You have established yourself as a subject matter expert in your niche. People continue to read your content because it offers answers to their problems. What they don’t want from you is to do a hard sell on them.
If you try to overtly sell anything to anyone, you will most likely not succeed and in the process, you may lose some very valuable business relationships. In fact, if your writing is about selling, they won’t bother to read your content at all. They will read other people’s content and become loyal to them instead of to you.
When it comes to your promoting your business, there is definitely an appropriate place and time to communicate about what you offer. In fact, it is appropriate to put your call-to-action in a resource box at the bottom of a blog article that you have posted and syndicated as well as putting some type of promotional content on your website’s landing page. Of course, it is not advisable for you to do this before you have established a relationship with your online connections that is solid and one in which those people find you credible and trustworthy. It is extremely important that your content is informational and educational and doesn’t in any way read like an infomercial.
Another good reason to steer clear of self-promotion in your content is that you will have a more difficult time getting it published, especially if you submit your articles to business directories. The reputable business directories have strict guidelines when it comes to what they will accept and what they will not accept. There are many ways in which content can come across as being self-promotional, which should be avoided whenever possible. The following are types of content that you would be better off avoiding:
- Mentioning money: Mentioning any money amount in your articles does not offer any real value to your readers. It doesn’t give them anything that they can walk away with. It is no different than the content that you would find in an advertisement. On the other hand, if you give people information that they want and need, they will keep coming back to you for more and more information.
- Dropping names: The only appropriate place to put your call-to-action in your article is in the resource box at the bottom of the page. The article body should be used for tips, hints, tricks, and other substantive copy. The concept is that you entice them with valuable information and once they have become interested in what you have to say, you provide them with a way to continue the relationship with you by giving them your contact information.
- Reviews of other products: It is perfectly acceptable for you to post unbiased reviews of other people’s products and services as long as you have no connection to them. Remember, of course, that it is important that you don’t provide a direct link to the owner of the products and services because that would be promotional on their behalf.
- No outline: Writing from an outline is a great tool. Once you have finished writing an outline that you feel you can depend on, you should stick to it as religiously as possible. The outline will keep you focused and on track in your mission to stay away from any sort of promotional content.
- Wishy-washy messages in your title: It is very important to have a strong article title (always) and to also make sure that your title ties in closely with the rest of the article. Your message should be clear and focused. Your goal is to get your readers to stick with you and read the entire article and then want to read more and more of what you are writing.
The heart of the problem with content that is self-promotional
The problem with content that is self-promotional is that its goal is to convert readers into customers right away. It is not a healthy relationship if your readers become clients before you have had a chance to develop a relationship with them in which they have come to trust you and consider you an expert in your niche or industry. Building credibility is critical to the success of your business. If you don’t have credibility, you won’t have customers. You need to make sure that if you go anywhere near promotional ideas in your content, you are subtle and you don’t make it all about selling. It is always important to make the other person feel that they are in control of making their own decisions and if you build a solid relationship with him or her and they eventually want to buy from you, they will do so wholeheartedly.
The interactions that you have online for your business are key to your success. The relationships that you share with others must be cultivated, nurtured, coddled, and maintained on a regular and consistent basis. At the heart of those relationships is human emotions. The hard sell has no place in that phase of the relationship. The reason that people will eventually want to buy from you is that they trust you and believe that you will give them the best products and services for them based on your deep understanding of what they need and want.
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About the Author.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).