It doesn’t have to be salesy
3 min read

It doesn’t have to be salesy

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 2,619 subscribers spend five minutes getting better at content creation and strategy.

“I already know it won’t be valuable to the reader. It’s going to be salesy.”

This week I met with a marketer – who we’ll call Mia – from one of the teams I advise. She called for some guidance while she started building a few email funnels for prospects.

“What do you mean, not valuable?” I asked.

“Well, it’s a stat all about us: Teams who use [company name] close deals 45% faster.”

One of the biggest misconceptions is that some topics are innately boring, irrelevant, or simply provide no value to the reader. This isn’t true. Not by a long shot.

Sure, some topics are more valuable or easier to connect to things that your reader cares about,  but with the right approach you can turn any message into a valuable piece of content.

This is usually hardest when talking about yourself or your company.

Feature releases, company announcements, launching your podcast, etc – these things are about you, not your audience. So how do you get them to care?

When creating content, always ask yourself: Why should my reader care? What's in it for them?

All great content is insightful, relevant, and actionable. And you can piece them together in multiple ways to create something your audience enjoys consuming.

Here’s a framework you can rely on, plus how we solved it for Mia:

  1. Isolate what your reader cares about from your message

For Mia, I had her isolate the topic her audience cares about from her proof point:

Teams who use [company name] close deals 45% faster.

I asked her, “Which part of that sentence do ALL sales people care about?”

“...Closing deals faster?”

“Bingo! We’re going to turn this email about your proof point into value for your reader. This will condition them to expect value from you, even when you talk about yourself. And that’s how you earn their attention the next time they reach out.”

Next, we build on that topic.

2. Provide value

Now that you know what your reader cares about, deliver on it.

Remember, you will build a loyal audience if you make their lives easier, personally or professionally.

There are countless ways to do this. Here are a few:

  • Tell a story where you learned the hard way
  • Create a list of tips from your experience
  • Break down a problem step-by-step (like I’m doing right now…)

If Mia’s audience cares about closing deals faster, then let’s help them close deals faster.

I suggested a story where her founder (and author of the email), struggled with the problem that the proof point solves. In other words, share a time where a deal took forever to close and what he learned from it. That realization is the value for the reader.

Now, connect the dots.

3. Create connective tissue

Now you have valuable content and the “about you” message you want to share.

But you need to connect them so the content flows and makes sense.

This relies on a transition. I use “That’s why” all the time, and it works because it’s simple. There are plenty of options, so I won’t  list them all. But no need to overthink it.

Value + that’s why… + your message.

Here’s how Mia’s email ended up:

  1. Introduce the problem her audience cares about: Deals that drag on and on are stressful.
  2. Provide value: Founder’s experience + learning for reader
  3. Connective tissue: That’s why I started my company – to solve this problem for you
  4. Share your message: Proof point
  5. CTA – sign up for a demo to solve said problem

Notice the entire email is for the reader even though it’s not about the reader.

Even if they don't sign up for her demo, they still got something from the email.

Sure as hell beats blasting product-focused marketing emails that get most of their engagement via the Unsubscribe button. Bleh.

This is one of the most valuable skills any marketer or content creator can have: How to turn ANY topic into value for the reader.

If you want to elicit your desired action AND build loyal fans along the way, every piece of content must serve the reader.

So even if the message is about you, it doesn't have to be salesy.

Holler at you next week,

Did you get value from this post? I’d be honored if you shared this link with your friends or on LinkedIn. Here’s an example from Ryan Dinkler for inspiration.