Put some entertainment in your sales pitch, and you’ll never pitch again.
It’s not always easy making your case online, especially when you have a product or service to sell. The sheer amount of white noise out there makes it easy to get lost in the crowd, between pop-ups, sponsored video, corporate social media accounts and the never-ending quest to be the next big viral hit.
As a flipside to that, users are infinitely warier now of when they’re being sold to. The guard is constantly up with everything they read, watch, share and experience that someone is trying to sneak in a plug somewhere. That’s not to say they’ll necessarily be put off by a pitch, but it’s getting harder and harder to get a message in there without setting off their radar.
So how do you find out how to use content to sell? By ditching the sales pitch altogether.
Look, you want to make sure if you’re paying for content that it’s doing something for your business, right? You want to focus on growing your company, and devoting resources to letting your customers know your thoughts on everything from inside-the-industry updates to the latest episode of Game of Thrones seems counterproductive (but seriously; an Ed Sheeran cameo? C’mon.).
However, by focusing your content on key areas, you help strengthen your brand with consumers. It can either be a demonstration of your expertise, cementing your status as a thought leader, or it can be your thoughts on a current issue your customers are also facing, strengthening their ties to your brand. There are more ways to make content work for you than you may realize.
Here are three brands who using their blogs as a platform to strengthen their brand and increase their sales.
Ben & Jerry’s
Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s has always worn their beliefs on their sleeves, making causes such as environmental conservation and social justice central to their messaging.
It’s apparent in any of their free-standing stores, where signage encourages patrons to learn more about global warming, GMOs and a host of other issues. And it’s perfectly represented on their blog, which takes that unique niche they’ve incorporated into their branding and turns it into sharable blog posts on a litany of subjects.
Sure there is plenty of ice cream-related material here, from some off-the-wall recipes to “10 Borderline Genius Ice Cream Hacks” (we’ve gone our whole life without knowing the proper way to plug the leak in the bottom of an ice cream cone, and now it just feels wasted).
But if you look at the blog’s most popular content, a lot of it has nothing to do with ice cream. At the top of the list is “The 9 most inspiring things we saw at the peoples climate march” (which was a sequel of sorts to a tongue-in-cheek article “praising” the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement). Another blog in the top 5 most popular entries on the site shows why systemic racism is real.
Again, it seems counterintuitive to write that much about things other than ice cream when you’re an ice cream company. But for Ben & Jerry’s, these things go hand-in-hand with their branding. Find out what your causes are, then get started.
Fashion blogging is a surprisingly competitive game. Every millennial with enough fashion sense to at least try to coordinate their fedora with their loafers, it seems, has set out their shingle as a fashion blogger.
So if you’re already an established fashion brand, you have to work twice as hard to rise up above the crowd. And J. Crew does that in exactly the sort of style you’d expect from the brand that made their ubiquitous catalogue required reading for fashionistas.
Sure, there are entries touting the label’s wears, like this treatise on how good you could look wearing their postcard-print short (as an aside, we salute their grammatically accurate use of “short” rather than “shorts”), but there are also different “style hack” videos like how to pack and how to distress your own denim (other than, you know, wear it a while). There are even strictly lifestyle-oriented entries, like this post on Santa Barbara.
Again, we see how focusing on things corollary to the brand help strengthen position as an industry leader and build the brand. We also learn a few things about distressing jeans, which always helps.
You’d expect nothing less than amazing content from the eyeglass brand that was literally born online and arguably wrote the book on building a brand using Instagram.
Their blog is full of the same lifestyle-oriented content you’d find in their Instagram, given room to breath with blogs that are compellingly written and (naturally) offer tremendous artwork. Of course they’ll tout their own wares, but they also offer videos on where to see the upcoming eclipse, help you pick out your summer reading and even spotlight customer photos.
Here the emphasis is more on the customer – the Warby Parker blog almost comes off as a general lifestyle brand, somewhere you can go to check out the hip new thing or have your photography seen by a huge audience. Oh, and while you’re here, do you need some glasses?
Every brand has something to say. Whether it’s about causes near to their heart (and by extension, their customers’ hearts) or it’s just the lifestyle of their brand or their customers. If you can find out what your brand has to say, and want to put it down into words, these three brands are a great place to start if you want to see how it’s done right.
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