We don’t want to sell – we just want to demonstrate our knowledge
The title of this article is a direct quote from a client meeting we had recently. It’s pretty interesting (and not uncommon) for us to hear this.
What we have found recently – in the last six months especially – is that content is less and less about direct sales. It’s about something far greater than this… being a resource of news and information.
To give some context to what we were talking about, we were discussing old vs. new ways of communication and the idea of producing objective news as a brand.
We discussed the ins and outs of their industry, what kind of information people interested in their business would be keen to hear, what information is widely shared amongst their audience and what it would take for them to be seen as a source of relevant, factual and most importantly impartial information.
“We don’t need to sell,” they said.
“Our product is good enough that the people who genuinely need it will find it and buy it. However, we’re not a well-known brand really and we have a lot of interesting things to say about the industry.”
Fortunately for this business, the stories that surround their place in their industry are extremely interesting. They are working towards sustainable goals and implement ethical and environmentally sustainable practices. These things in themselves have become business stories, points of interest and differentiated them from their competitors.
In fact, they actually have such solid business practices compared to their closest competitors that they have found they are often silenced when it comes to gaining media attention (the reason for this is unclear to them – possibly their competitors, possibly the fact that newspapers won’t publish too much against certain policies).
So what stops this business becoming a resource of their own news? Why can’t they discuss the challenges they face in their industry, about the things they see and the opportunities that are around them? Why, if they are confident that their product sells anyway can’t they work on generating a wider audience through the practice of sharing information?
It’s a question that has been thrown around a lot recently and one that seems to cause a lot of debate when discussing the difference between traditional media and news created by brands. As long as the agenda is solid, the practices are solid and the news produced is a result of this then there’s so many great story telling opportunities and content to be created.