A friend once asked me, “Do you know the difference between marketing and sales?” When I said no, he said, “In sales you call them. With marketing, they call you.”
Totally different. Like, totally.
Content marketing, in its purest form, is creating collateral around your thought leadership. Think of a financial services firm’s weekly emails to their customers to assure them about the markets. Or the monthly magazine you receive from your local hospital. Or this very email you’re reading right now.
The goal of content marketing is to develop a voice in the marketplace—one that is trusted—so that when customers need your services, they will reach out to you.
If you receive a monthly magazine from your hospital, you may choose to go there the next time you need medical care. Or you may choose to leave your financial services firm based on the tone of their emails. Content marketing is trying to have a sustained conversation with your customers and leaving them with a strong impression of your position on issues.
Sales is something completely different. The goal of sales is to make the sale pretty quickly. Great sales people know they need to nurture relationships, and great content marketing collateral can support that endeavor. But sales is really about making a transaction quickly. Content marketing is the long game.
Make good choices about your sales vs. content marketing content.