It’s hard to market without content. It’s no small wonder that they are joined at the hip.
Content isn’t just for marketing. It can play a role in other areas of your business. Well, that is if you let it.
After all, the world doesn’t revolve around marketing. It just feels that way.
Like the child who wants to watch Star Wars for the 103rd time in the last month, it can be easy to forget there are other options available.
This is why I am writing this article today. It’s your friendly reminder that you need to think beyond marketing when creating content.
There are many important facets of your business but sales is one of the most important.
Sales and marketing should be working closely together but in many organizations, this just isn’t the case. That’s another topic for another post but sales and marketing are natural allies that can do much to help each other.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Let me first make sure you and I are on the same page.
What Is Content?
Years ago when I thought about content for my website I thought in terms of a blog post.
I think you would agree, this is a really narrow definition of content. This brings up the question, what exactly is content?
On your website, it’s your blog, home page, service page, and the about us page. It’s the pictures you use, the words you write, and the videos you create. If it’s on your website, it’s content.
But content goes beyond your website. It’s your email newsletter, your YouTube channel, and what you share on your social media pages.
It’s all content but not all of it is created for the same purpose.
The content you create on your home page is different than what you create for your service page. You create different content for your blog than you do for your newsletter. What’s on TikTok is likely not the same as what you would create and share on LinkedIn.
Content can be created to inform, teach, or entertain but it doesn’t have to be relegated to any of these roles exclusively. A piece of content can include all of these elements.
Content Isn’t Just For Marketing
The content you create has to be relevant to the type of business you have. If you have a medical practice you’re likely not creating content around accounting and vice versa.
When creating content you need to ask what, why, where, when, who, and how.
What are you creating? Why are creating it? Where is it going to be posted? When is it going to be posted? Who is going to create it? And finally, how is it going to be created?
When it comes to the “why” the reason for a business is typically related to marketing and public relations (PR) because it offers a myriad of reasons to create content such as:
- Thought Leadership
- Building Brand Affinity
- Building Brand Loyalty
- Build Trust
- Driving Traffic
- Generating leads
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Guest Articles
- Earned Media
These are only a few reasons and they are all important to your business.
People have to know you and trust you and content can help do this.
However, the mistake, as I told you in the introduction, is that content is only for marketing and communication.
There are multiple purposes for content outside of marketing.
For example, content can be created for the purpose of employee relations.
When I worked at Intel we had an internal website for employees called Circuit. Every day there were three new articles in relation to the company. They covered everything from current products, employees, programs, employee benefits, promoting the company culture, site news, and our history.
It was mostly in written form but they also produced a few videos (keep in mind this was in the early 2000s).
Every quarter, we had a meeting to talk about the most recent quarterly earnings report which included a 20-25 minute video covering topics relevant to the company and employees.
The company spent a ton of money on content specifically for employees to build loyalty and trust.
One of the most overlooked reasons for creating and using your content is for one of the most important pieces of your company: sales.
Money is like blood for your company. You need it in order to survive and the primary reason for sales is to close people to get the money your company needs to survive.
They need every tool you can give them to help close people and content can and should be one of those tools.
Using Content for Sales
For those of you with small companies, you may not have an official sales team. You may be the sales team.
Regardless, content can still help you in the sales process.
However, don’t confuse the sales process with marketing.
Marketing creates leads and then warms them up for sales. It should be doing some of those things I listed earlier. Building trust, building affinity, giving solutions, and driving traffic.
By the time a lead gets to sales, your hope is it’s just a formality. This all depends on how good your marketing is and how much people were exposed to it.
The truth is, rarely does somebody contact sales and say, “This is what I want. Here’s the money.”
Nobody’s marketing is this good on a consistent basis. Not yours. Not mine.
If this was the case you wouldn’t need a sales team. You would just need to hire people to take orders.
Not every person buying from you is exactly the same. Even though they are solving the same problem, they’ll have different concerns.
Using content in your sales process can be a big help in addressing those concerns.
Selling online isn’t new but it hasn’t necessarily been happening on a wide scale.
There are certain industries that have been a little slower than others in adapting. In many cases, small and medium businesses, especially at the local level have been a little slower to make a move online as well.
The pandemic completely changed the rules for all businesses as well as accelerated the move to online.
Regardless of whether you have a company that works on a national, regional, or local level, there is an expectation that your company has a digital presence.
This means you need content. It also means your sales team is more likely to sell online which means they need access to that content.
Instead of writing a long email or message, they can simply send a link to content that will answer the question. Plus it provides a more consistent experience for your customers.
In using content, you’re removing the barriers to help them become more efficient in what they do.
They can speak to more customers which gives them the opportunity to make more sales.
I will warn you, for this to work, you may need to break down some silos.
The marketing team and the sales team need to be partners with a good working relationship. If this isn’t the case, this will be a missed opportunity.
While customers may have similar journeys, not every journey is necessarily exactly the same. This means they may have missed the piece of content that addresses their particular concern.
When a lead contacts your sales team, they can identify if there is content to help them answer the question and get it into the hands of your lead. They don’t have to recreate the wheel because your marketing team already created what they need.
Your Sales Team Is A Great Resource for Content
Providing marketing content previously created content can help your sales team but you shouldn’t stop there.
Sales speaks to people on a regular basis. Your marketing team likely doesn’t have this luxury.
Other than possibly customer service, there isn’t a team within your organization that is a better resource for content ideas than sales.
They are hearing people’s concerns first hand and working to overcome objections.
What if your marketing team could take that information and turn it into content?
Imagine how much more powerful your marketing would be.
It could take the form of copy on your website and in ads. It could be mined to make videos and social media posts that strongly resonate with your prospects and customers.
It gets your company that much closer to the utopia that when customers contact they are ready to buy because the marketing spoke directly to them.
This in turn makes life easier for your sales team. There is nothing better for you than when somebody has already sold themself before contacting sales.
Marketing isn’t sales but it does work to show the value of what you sell. If the customer’s journey is a relay race your marketing and communications team are talking the baton the first three legs before handing it off to your sales team to bring home the win.
Content has a place in the sales process. For the benefit of your company, don’t ignore it.