content marketing promotion

Making your content marketing work as hard as it possibly can for your business is a challenge. While smart marketers understand that the key to success rests on a content strategy that consistently reaches, engages and builds a relationship with the right audience, it’s all too common for their best laid plans to go awry, all because they couldn’t resist from committing one of the biggest content marketing mistakes: too much self-promotion.

Leave the sales pitch at the door

A significant 79% of editors revealed that the biggest content marketing mistake they encounter is that it’s simply too promotional, according to a recent report, The State of Digital Media 2018. However, it’s all too easy to see how brands can fall down this rabbit hole – after all, it goes against every marketing instinct to allow an opportunity to promote your brand to fall by the wayside. But the bottom line is: this is not the purpose of content marketing.

Instead, you should be focusing your efforts on delivering true value to your audience while growing your following. And shoehorning self-promotion into your content can come across as clunky, inauthentic and ultimately stand in the way of your goals.

So, how do you eliminate promotion from your content? Here are a few of my best practice tips…

It’s not about you

I often say to clients that the place for the sales pitch isn’t their content. Sales speak is more likely to be better suited to their website and other marketing material. A great way to ensure you’re keeping your content clean of self-promotion is to consider who the content is really serving on the surface – is it clearly your business or clearly the customer?

If you can’t say, with confidence, that the content you’re about to post has been created specifically to educate, assist, entertain or in some other way offer value to your audience, you may have a problem. As Forbes puts it: “when you focus on the audience, everyone wins.”

With this is mind, be sure to keep at least some of your content neutral and educational. Demonstrate knowledge of your audience and an understanding of the challenges that keep them awake at night. Give away some knowledge, tips/best practice – give them something they can go and action for themselves.

Resisting the temptation to jump in with both feet and sell, will help win the trust of your audience and consequently ensure they are much more receptive to sales messages when they do see them.

How to talk about yourself in content

I’m not saying that it’s never appropriate to mention your brand in your content. However, it must be done with care to avoid risking the valuable connection you are building with your audience.

Sometimes it can work well to mention your brand in the form of anecdotal evidence – something you did that illustrates or brings to life the advice you’re giving. Sharing expertise and educating others through your experiences will reinforce your position as an industry thought leader and subtly sell your product or service.

Content marketing done right takes time and effort. Don’t undo your excellent work with ill-timed self-promotion. Your audience will thank you for it, and they’re the ones you should always want to keep happy.