Taking the time to produce marketing content can be difficult. It’s not always easy to consistently come up with topics and ideas and over time you can start to feel like you’ve come to a dead-end. If you’ve been doing it for a while however, you know as well as I do that dead-ends are just an illusion. We always manage to come up with new ways to push forward; and so with all that work, of course we’d like to think that our readers are absorbing everything we have to offer, right?
That’d be nice, but I’m afraid not. I challenge you to ask a friend, that you know follows your publishings, how many times on average they actually read every word of your content. There’s a good chance you won’t like what they have to say; but try not to get discouraged. Time is valuable to people and sometimes it’s easier to just skim through the paragraphs rather than reading everything on the page.
In marketing, we are always trying to formulate new ideas and strategies to keep our techniques up-to-date; so much so that we can easily lose touch of the basics. One fundamental key principal of content marketing is BENEFITS over FEATURES.
Let me explain… Benefits are just as they sound. They are the value that the potential customer would receive from your services should they decide to become a client. For example, one way you could pitch a benefit is to say something like, “10% Increase in profitability guaranteed!” This is a benefit, and with all things that benefit us, we tend to give them more of our attention. In order to keep your content’s target audience interested and engaged, you need to make sure the benefits your services offer are standing out as much as possible.
Features are kind of like your credentials, so-to-speak. One example of a feature would be something along the lines of, “With over 25 years experience” or “Recipient of Best Firm Award”. These are features, and although they earn you credibility with whom you’re trying to market yourself to, they don’t necessarily capture the attention of the reader. Now, this is not to say features are bad. In fact, including them is very important; but you don’t want to make your pitch focused so much on your features that your benefits don’t get the chance to stand out.
As a rule of thumb, I like to recommend a ratio of 80/20 in favor of benefits. This way, you have a good percentage of features in your content so that your target audience can see what you’ve accomplished for others like them, but they also stay engaged in what you’re trying to sell them. Benefits are the key to getting people to pay attention to you. If you miss the opportunity to capture their attention, you miss the opportunity to serve them as your client; and nobody likes missed opportunities.