Is Your Content Marketing Too Sales-y?

December 22, 2014 Maria Valdez Haubrich

content marketing

Is your B2B company’s content marketing failing to connect with your customers and prospects? Maybe it’s because your content is too “hard sell.”

Yes, the ultimate goal of content is to sell something—but if your sales pitch is too blatant, it will turn prospects off. In a recent report from The Economist Group, more than 70 percent of executives say they dislike content that feels like a sales pitch.

Ironically, however, 75 percent of the same executives say their content marketing frequently mentions their companies’ products and services. Apparently, they’re suffering from a case of “do as I say, not as I do.”

If B2B prospects don’t want content that sounds like a sale pitch, what do they want? Here are the types of content they say are most useful to them:

  • Articles: 71 percent
  • Research reports: 51 percent
  • Briefing papers: 27 percent
  • Newsletters: 19 percent

So how can you make your content marketing less sales-y and more useful? Here are some tips:

  • Limit mentions of your product or service—or don’t mention them at all. The fact that the content comes from your company speaks for itself. Use your company name, logo and other branding tools in subtle ways, such as the title of your white paper, the footers of your ebook or the preroll of your video.
  • Provide valuable information that helps the prospect make a choice, learn something or do something better. Even if they don’t choose to go with your company, they’ll gain a positive impression of it because you were willing to share this information.
  • Enlist third-party sources. If you want to compare your product to the competition’s, try referring prospects to third-party sources instead of making the comparison yourself. For example, you could link out to a respected review site’s comparison of the top products (including yours) or an article about your product by an industry publication.

Speaking of video, a whopping 85 percent of respondents say they prefer text to video and audio when they are making business purchasing decisions. Video can attract prospects, but combine it with textual information for best results.

Finally, while mobile is moving more and more into the business world, 78 percent of respondents still say they generally use a laptop or desktop computer to view B2B marketing content. Don’t ignore mobile, but keep in mind that your audience is most likely in the office when dealing with your content, and take advantage of the greater real estate available to you.

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Author information

Maria Valdez Haubrich

Maria Valdez Haubrich

Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.

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