That’s what Microsoft founder Bill Gates declared in an essay he wrote in 1996. You could make the argument that content is even more royal today than it was in the 90s. Content attracts attention and draws prospective clients.
I’m a big believer in writing fresh, original content, because it makes a revenue generator’s job so much easier.
The article you’re reading right now exists for one reason: to draw attention to my sales training and consulting services and build a value-based connection between the readers and me.
As a professional speaker, I do ZERO advertising. The only “marketing” I do is write articles that are intended to be valuable for people in my target audience and post similar content on social platforms.
In other words, my advertising is simply content marketing – and it works. I receive a few calls each week from people who consume this content and want to talk about sales training or consulting services for their companies.
Don’t get me wrong; I do a lot of prospecting. I pick up the phone and send direct, customized texts and emails to company owners, VPs of sales, etc. But the primary way I get my name out there and attract leads in the first place is to generate content and make it public.
Perhaps you work for a company that engages in content marketing. If you’re part of a medium or large company, that’s almost certainly the case. If you’re an entrepreneur or are part of a small company, you might have to do it yourself.
Either way – big company or small – I believe that individual sales professionals benefit mightily when they do their own content creation and publish it personally on their own platforms. Disclaimer: check for any policies your company might have governing what employees can or can’t say publicly about company-related activities, so you don’t get in trouble.
If plan to generate leads through content creation, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to be interesting. Entertaining the reader is just as important as educating the reader. Pick a topic that relates to what you do professionally but is fascinating to others.
Content marketing is one of the most competitive games in the world. Because so many people do it, and because the internet makes it so easy to publish your IP, it’s difficult to stand out. Readers are overwhelmed with too many stimuli every day. In order for your content to win precious mind share, you have to be consistently good.
Write well. You don’t necessarily have to use the Queen’s English, because internet-based writing is famously casual compared to books and traditional journalism. But you do have to be clear, concise and general enough in your writing that an audience of diverse backgrounds can understand you.
Become familiar with the Associated Press Stylebook. You can find it at most bookstores and online. The vast majority of media outlets follow AP style. If you follow it, your writing will appear to be much more legitimate.
When composing posts or articles, use the “inverted pyramid” method of writing. The fat base of the upside-down pyramid is at the top of the article, and it represents the biggest, most significant, most newsworthy part of the story. The small, narrow tip of the pyramid at the bottom represents the least meaningful part of the story. Place great emphasis on the article’s first sentence also known as “the lead.”
Most of your writing should be in the active voice instead of passive voice. In other words, “The president vetoed the bill” is better than, “The bill was vetoed by the president.” Also, think back to your high school English classes. Use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. Proofread carefully. Tenses should be consistent. Subjects and verbs ought to agree.
As you write, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. You must make sure that someone who knows little about your subject, who quickly browses it, can understand and appreciate the message you are trying to convey. That is, unless, you are writing technical content for a highly sophisticated audience.
Any sales pro can enjoy increased name recognition and ultimately more business through writing. The trick is to do it properly and compel people to read your material. After all, the best-written article in the world is useless if people don’t read it.