It’s common wisdom among marketers that most long-form content should be, at most, mildly promotional.
The goal is to help the reader or prospect. Then, prospects will gradually come to see the company as expert at solving their problems, and they’ll sign up for a demo or reach out for a discovery call. That is how long-form content grows businesses.
But not all marketing content should be nonpromotional. The question is, then, How promotional should each marketing content asset be? How do companies figure out the proper level of promotion across their content marketing mix?
When determining how promotional marketing content should be, consider three principles:
The stage of the customer journey to which the asset speaks
The overall mix of your company’s content.
1. Adapt the marketing content’s level of promotion to the channel it appears on
The most common reason editors reject thought leadership bylines is that they are overly promotional. In those cases, companies or their marketing agencies write the byline—which is supposed to be a vendor-neutral op-ed that advances the ideas in an industry—like an ad, and the editor rightly rejects it.
Why? Because the point of an op-ed in a third-party media publication is not to sell a solution; it’s to educate readers about industry best-practices. Promotional byline writers have jumped the gun.
The first principle for gauging the appropriate level of self-promotion in marketing content is to adapt your content’s level of promotion to a specific channel, or choose a channel for a content asset based on its level of promotion.
Thought leadership guest bylines should be, at most, minimally promotional.
Blog posts are owned assets, so they can be as promotional as you like.
Social media content should be a mix: Some self-promotion is fine, but too much and you’ll risk alienating the audience you’re striving to build by being helpful.
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Publication Date: 2023-03-22