Recently I was talking to a friend about a situation that plays itself out in so many companies every single day. A ‘social media guy/girl’ pushes for their company to start using social media, in this case we’ll say it’s a blog. The company finally agrees, but never pays attention to the blog until one day the company realizes that the blog is driving traffic to the website and generating leads for the business.
Then suddenly The Monetization Police step in and start looking for ways to leverage the blog as a promotional channel for the company. The irony here is that good content is just about the best commercial possible for your business. When you take good content and try to change it to sell more stuff, it usually becomes bad content.
Instead of looking for ways to change good content into crappy content by adding a sales pitch, look for ways to leverage good content to extend interactions with your customers. Here’s some ideas:
1 – Ask for email newsletter signups. When you create valuable content, your customers will appreciate you letting them know that they can get MORE valuable content by signing up for your newsletter.
2 – Ask for the share. We all love to share great content, so ask your readers to tell their friends about your great content, to tweet it, post a review, whatever is applicable.
3 – Ask for the sale. Instead of changing your content into a commercial, try simple adding a relevant call-to-action at the end. For example, write an article telling customers how to build their own birdhouse, then add a code for 10% off the supplies when they place their next order.
The common thread here is that if you create valuable content for your readers, you have done them a favor. As such, you have earned the right to ask for something in return. Now the key is to make sure you never ask for more than you give, but understand that your customers appreciate good content, so they will be willing to help you in return.
Social media never has and never will work well as a direct-selling channel. It works far better as a channel to build relationships with customers. Once that relationship is built, then an environment exists where sales are possible. Create the valuable content first, then ask for the sale.