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Marcus Sheridan’s 7-Step Guide to Creating Content That Sells

The content world of today is incredibly over-saturated. Everywhere you look on digital platforms, all kinds of brands and individuals produce content consistently and regularly. And it has become increasingly difficult to compete on the market level. Top that off with the fact that most content rarely generates sales, and you’re left wondering why you even bother in the first place.

However, the problem isn’t with the market. It’s with your content. As marketers and businesses, we often worry about how to get real results, like increased sales.

 

So, the question is, how can we create content that sells?

In this powerful session presented by one of Inbound’s most popular speakers of all-time, Marcus Sheridan introduces us to a complete 7-step guide to help you turn your company’s content strategy into a revenue-generating machine.

Most content today doesn’t sell or generate revenue. And as a result, marketers have ended up more frustrated than ever. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With these practical tips and advice on optimizing your content for your audience, Sheridan takes us through some outstanding content-building strategies.

But before we dive into those, let’s take a moment and discuss the premise on which Sheridan’s company, Impact, bases these strategies. It’s simple.

They ask, you answer.

It implies that potential customers have thousands of queries and problems that need to be addressed, and to create content that sells, you must address them. When you do this, you can produce the kind of content that induces customer trust, and in turn, leads to massive sales generation.

So, here are the five content keys that can help you create content that sells.

1. Make It A “Sales First” Initiative

The fundamental difference between content that sells and content that doesn’t is the extent to which leadership and sales are involved in the production process. This strategy is what can help your content succeed in the oversaturated digital market.

As a way to recognize where your company currently stands, here’s a question you can ask yourself about the content that’s already on your website:

How much of your content would your sales team want to integrate into their sales process right now?

If your answer to this was that they couldn’t, or the content your marketing team is producing doesn’t help them a lot, then you should realize that you’re wasting your time. It means that the content you’re currently making isn’t generating you much revenue. And if generating sales is your goal, then you need a different, better approach.

That’s where we come to the idea of working together to achieve better results.

The problem with a lot of our content is that it’s solely based on a marketing approach. And when most business owners have sales as their primary priority, this doesn’t make sense. How can you be a good marketer if you’re not even generating sales for your company?

The answer (and the first content key to creating content that sells) is to switch thinking like a marketer to review like a salesperson.

 

2. Start at The Bottom of The Funnel With “The Big 5.”

We’ve all more or less heard of the “funnel” concept in marketing. In this case, we start at the bottom (the narrow end) with buyers, then lookers, and then considerers. And our content should be reaching the end of the funnel: the buyers. However, according to Sheridan, most of our content isn’t even inside the funnel!

There’s nothing more important than reaching the buyers of your industry. They are the subjects that move every buying decision in every sector. And that’s where “The Big 5” comes in to help. 

The Big Five: What Do Buyers Care About?

  1. Cost
  2. Problems
  3. Comparisons
  4. Reviews
  5. Best

The Big 5 are the five key factors that buyers care MOST about. And unless you talk about these aspects in your content, you’re not doing an outstanding job at marketing. But that’s the problem. Most companies don’t like talking about things like cost or difficulties associated with their services. They think that if they make the buyers aware of such things, it would somehow decrease their sales. 

However, that’s a myth! For starters, we can’t afford to be aligned with our buyers. If they’re asking the questions, we must answer them.

For example, when it comes to cost (or price/rates), it’s crucial to be transparent and honest about it. It’s not the high prices that will scare your buyers away, but if they don’t even know what they are, they won’t have a reason to stay on your website. So, start by talking about prices, and then talk about problems, and before you know it, you’ll be building a solid foundation of trust with your customers.

Also, talking about prices doesn’t merely imply listing down how much your products cost. It means talking about market prices, talking about why something is as expensive as it is or why it’s not, and what factors contribute to its cost. Remember that the more you invest in educating your audience about these issues, the more they’ll trust and return to your content.

The Big 5 are like questions that sales teams get all the time! So, why should you wait for them to be asked to answer them? Start thinking like a buyer today and recognize the kind of queries you’d have if you were looking to buy your product/service. As long as you’re honest and transparent, you’ll see the results. You can create content that sells.

3. Make Your Sales Team Part of Your Content Team

It’s your sales team that’s usually getting the questions all the time. And because of this, they can help you create content. They know what’s happening, where the issues lie, and how to sell your brand. So, why wouldn’t you involve them?

But before they start contributing, your sales team must understand:

  1. How today’s buyer has changed (how people make buying decisions way before buying something)
  2. How their role is not just “sales” (it’s marketing too)
  3. How to think like a buyer 
  4. How to effectively communicate on camera

Creating content shouldn’t only be the marketing department’s burden. When you teach all your teams how to participate and make a collaborative effort towards creating content, it can be a gamechanger.

4. Create A “Learning Center” on Your Website

Once again emphasizing the need to educate your audience, Marcus Sheridan talks about the importance of having a “learning center” on your website. Whether that’s through publishing articles or blog posts or videos or buying guides, you should be creating hundreds of pieces of content to go on your website. And their sole aim should be to educate potential customers and to answer their questions about the industry. 

This kind of educational content is what will drive sales. When potential buyers see that you know what you’re talking about and that your company is a trustworthy source of information, they’re more likely to buy from you.

5. Teach Your Sales Team “Assignment Selling.”

Your sales team must learn how to integrate your content into the sales process. In other words, any content that the marketing department produces should also reach your sales team, and they should make an active effort to utilize it in any way that can benefit the company. 

Your sales team could make a massive difference in closing rates and buying rates if they knew how to integrate marketing content into the process! If you’re not sure where to start with this, ask yourself the following question:

How many pages of your website would your potential customers be willing to read before they would buy?

That’s what should tell you how much content you need to produce to get someone to buy your product or service. According to Sheridan, most customers tend to read more than 30 pieces of content on a single product or service before deciding to invest in it! And this number was even higher in other cases, going up to the hundreds. This shows us that every single content piece we create makes a huge difference. 

Therefore, you may want to consider increasing the amount of content you create and the educational value it offers. As Sheridan emphasizes, honest and transparent content is the most significant sales and trust-building tool globally.

6. Marketing Must Keep Everyone Aware (Content Newsletter)

If you want to involve your sales team in the marketing process, it’s the marketing department’s job to ensure that everyone on board knows what’s going on. For example, you could publish a content newsletter that functions to inform everyone on what content is currently being created, how much it is getting results, and what they should focus on moving forward.

As your marketing team takes these steps to keep the company aware of the process, people are more likely to be involved in optimizing your company’s content to its full potential. After all, what’s the point of creating content if your team isn’t aware of how to take advantage of it?

7. We Must Obsess Over Measurement of ROI

All the other practical strategies aside, having a method of measuring your success with content is just as essential. Unless you know all the details about the ROI that your content is generating, it’s hard to understand what areas could use improvement. Hence, a tool for measuring content performance in sales, such as ROI, is a crucial part of the process. 

Besides, as Sheridan puts it, if you’re not showing how much money you’re making by the content you’re creating, how can you expect to get more resources or raise? There are various tools available to help you measure your success rate, such as HubSpot, Google Analytics, etc. So, why not take advantage of them?

Key Takeaway

In summary, when you involve sales and leadership in your marketing approach, you can change the entire game. As you get your whole team on board and collaborate with other people who can also see your vision, you’ll create immensely more compelling content. A collective effort can go a long way in streamlining marketing content and genuinely connecting with your customer base to build trust and loyalty. 

Once you’ve organized your teams in a way that they can work together, only then can you most effectively implement all these seven steps to create content that sells. And you’ll be amazed at the results.

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