To paraphrase Doug Kessler, Velocity Marketing:
While there’s a lot of craft in the practice of content marketing, the core of the discipline is very, very simple: you have to be able to answer three questions quickly, clearly and compellingly:
- Who the hell are you?
- Why should I care?
- Why should I believe you?
If you can answer these three questions well, you’ll have done the hardest and most important part of your content marketing job. You'll also make the other parts of your job a lot easier.
While Doug writes this as part of his Holy Trinity of Technology Marketing, these questions are foundational for writing any kind of marketing content.
The devil is in the nuances, of course. I'll give you a bad email marketing sample of how NOT to do this:
I'm Patsi Krakoff, from The Blog Squad, award-winning blogger. I've got a great deal for you. You can save 50-75% off all my products by joining my list. I've never offered this amazing discount before and I'm taking it off the table in 4 hours. Thousands have already joined, don't be left out.
I was trying to be really awful here, but even if I weren't, there are problems in answering these 3 questions while trying to write a credible and effective email promotion.
It's hard. Anytime you try to answer the question of who you are and why you are credible, you risk coming across as self-aggrandizing.
Other than saving 50% off unknown products, there's nothing here to tell me what benefits I'm going to get if I join.
It reeks of sleaze and cheap marketing lingo, destroying all chances of credibility. Here's more of what Doug Kessler says in his Velocity B2B Content Marketing ebook:
When you embark on a content marketing campaign, you’re leaving traditional marketing territory and entering the domain of the consultant, advisor, analyst and journalist. Unfortunately, you’re entering this domain with a bad reputation: you’re a vendor.
Because you’ve got something to sell, there’s a big, red, neon sign on your head that sizzles, “Caveat Emptor”.
Your job is to get people to ignore that sign for long enough to hear you out. You don’t do this by pretending you’re not a vendor or that you don’t see the neon sign on your head.
• You do it by being open, honest and balanced
• By respecting your audience
• By supporting each point in your argument
• By keeping your sales sword sheathed
So here's the challenge that arises: how do you sell with your sales sword sheathed?
You do it by building up to the sales and email marketing messages. They have to be preceded by content that provides quality relevant information that educates, entertains and engages with readers.
A sales message has to have a call to action, the request to buy, or click over to register, or whatever it's designed to do.
An email marketing campaign goes out to people already on your list, so they already "know who you are." You just have to convince them you understand their problems and have a solution for them.
It must speak to readers by addressing their needs and wants, what's in it for them? There has to be a balance between good story, reasons to act, and clear and simple call to action.
Let me try to write my email promotion again…
Are you fed up with buying ebooks that don't deliver good "how-to" tips? I know I am. What makes me really mad is that some "gurus" are charging $100 for info products that deliver their marketing pitches, instead of explaining clear steps to accomplish what I need to learn.
I'm going to put a stop to this. At least, for my own part, I'm not going to fall into the trap of under-delivering on my own ebooks.
From now on, you can buy my "how-to" ebooks for 50%-75% off just for joining my private list. I'm doing this so that I can get interested people on a list who want to be the first to get information and who can give me feedback if they wish. You get a good deal, I get to improve the quality of my stuff before I release it to the public at full price.
If this sounds like something you'd be interested in click here. No catch, no obligation. Just honest information at a good price for smart people who want to learn, not be marketed to.
What do you think about these different email campaigns? How else could it be improved?