What is selfless, relevant content? This question is something that we are often asked when going over a new integrated digital marketing plan with one of our new clients. Selfless content is content that is relevant to your target customers needs and interests, yet often has nothing to do with your brands products or services. It’s about putting time, attention and resources toward creating professionally developed content that speaks to your customer about their lives, outside of what your brand does.
Yes, we are very serious. We know that spending the time and resources to create content that isn’t a pitch for your product may sound counter productive to you and a lot of other brand executives, but you need to understand the premise behind this process and why it is effective.
But before we get into all of that, it’s important to understand the two very different segments of digital content for online marketing. The two types of online content are promotional and selfless content. Let’s define them individually and explain the differences.
What Is Promotional Content
One is promotional content that is designed to educate and entice customers about your products and services, their benefits, features and advantages over the competition and how it solves your customers problems. Promotional content is usually a sales pitch designed to get the customer to buy or at least get their interest in the product or service that your company offers. This is the most common type of content that brands create because it is intuitive to selling, which is the common sense reason for creating digital content for most people.
Nearly every online ad that you have ever seen would likely fall into the promotional content category. Sadly, most blog, graphic and video content that brands produce also fall into the promotional category. It’s all about them, their brand and their products.
Creating promotional content is a must and we are not, nor would we ever advocate that a brand NOT create promotional sales content. But what we are saying is that you have to also create selfless relevant content for your audience if you’re going to be as effective as you can be.
What is Selfless Relevant Content?
Let’s define what we mean by selfless content. We are talking about professionally produced videos, graphics, blogs and articles, which are created about the topics that drive your target audience. More importantly, it’s about creating and posting this kind of digital content on a consistent daily, weekly and monthly basis that is developed using a well researched and developed strategy that understands your audience and what drives them online.
Creating Selfless Relevant Content
When we create content for our clients it is always based on initial research. We spend hours researching the specific industry, competitors, product niches and of course customers. You have to understand your market and the audience you are trying to impact. Once the research is in, we develop a targeted strategy for the overall digital marketing efforts and the content that will be created for the ongoing program.
The content strategy always incorporates both types of content, promotional and selfless relevant content that is to be created on a consistent basis. Every single client and industry is different, so the amount and type of content being created is also different from client to client, however let me give you an example.
We might write 4 blog posts per month for a specific client, two of which are industry related and in some way contain a promotional slant, and the other two blog posts are focused on other relevant interests to the brands target audience. Additionally, for every video or graphic that we produce each week, half will be promotional or industry related and the other half would be selfless and focused on the interests of the target audience. This is a very simplified example, but I think you get the general idea.
3 Important Purposes For Selfless Relevant Content
Outside of promotional content, there are three extremely important goals for selfless relevant content consistently being created and distributed online. Let’s discuss each individually.
Content That Gets Attention
Content that is not a sales pitch can get attention where promotional content will not. For example, if your target audience loves coffee and you create content surrounding coffee, it will get attention by your intended audience, even though you do not sell coffee.
Content That Creates Connection
Similar to getting attention, selfless content can create a connection with your target audience. We know people hang around people like them, relate to people like them and are interested in similar things as people like them. So by creating selfless content that speaks to your target customers interests, you create a connection that brings down barriers and opens their mind to hearing about what you actually do.
Content That Drives Traffic
The third most important purpose for consistently creating selfless relevant content is to drive traffic. Not just any traffic, but people who you know need what you do. This kind of cold traffic can come through search or social sharing and bring eyeballs to your website, blog and other online properties when it is done properly.
In today’s digital world, brands have to become media production companies (or at least have professionals helping you) to create consistent selfless, relevant AND promotional content online. You have to understand that the reason social media and the internet is so popular is precisely because of the content found there. If you’re not creating content that is attracting, connecting and driving traffic, your competition will.