Teach, Don’t Sell

In the December 14th posting on the Personal Branding Blog, Roger Parker discusses his strategies on a successful content marketing in 7 Content Marketing Tip for Small Business Success. The one point that really struck me was to think of your readers as students and you as the teacher. Don’t focus on selling your brand; instead, concentrate on bringing relevant content to your readers, thus building relationships that will benefits both sides. Give them good editorial content and they will reciprocate.

Seems simple enough, yet I constantly see Tweets and blog posts that are actually advertisements for the author’s products and/or brand. A good example of this is a Yahoo discussion group of which I am a part. I joined to get writing tips and information, but found that many conversations were members selling to other members. So, I turn away. This, unfortunately, also means I could be missing the very information I am seeking.

This selling happens in another way in associations – where association staff (or volunteers in charge of programs or activities) only send out “sales” messages on their listservs, Twitter feeds and emails. You know, that endless litany of save the date for this, register today, here’s the best book on xxx. Like above, members view it as only about the $$. 

Parker’s tips will serve us well here at Mariner as we work on developing content strategies with our association clients. We have to build a relationship with our members, because if members feel they are being sold to, they may simply turn away. And no association wants that.