The past decade has seen a dramatic rise in the use of content for selling products. In fact some may argue that in today’s world, content may be the biggest fuel in product consumption. The reason is simple. People are getting smarter. Audiences don’t believe salesy pitches anymore. They don’t believe spammy emails as much as they used to. They’re not as receptive to cold calls. They don’t like receiving sales credit card offers in the mail as much. Am I saying these methods of selling are dead? Absolutely not. There will always be a place for cold calling, physical mail, and any other form of sales where “numbers” can lead to sales. In other words, if you do enough of something, regardless of the quality, you’ll eventually get some sales. However, if you want to up your conversion rates on your products or services, you’ve got to do a little bit better than that. You’ve got to be creative. And you’ve also got to sacrifice a little bit of yourself and your personal information. In other words, you’ve got to be real. Believability is probably the biggest currency in sales today and it’s those that are most relatable and believable that are going to be selling the most. So what type of content best sells products? Let’s get into it.
What are the most popular mediums of content consumption? As far as I can tell? Right now we’re looking at video probably being number one. Text will always have a place in this world but it’s pretty evident that video is taking over if it hasn’t already. With regard to where those mediums are consumed? Social media has a pretty strong foothold on all of this. Do you consider Youtube social media? Eh, Maybe. But honestly, any video platform where you can build a community to get some support for your product is a viable medium for disseminating content about you and your product. As far as where text is consumed? Physical publications are still around. Things like magazines and physical newsletters still have a place in the world but anything internet related is clearly the best place to start. Blogs, websites, email, you name it. Anywhere you can get your word out is a good place for the written word. So what type of content resonates the best with people? In my opinion there are 4:
1. Stories that educate
If you’re going to provide content for someone, make sure it educates them. But the more personal it gets, the better off you are. So what could this type of content look like? There are tons of formats. You could talk about a lesson you learned after making a huge mistake in your life. You can go straight for educating and not even bother with the stories. You can come at people from a humorous angle. You can use music to prove a point. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re making it 100% obvious to the viewer or reader that your intent is to educate them.
2. Stories that entertain
Whether it’s humor, drama, adventure, or anything else falling under the category of entertain, entertainment is the best medium for drawing attention. And in today’s internet? The goal is to draw the reader or viewer in within 2 seconds of the content starting. That means you’re either going to have to have a killer first sentence or a killer hook in your video. That might mean saying something outlandish, putting up a crazy visual, or anything that will keep the reader or viewer watching or reading. However, what differentiates a buyer from just a viewer is if you can connect this content to something you’re trying to sell (which is covered below).
3. Stories that create emotion
These are similar to entertainment only sometimes these types of stories can be more than just entertaining. Sometimes stories that shock are effective. Sometimes stories that are bizarre can be useful. Any time you can get the viewer or reader to be angry, sad, laugh, cry, or any powerful emotion after seeing your reading your material is a good thing. Remember, if you’re on social media, these things are controlled by an algorithm so even a negative comment is attention. Attention and interaction drive the algorithm. There’s nothing wrong with shocking or even offending the audience if you have a purpose.
4. The correct combination
Ideally you want to combine at least two of these three type of content. In my opinion “educate” should always be included especially if you want to sell something. If you’re just looking for likes, views, and follows then you can simply entertain. That’s totally fine. But if you want to take a viewer or reader from someone who’s just digesting your content to someone who’s then buying your product or service, you’ve got to educate them in some way. That or convince them they need to be educated. Otherwise it’s going to be close to impossible to get a sale. So make sure you’re either entertaining someone with an educational message or thought, or make sure you’re generating an emotion from them while at the same time educating them. If you can manage this combination on every piece of content? You’re golden. And finally do this:
Call to Action: The common denominator
If you’re good enough to both entertain and educate, that’s where you then throw in some kind of call to action. A call to action is pointing the viewer or reader in a certain direction. You might ask them to sign up for a newsletter, go to a certain website, send an email, anything. This let’s them know they’re now part of your community. A general rule of thumb is that your call to action shouldn’t be directly to your product or service. I happen to disagree with this but if you’re into creating sales funnels and putting people through a months long process before asking for the sale, that’s up to you. But let’s review:
Write a story or video that:
- MUST educate
- MUST either entertain or create an emotion
- Must combine education with entertainment or emotion creation
- Has a call to action
How do you do this?
- Create a hook in the first sentence or second
- Follow that with an entertaining or emotion creating segment that educates the viewer or reader
- At the very end give a very brief call to action