How to tell whether your content is marketing

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There’s a lot written about content marketing these days. If you believe the gurus, ninjas, PR pros and ‘experts’ content is the solution to all business ills.  “Create an email list and then relentlessly market to them with content designed to get them to do something.

Want to find more customers? Content marketing is the answer. Want people to believe your company is the Uber of X, Y or Z? Content marketing will help you convince them. Want to attract millions of dollars in funding? Content marketing is a sure fire way to achieve it.

There are many problems with these assertions but one in particular you should know about. Content used for marketing purposes – a true piece of marketing communications content – MUST have a call to action. What’s a call to action? In its simplest form it is a clear request to the reader to take a defined action.

“Visit your local dealer and book a test drive today”

“Call 1 888 123 1234 to buy the 2016 Chevrolet X’

“Sign up today to receive your free gift”

If there’s no call to action then a piece of content is not a piece of marketing communication, it’s promotion. Awareness. Publicity. Why does this matter? Simple: because marketing is about getting people to take actions to support your business. Awareness is simply that. There’s no attempt to get people to take action and, as as result, can’t be marketing.

Without a call to action, your content isn’t marketing. it’s just content.  An simply bombarding them with content will not compel them to take the action you ask them to. It will, however, compel them to unsubscribe.

— What is marketing?

Marketing is the process of compelling a specified audience to take a defined action in support of your business.