is, and what they might be interested in. Try to post a variety of content but all related to your core business interests or values: you are looking to be front of mind across your skillset. You’re not selling with this content; instead you are gently suggesting ways you might be able to help your audience.

  1. Composure and composition

I’ve grouped these two things together because they are both about thinking before you speak/write and getting this element of your content wrong can cause problems, whichever way you look at it. Composure is about taking the time to think through the purpose of your content. Are you telling a story? What is it illustrating? Are you trying to make a point? Is it linked to your business messaging or does it stray into the choppy waters that are politics, religion or sex? Keyboard warriors beware. What goes on social media stays on social media. Having a good rant might make you feel better at the time of writing, but do you want your views on British politics to forever define your brand or offering? Composition is also about taking a moment. I read many posts that simply don’t make sense. Words are missing, context is confused and there’s no obvious point to the content. The best content will use story telling as a format – but that doesn’t mean it needs to be long and complex. Set out your context, add some detail or relevance to your message and then make your closing point. Too much detail will mean you lose your audience.

  1. Purpose

Digital marketing is very focused on presence, rather than necessarily hammering home a sale. Social Selling, or Digital Selling, is a longer-term, slower-burn approach to business. Based on relationship building, it involves serving up content that will help your audience with a challenge or by sharing nuggets of expertise. People often worry about doing this. They feel they are giving away their services for free but this is a short sighted attitude to have. My previous blog illustrates the facts and figures related to today’s buyer journey, which are compelling when it comes to push versus pull.

So, before you publish, ask yourself: What do I want people to do or think when they read this content? Am I serving my audience by giving them something that is useful? Am I posting something which relates to my business and is what my audience might expect to see?

To summarise, content marketing as a concept has grown out of the social media feeds’ hunger for content. It’s a new way of selling, pull not push, inbound not outbound and it’s based on quality, authenticity and relationship building.

This is a guest blog from one of my associates. Emma Rundle is a copywriter and networking professional, dedicated to helping small businesses grow and learn. She runs the West Chilterns region of womens’ networking group The Athena Network and has been delivering killer content through Melting Pot Creations for five years.