Is Content Education? How to Create a Balance Between Informative and Profitable
Content marketing in 2019 is continuing to evolve. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” formula to get it right, there are some general guidelines for success that you can follow.
Content marketing in the future will be focusing even more on the value that it provides to the people reading it. Still, you might be asking what is the point of creating educational articles when they are not directly influencing your sales?
The truth is, content marketing in 2019 is most successful when you balance things out – not too promotional and concisely informative. Why? Here are all of the reasons!
The Content Marketing See-Saw
Our time in today’s world is very limited. But is not only the lack of time that’s the problem, it is also our laziness. Content has reached a point where it has to deliver exactly what the title is claiming that it would deliver, otherwise you will stumble upon deaf ears.
On the other hand, our laziness often prompts us to rely on information-rich content regardless of the topic. After all, who likes to read long case-studies on why aloe vera is beneficial for the skin. We don’t want to know the research methods and the molecular structure of the plant – we just want to know why it is beneficial.
Here’s one very evident proof to support the above claims – think of the popularity of shows like Doctor Oz and all of those Ted Talks videos that you have seen being shared on social media. The content is condensed to the core points without unnecessary information for the ordinary reader. They are made to fit the vast majority of people who are looking for short answers.
The case is the same with content marketing in 2019. You need to aim for informative yet don’t bore your readers with unneeded information. After all, if they wanted to know about something in the tiniest details, they wouldn’t be on your website but they would be reading complicated scientific studies.
Content marketing of the future needs to tackle the main pieces of information to a reasonable extent of explanation.
But (and this is a big but), a lot of the content that you find online will not reveal the true picture of how things are. It is not uncommon for marketers to twist the stories around to support their claims – or if you want to describe it using the Word of the Year 2017 (which technically is a phrase, not a word): FAKE NEWS.
But “Fake news” can turn into “Bad news” for companies who are using such unethical practices. Companies like Facebook and Google are already actively taking steps to eliminate false claims, so it is of a crucial importance not to mislead your readers.
But What About the Promotional Side?
The promotional aspect of your content is equally important since, after all, you are writing the content to move your business forward. However, creating sales pitches would mean that you have completely missed the point of content marketing.
So should your content be promotional or informative?
Yes, content can be both informative and promotional, you just need to find the right balance!
The balance between promotional and informative content can be defined in two different ways:
Finding the right balance by publishing both informative and promotional pieces
Finding the right balance between promotional and informative within one same piece
Both of these definitions are applicable and they can even work together.
Balancing the Number of Articles
The first definition implies that you need to separate promotional from informative content. But where do you draw the line?
According to Steve Duran, the magic formula is 30:60:10. Even though his solution was originally created for social media for businesses, the rule is still applicable to content marketing as well. In his view, the type of content should be divided into three categories, taking up different percentages of your overall content: 30% for unique original content, 60% for relevant, related content that reputable companies have reported on, and 10% of promotional content.
You might be wondering why the biggest portion goes to redoing content that other people did. This can refer to many different things, but it mainly refers to finding relevant scientific or case studies (let’s’ say, about an ingredient in one of your products) and narrowing it down to the key points as we’ve discussed before.
Achieving Balance Within the Content
When it comes to balancing the content, it is quite similar to the 30:60:10 rule. It is actually the same principle yet condensed into one article rather than your entire content marketing strategy.
To do this, you would need to start with a punching headline and entertaining intro to catch the attention of the reader – that’s your 30% original content. The main body of the article should contain credible sources, up-to-date information and value to the customers. After establishing authority by quoting information from reputable websites, it is time to self-promote. At the end of the article, you can promote your product that fits the content the best and briefly describe the benefits.
How to Do That?
Regardless if you like the first or the second option more, the most important thing to do before starting to write is to create an outline and devise a plan. If strategically planned, every piece of writing can be both promotional and informative to a different degree depending on what you are trying to achieve.
You need to establish is your goal. Is the main purpose of the article to drive sales or to raise awareness?
Let’s go back to the aloe vera example from previously. If the goal is to sell, then your article should include the general benefits of the aloe vera plant then move to explain how the aloe vera in your product can benefit the user. On the other hand, if the main goal of the article is to inform, you need to focus more on the plant itself, describing its benefits in more detail and close to the end you need to mention that because of all of those reasons, aloe vera found its way to the list of ingredients on your product.
Finding the right balance between promotional and informative content is not as complicated as it might seem on first glance. It is all about setting a goal and aiming towards it. Content marketing in 2019 should mainly educate the readers, while subtly acting like a non-pushy salesperson (we are yet to find one such salesperson, though).