wordsWords Can Be Worth More Than A Thousand Pictures

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]T[/su_dropcap]HIS ARTICLE WAS originally written in Hebrew as a guest post for one of our strategic partners. But a couple of days ago I watched the great movie “Words and Pictures” (Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche) and I decided it was time to write this in English too.

Content is more than a combination of words and sentences. Good, correct and interesting content is a matter of creating a world!

Much has already been said about the importance of content online. Practically everyone knows the saying “content is king”, and anyone who has a website already understands that without content, the website will not advance anywhere. Very few, however, understand the real importance of how you write, what you write and the difference between “marketing content” and “real content”.

“Marketing content doesn’t have to be interesting. But it has to be persuasive”. This quote is taken from a website offering marketing writing services, and to me it indicates the most common mistake made today about content, marketing, persuasion and sales. Allow me to explain.

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Lesson 1: Marketing does not equal persuasion! Or “The difference between marketing and sales”

Persuasion is the job of a sales person and marketing isn’t sales. There is a difference between sales and marketing. A sale is going out towards the potential client that you have identified and persuading them to buy your product or service, try your solution or accept a discount on it. Marketing on the other hand, is creating a “magnet” inside your own center (your website), which automatically and independently attracts potential customers seeking a solution. A sale process requires persuasion because you might have addresses an audience that doesn’t need, or want what you have to offer. A marketing process is about creating a space to which people arrive, because they were looking for something like what you have to offer, and then the sale at the of this process is made to a client who sought and found you and not the other way around. Do you understand the vast difference?

Lesson 2: If Marketing doesn’t involve and doesn’t equal persuasion, then marketing content doesn’t “have to be persuasive”!

In fact, let’s forget about the word “marketing” altogether! We live in an interconnected world of fast internet and blurred out borders. In the past, marketing and advertising (which were one and the same) were done using the classic one-way means such as ads, TV commercials and billboards. “The old media” would bombard the viewers with messages without allowing them to respond or to communicate with the advertiser. Now, however, the situation is completely different! Quite a few researches, conducted from time to time in the advertising world, show that people learned to filter out “marketing” or “advertising” content. In other words, the more you “market” and “push” with your content, the less people will read it and the less people it will motivate. Moreover, you have to keep in mind the crowd wisdom and social networks (the “new media”), which encourage crowd wisdom. People still search for information and answers on search engines, but they don’t rely on them as they used to. Even if the search for information begins on a search engine, it usually ends on social networks with asking for references and recommendations from friends. The obvious conclusion from this change is that your content must be interesting, contain real added value to the reader and be accessible (easy to read and understand and easy to share on social media)!

Lesson 3: Your content must be of value

Classic (and irrelevant) “Marketing content” is essentially about saying “as little as possible in as many words as possible”. It other words, it is meant to blow web pages up for the sake of search engines, fill them with search keywords, but never really tell about your product, solution or service, in order to force the reader to contact the business, to “trap” the reader (there is even a name for that – “Capture pages”). In light of what I’ve said already, we now understand that the content of a website and/or a blog must be of real value to the readers. There is nothing wrong in providing tips and full information to your readers, who are seeking answers to their questions. On the contrary, such content will position you as thought leaders in your niche. Your readers will trust you and recommend your website to their friends. They won’t hesitate to purchase your service or product if they feel you truly “know what you’re talking about”, and they’ll bring in all their friends too.

Lesson 4: Your content must be correctly written

Whatever language your write in, your content has to be written correctly. It may seem petty to make sure you placed your comma in the right place, but it is important. It is important, because it shows seriousness. It shows that you have given thought to what you write, and even if you’re engaging the help of professional writers, it shows you’ve selected them carefully. It is important, because it makes reading easier. Just like in a voice conversation, where breaks and tone of speech help convey a message, so do carefully placed punctuation marks, line breaks and paragraphs in your written content. If you are unsure you can write this way on your own, hire a professional writer to help. There is no shame in using professional service providers. Quite the opposite, it will help you and make you more accessible to your community of readers.

Lesson 5: Your content must be communicative

Speaking of making your accessible to your readers, your content must be an integral part of a communication channel with your community of readers. The perceptive ones among you, who’ve had the patience to read thus far, will have noticed that I started using the term “readers’ community” rather than “audience” in lesson 4 already. This is a deliberate change and it circles back to the beginning of this journey, to the difference between “marketing” and “sales”. A sale is directed towards a target audience. An audience, just like at the theatre or at the movies, is passive. They sit and watch the play or the movie. They do not engage with the actors, they do not ask questions, they do not change the content of the play or the movie. Marketing and marketing content are meant for a community, rather than for an audience. A community by definition means a group of people, who are united around a cause or topic and share an interest or a need. As a community, these people are active, they talk to each other and they search for others like them, to share information and experiences. If your content is written in a manner, which provides information and an experience, they will come and they will ask for extras. If you also allow discourse and discussion about and through your content (for example by using a blog and enabling comments, forums, correctly managed social media channels etc.), then you will create a vibrant community of people, who are “addicted” to your solutions. They will become your marketers and advocates towards their family and friends, thus also constantly increasing your community.[/message][su_spacer]


You are not writing for some virtual search engine, but for real living people. Your content is not just a collection of words. It has to be an actual conversation.

Image source: http://www.morguefile.com