People want opinions not a sales pitch

People want opinions not a sales pitch

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If you want people to buy into your business, you need to get them to do so without them realising that they have. The best way to do that is through content. Content that informs, educates and – most importantly – has an opinion.

I recently attended a Guardian Masterclass on how to pitch to editors, with the talk focusing on what editors are looking for when you pitch a story to them, advice on perfecting your pitch and how to build yourself as a worthy contributor.  

It was refreshing and frustrating in equal measures to hear that while our pitches at Datify are pretty spot on with what they are looking for, the fact we are effectively a middleman between the client and editor can be off-putting to some publications.

Personally, I have found this to be quite rare, but it does perhaps explain why some emails have been left without a response.

As such, I found one of the main takeaways from the evening was discovering what editors want in a finished piece (and what makes them wary of that middleman situation). ‘What do they want?’ you ask. Opinions.

It is not exactly revolutionary and I am sure most marketers are already aware of this. Clients, on the other hand, might not get it. If they want the kind of coverage they desire, then they need to have an opinion – especially so for top tier placements such as The Guardian.

If you want to get all ‘salesy’, then speak to your salesman or advertising team, because as a marketer I certainly won’t be championing this approach. Sales-led content goes in my Room 101, along with word count and keyword-stuffed articles.

Educating clients on this is tough. I completely understand why they feel the need (or desire) to remain neutral in some situations, or want to push their business product or service. Yet, it’s just not how the marketing game works.

If you people to buy into your business, you need to get them to do so without them realising that they have. I am biased here of course, but the best way to do that is through content. Content that informs, educates and – most importantly – has an opinion.

Thought leadership, for example, is a nifty little concept that works. No-one wants to read an article which has had the life sucked out of it. What use is that to the audience? 

Readers are likely to have clicked on your piece in the hope of understanding a topic better and educating themselves with your opinion, in order to help them guide and form theirs. Adverts are there to serve sales directly; content is there to discuss wider business, industry or world topics and influence your business in a more subtle way.

Businesses need to have confidence that taking a strong stance on either side of the fence will be more beneficial for their business in the long term. Don’t like a policy that the government has introduced or changed? Tell the world why. Want to share your latest investment? You need to talk numbers.

Businesses need to remember that journalists want the exclusive, they don’t want to be fed information which is so vague and generic that it has little point to it.

With this in mind, these are the questions that you should be asking yourself to ensure your content retains its opinion before you begin your pitch.

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