Creating expert content that will bring sales takes work, but it is an authentic task. Prerna Arora, head Of Communication at ZEX PR WIRE, tells what tricks will help the user purchase faster.
Expert content acts gently and unobtrusively.
Expert content catches increases loyalty, trust in the brand, gently warms up the audience and “leads” it through the sales funnel.
Expert content can come in many forms, such as:
- A hairdresser talks live on a banned social network about hair care after dyeing.
- A pediatrician gives recommendations on the prevention of SARS among school-age children on the blog of the medical clinic.
- The digital agency offers to download a checklist for website, mobile app or YouTube channel promotion.
Not by single articles
Companies are increasingly investing in the development of brand media – corporate publications, for current and potential customers of the company. These are Tinkoff-Journal, Skyeng Magazine, MediaNation blog and others.
For example, our blog brings the agency more than 90% of the traffic to the site, which is then converted into leads and sales.
But communication with the media, familiar to PR-specialists, is still relevant. It is better to publish expert content not only on your own blog, but also on third-party sites in order to reach a larger audience. Publications must be of high quality and relevant. If there is no content for a full-fledged publication, you can offer journalists an expert commentary.
Although articles and cases occupy a large part of the content plan of PR specialists, you can also show expertise in:
- email newsletters;
- images, infographics;
- speeches of speakers, webinars;
- video content, including training videos;
- analytics on your topic;
- trend reviews;
- guides, instructions, checklists.
These are some of the popular formats, but far from the only ones.
Who needs expert content?
Expert content is especially useful if:
- your customer cannot touch the product before purchase – all types of services (legal, medical);
- you promote “complex” products, the impression of which is formed only after a certain time has passed – technologically complex products, digital products, IT, startups;
- making a buying decision requires the help of professionals and consultation with clients before and after the sale – education, goods for B2B, real estate, consulting.
Expert content shows the value of the service, inspires confidence in the company and increases customer loyalty. Before making a purchase decision, the consumer wants to make sure that they are really professionals in their field. In expert content, you can reveal the features of your product, tell what needs it covers, share instructions on how to use the product, and so on.
So, you can simply say that you provide advertising services on the Internet. Or you can write a case in which you will reveal how you took into account the features of the company, helped the customer get more profit and increase his business performance.
Shortening the customer journey
The customer journey can be a long one, and content is a big part of it. You can track the effectiveness of content through real cases. For example, we recently signed a contract with an interesting client for SEO promotion. His journey to us began a few months ago:
- A person listened to an episode of the Leads, Where Are the Leads podcast with our head of SEO.
- I went to the agency website.
- Read expert articles on the blog.
- Subscribed to the newsletter.
- I learned from the mailing list that we are planning to hold a business breakfast at Yandex.
- Came for a business breakfast and got to know our SEO department.
- Signed an agreement with the agency.
In addition, we at the agency notice a correlation between the publication of expert cases and incoming applications for these services. Of course, these might not have been the first contacts with the client, but they motivated me to get to know the agency better.
When a person decides to select a contractor for marketing services, he examines whether the company has relevant experience in his field. It is important for him to make sure that in front of him are really professionals in their field.
Expert content increases trust and loyalty to the brand and to the people in the company. This means that there is a high probability that a potential client will choose you, and not competitors, when he needs a product or service. So, reading our case studies, a potential client understands that we can be trusted with millions of budgets: we will manage them as efficiently as possible, meet his expectations or even exceed KPI thanks to the optimization of advertising campaigns.
Through cases, the reader sees that we look at the problem in a complex way, we study different options for solving it, compare them with each other and give reasons for each solution. A potential client understands that success is not accidental. With our thoughtful approach, it is natural. And this happens with all the tasks we undertake to solve.
Do’s and Don’ts: how not to scare off a potential client?
In order for expert content to make you want to continue communication with the brand, we recommend that you follow some rules.
It does not follow:
- Use calls to the forehead. We do not recommend putting pressure on the audience and using time triggers, such as “Buy now.” Expert content is more relaxed and gently warms up the audience.
- Manipulate emotions. But only if you don’t do it without the client noticing. Expert content is ruled by rationality. It affects the mind of the client, not the emotional component. High-quality objective content is able to independently lead a person to the idea of purchasing without advertising tricks.
- Use complex terms. It is important to speak the same language with the audience. Show your experience, reveal the complex with examples. If terms are indispensable, try to explain their meanings clearly. For example, in articles we try to give explanations to all concepts that may be unfamiliar to the reader.
What you need to include in the preparation of expert content:
- Objectivity. Be honest about the pros and cons of the product or service. Reveal the nuances of the product, warn the audience against excessive spending and help solve their problems.
- Fact check. Check the information carefully, trust only reliable sources, and ask for the opinions of various experts to confirm your hypotheses.
- benefit for the reader. Create content that will resonate with your audience and hit the pain point. It is worth publishing information that can be used in practice – instructions, checklists for choosing goods, ways to distinguish a high-quality product from a low-quality one.
- Own experience. Why does a person choose an expert and not Wikipedia? First of all, he wants to know personal experience and cases. Expert content should reveal competence. It is important to back it up with real examples and figures.
Expert Lead Magnets
Good content sells the product itself. However, we understand that a client can “ripen” for a long time, and a call to buy a service does not work if a person has just entered your site and is not yet familiar with you. But what then to use in expert content?
Instead of aggressive selling, we usually offer to subscribe to a newsletter with useful materials, get a checklist, read a study. Such soft methods increase audience loyalty and increase trust. And they do not allow you to lose contact with a potential client.
In exchange for contacts, you can offer:
- subscribe to the newsletter;
- receive a checklist by email;
- ask a question to the author of the article;
- get useful materials from the conference;
- go to a page with a useful case or article;
- Get free expert advice.
The more points of contact with a potential client, the more likely he will choose you next time. To gain even more trust, you can offer part of the service for free. For example, we at the agency provide a free audit on SEO, mobile promotion, SMM, contextual advertising.
We attract experts
You cannot shift all responsibility for expert material to a third-party employee, only if you do not have an experienced writer working for you. The audience will immediately identify the material written by the copywriter as a carbon copy. In addition, such articles may contain many inaccuracies and controversial points. To make the material really expert, provide the copywriter with an invoice for work.
At our agency, we have the following scheme for preparing materials: we formulate a topic in the PR department, collect developments on it, ask for comments from fellow experts, then supplement the material with their comments and agree on the final version. If necessary, we make changes at all stages of work.
Many articles and cases are written by our colleagues, and we are engaged in editing the material. We have been moving towards this format for at least four years. In the beginning, people did not want to deal with content, they were completely immersed in the client’s business. To motivate them, we introduced financial rewards and bonuses. Then they put a certain number of speeches, articles and cases in the KPI of managers.
And then there was a turning point: people themselves began to generate content. At the same time, the volume of work on client projects has not decreased. This is partly due to the desire of a specialist to get a share of the glory. And here the approach of a PR specialist is very important: you need to fade into the background and let the person subscribe to the article. Even if his role in its preparation is small.