If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times — content shouldn't sell.
But what if that wasn't entirely true?
Yes, content is primarily a top-of-funnel tool. It attracts a wider audience and earns their trust. But there's room for promotional writing in any content marketing strategy, assuming you execute it well.
Here's how to effectively add promotional content to your strategy while maintaining the integrity of your content marketing efforts.
What Is Promotional Content?
Promotional content communicates the value of your products and services. Unlike informational content, which raises awareness by informing and educating, promotional content features a sales message.
It often incorporates effective promotion ideas, such as a giveaway or new customer discount. It might go into depth on a particular product or service offering and its benefits, as in a case study or how-to video. Or, it might be short and sweet, like an Instagram reel highlighting a new item.
Find the Balance Between Promotional and Informational Content
Promotional content can help you increase sales, but it shouldn't take over your strategy.
Try following the 80/20 rule. It suggests you reserve 80% of your content for informational material that prioritizes audience value, leaving 20% for informative promotion.
The 80/20 rule ensures your audience primarily sees you as a provider of educational and valuable content. When your promotional language does come up, it's more likely to come across as an informative recommendation instead of just a sales pitch.
6 Tips for Creating Promotional Content That Generates Leads
All promotional materials are investments, and your content is no exception. To get the best results from your promotional copy, follow these best practices and always put your audience first.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Reaching the right audience is critical to maximizing your content marketing ROI, especially when it comes to promotional content. This type of content is persuasive, and you can only convince people to buy if you know what motivates them.
As a business, you have an intended audience that shares a set of needs, preferences, and buying habits. Those commonalities will show you how to craft your promotional content.
The simplest way to find your target audience is to look at what your customers have in common. Consider factors such as age, gender, family status, and income level. If possible, also look for shared interests and preferences, such as a preference for sustainable products.
Compare your audience's needs to your product or service. Look for ways your business meets those needs better than anyone else on the market. You'll highlight this unique selling proposition (USP) in your promotional content.
2. Leverage Keyword Research Tools
Effective promotional content matches what your audience is searching for. Building your content around the right keywords helps you persuade people to buy. If your keywords attract people who don't need what you offer, you'll have wasted time and money.
You also want keywords that aren't too competitive. So many sites are targeting certain keywords that it's almost impossible to rank in the top 10.
Keyword research tools give you the information you need to choose wisely. There are tools available for every budget, including free keyword generators, but the best keyword research tools do much more.
Solutions such as Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, and LongTailPro will give you detailed information about your keyword options. They'll tell you how many people search for a keyword, how difficult it is to rank for, and whether search volumes have changed over time.
Use this information to find your "just right" keywords. These match how your target audience searches and have enough traffic to generate business, but not so much that you'll get lost in the noise. Those keywords become the focus of your promotional content.
3. Turn Your Products' or Services' Features Into Benefits
Now that you've chosen a focus for your content, it's time to think about how you'll persuade people to buy from you. Again, it comes down to focusing on your audience and their needs.
When people consider buying a product or service, they don't consider its features. No one clicks "Buy" on a laptop because they're passionate about a 10-core central processing unit and a memory bandwidth of 200 gigabytes per second.
Even if you're a computer expert and know exactly what those words mean, you don't choose a machine for the chips inside. You buy it because you picture yourself downloading huge files in seconds or sharing your screen on a Zoom call with no lag time.
Those end results are what copywriters call benefits. The technical details are features — what the product or service does and how.
Features have to do with your business and its product or service. Benefits are about the customer and how their life will improve after buying.
Beginning copywriters often focus on features because they think statistics and specs will impress a buyer, but that's rarely true. Shoppers want to imagine themselves enjoying the product or service because it's solved a problem for them.
To turn a feature into a benefit, put yourself in the buyer's shoes and ask the question, "What's in it for me?"
For example, the selling point of a vacuum isn't its high-power suction and corner cleaning attachment. It's "less dirt scatter for a sparkling, ready-for-guests floor."
4. Highlight Your USP With Social Proof
Did you know that 99.9% of consumers read reviews when shopping online? Today's buyers won't take a business purely at its word. They need to know what others like them have thought of a product or service.
Consumer opinions are what copywriters and content writers call social proof — or verification that others have benefited from buying a product or service. Social proof helps you remove people's objections when reading your promotional content.
One way of including social proof in promotional content is to add testimonials or references to five-star reviews. Other options include:
- Referring to big-name clients
- Mentioning industry awards or honors
- Linking to an influencer promoting your product or service
- Adding user-generated multimedia content, such as customer unboxing videos from YouTube
You can share any type of social proof in your promotion, as long as it's relevant content. Ensure the reviews or testimonials you include relate to your USP and your product or service's benefits.
5. Tell a Relatable Story
Humans are wired to understand the world through narrative. A good story connects us to others emotionally, while helping us see our own experience differently. Stories can inspire us to succeed, find new solutions, and break through indecision.
Our ingrained need for narrative is what makes story marketing so powerful. An engaging and relatable brand story connects consumers to companies on a level deeper than anything advertising can achieve. That connection can be the reason people choose your brand over others.
Using story marketing in your promotional content is easier than you might think. It starts when you find common ground with your audience — for example, a pain point that inspired you to develop this product or service. By reading about how your offering solved the problem, they can see themselves finding relief, too.
6. Don't Use Flashy Words or Superlatives
Now that you know what does sell, it's time for a word of warning about what doesn't — and that's gushy, razzle-dazzle, best-of-the-best language.
This kind of advertising may have worked in the Mad Men era, but today's customers are more informed. They expect clear descriptions and verifiable claims, perhaps backed by gentle praise from customers.
Steer clear of anything that sounds too good to be true. That includes overused "filler" language, such as:
- Absolutely, entirely, completely
Words like these lack substance and are easy to fabricate. For example, how many diners and restaurants have claimed to serve the "best coffee in town?" Even if the coffee is excellent, calling it the "best" feels inflated.
The only time to use a superlative — the top-rated, the most popular — is when you immediately back it up with facts. Even then, you want to focus on the statistics and use the term for emphasis only.
Sticking with the coffee example, you might refer to a local award or add some social proof. "Top-selling coffee in Cleveland" is believable and verifiable, while "best" isn't.
Rely on truth instead of flashy words, and your promotional content examples will be much stronger.
Content Promotion Strategies To Increase Leads and Sales
It's not enough to publish SEO-friendly marketing and promotional content. To reach a larger audience, you need to step up your content promotion efforts with a targeted approach.
Get started with these content promotion strategies:
- Share your best content with your email marketing list, encouraging readers to share it, as well.
- Link to your content on social media channels, adding valuable instructions for each platform.
- Invest in search or social media advertising to drive blog traffic.
- Build influencer relationships and encourage them to share your content.
- Write guest blogs and link to a piece of your original content.
Begin with one or two of these content promotion tactics, then add more once you're comfortable.
Master the Art of Promotional Content With Compose.ly
Adding promo content to your blog content strategy can feel intimidating, especially if you're new to sharing promotional information. Don't worry — the content professionals at Compose.ly have you covered.
Our content writers, copywriters, and marketing professionals create promotional content focused on each client's intended audience. Whether you need a single promotional blog post or an entire strategy complete with content promotion ideas, we'll do the heavy lifting so you can focus on running and growing your business.
Ready to get started? Request examples of promotional content from our elite writing team.