4 Powerful “Soft-Sell” Approaches to Article Writing
In traditional advertising terms, your website is where you do a “hard sell” and your blog a “soft sell.” On your website, you tell visitors to buy your products. On your blog, you let them discover what you offer without hearing an aggressive sales pitch.
The soft sell works well with blogging and other article writing endeavors because content marketing emphasizes organically engaging and attracting customers over the long term. In fact, Business2Community.com notes that a soft sell makes 97% of people more likely to recommend something to friends – a statistic you should definitely exploit when marketing through online networks and social media.
Yet how can you craft content that subtly persuades people to support your brand? Here are four approaches.
Share posts that align with customer interests
Here’s the main tip: don’t blog about your main product. Instead, discuss relevant topics that align with your audience’s interests.
Let’s say you sell travel accessories. Write about common packing problems, or updates about in-flight baggage and airport screening protocols.
“There was this good article that helped me understand how to prepare for my next trip,” readers might say. “Where did I see it again?”
Even if they’re not shopping for travel accessories, they’re bound to remember you. Reap even more benefits if they tell their friends, “You should see the article, too.”
Give tips and other practical information
Blogs that give tips and how-to advice also make for good soft-sell pieces, especially since they can present a clearer link to your offerings.
If you’re pet trainer, for example, you can subtly market yourself by sharing tips on how to walk, wash, feed, or otherwise care for animals. This accomplishes two things. First, it turns your blog into a source of practical information your audience certainly needs. Second, it suggests that you’re well-versed in the ins and outs of your job, and that you’re the right person to get it done.
Comment on industry news
Industry commentary is another content type that establishes your professional know-how.
Let’s say you run a modest law firm. Given your specialized field, there’s only so much you can post that aligns squarely with the layman’s interests. You could share tips for understanding basic court processes and legalese, but how frequently can you do that without oversaturating your blog?
You can balance these out by reviewing legal issues in the news, offering insights, and explaining how current events might affect your local audience. At the very least, doing this shows you are up-to-date and invested in your field. More importantly, it helps establish your commitment and competence in sharing legal advice.
Answer customer questions
Ultimately, to ensure your blog’s appeal, ideas shouldn’t come solely from you or your content marketing agency. They should come from your customers themselves. As HubSpot says:
“It’s easy to get caught up in the type of information you think is interesting, but after blogging for a few months for your business, it is important to ask readers what they want… Questions should address topics for future posts and types of content readers prefer (e.g. text, audio, video, etc.).”
Yet you don’t always have to do formal surveys. Chat with customers when they walk into your store. What do they say? If they’re active online, what do they comment on? From these conversations, you can already pinpoint topics people want to learn more about.
Writing blogs in response shows you’re attuned to your audience. That’s not just great marketing. It’s great customer service.