Use Your Boilerplate to Sell, Your Content to Tell

by Linda Pophal


best practices for copywriting and content marketing

Strategic Communications has been working with clients for a number of years now (since 2008). We’ve helped dozens of clients establish themselves as thought leaders and/or drive traffic to their websites to generate leads and drive conversions. Long before then (I won’t even say how long because it scares me!), I was writing features for business and professional trade publications and spent a number of years as a copywriter, writing marketing copy as part of my full-time job.

Important Difference Between Content Marketing and Copywriting

My background includes experience in both copywriting and feature-writing. After a number of years working in content marketing, I’ve learned some very important similarities—and equally important differences—between the two. Most notably:

What’s the same: Whether writing to tell, or to sell, you need to start with the objective in mind. Also, in truth, the goal of both traditional copywriting and content marketing writing is, ultimately, to sell. But that leads us to a critical difference.

What’s different: Writing copy for direct mail brochures, e-mail promotions, etc., requires a strong marketing focus. Copywriting is all about promotion of your product or service in terms of what’s important to your target audience. Writing copy when engaged in content marketing requires that same focus but very different execution.

When writing content for content marketing a blog post (like this one, for instance) should tell, not sell. Yes, your ultimate objective is to generate some kind of outcome that will eventually lead to a sale. But subtlety really counts when content marketing. Here, your primary objective is to establish yourself, your client or your company as a go-to place for accurate, high-quality, reliable and non-biased information.

So, how do you achieve that primary objective of selling whatever it is you have to offer?

Selling Without the “Sales” Copy

Your boilerplate or “about us” section (see ours below) is the place to sell. Here you should share your elevator pitch, talk about what it is you have to offer and how to get in touch with you. It comes at the end. It appears as somewhat as an after-thought, but it’s also something that is expected in these types of content marketing pieces. Readers will, actually, often look first at the “About Us” section to get a sense of the credibility and expertise of whoever is authoring the piece. This is the place for you to brag about your background and accomplishments. This is where you should clearly convey what it is you have to offer and why you’re an expert in the field.

Leaving the sales out of your content is, understandably, a bit counter-intuitive. But here’s how, and why, it works.

Suppose, for instance, you’ve just written a book and want to get some media coverage to help promote your book. What we’ve advised clients like this to do is not to use the main content of their blog post or content marketing piece to talk about their book. Instead, the body copy should offer some relevant and related advice that represents value to the target audience. Then, at the end of the piece, in their boilerplate, about us, or bio section, they can talk about their recently released book. Here they can (and should!) provide a link to a landing page of their own, or on a marketing platform like Amazon, to purchase the book.

Why it Works

Why does it work? Because people don’t want to be sold to. They’re naturally suspicious of those who seem to come with an agenda. While they value useful content that can help them with some aspect of their life—personal or professional—they’re distrustful of content that is overly self-promotional, or that carries a strong “me, me, me” point-of-view.

Trust us: if you offer something of value in your primary content, and leave your sales pitch for your boilerplate, the sales will come! Use your boilerplate to sell, your content to tell! And now, about us…

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

Recommended Reading

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR: Tips and Best Practices for Gaining Media Exposure

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