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3 Steps To Selling Yourself As A Content Strategist

3 Steps to Selling Yourself as a Content Strategist

Acquiring a new client is pretty difficult. And if you’re talking with someone who doesn’t have any clue about your specific job, things can get really complicated. In this post, I outlined a 4-element scenario that many Content Strategists – like me – experience each time they’ve just connected to prospects and wish to close the deal but “something wrong” happens.

Since this situation it’s pretty common, I provided 3 steps that will help you overcome it with ease. Are you ready? Great! Let’s start by describing the chain of events and then I’ll tell you how to turn them in your favor.

The 4-element Scenario

The Problem: prospects don’t get what you do and how their business could benefit from your professional figure.

The Facts: generally speaking people think the way you communicate is pretty important. When it comes to business communications, they continue to validate this idea and agree on the fact that how you tell something can be critical in selling more (or less) of the same product or service. In short: people value how things are told.

The Turning point: But then something happens and all these beliefs lose their consistency and start vanishing into something ethereal, with less and less reasons to be. This scenario is a pattern that always keeps happening when you tell prospects you’ll charge them for your work – which previously looked something as important as the product/service itself.

The outcome: prospects identify you as “someone” who builds up fancy websites and wonder if it’s right for their business to invest on a new website, which maybe “someone from the marketing department could freshen it up for free”. Long story short: your prospects won’t be a client in the next future.

Does this purported example sound completely unreasonable to you? Many would answer with “It happened to me many times”. Well, it happened to me as well. But why? I guess there’s a gap between the two parts involved: the Content Strategist vs the prospect. Does the former speak the language of the latter? Apparently no.

How to “Translate” Your Value as a Content Strategist

1. Build conversational paths and guidelines within the conversation
Talking with someone you don’t know is difficult because you don’t have any idea about their business goals and how much they take into consideration anything that has to do with the Online world (there’s plenty of people like these, even in 2014). So, try to collect these information by asking specific questions and letting the person in front of you answer the way he prefers but handle the flow of conversation toward what you’d need in the close future (aka step 2). This way you’d be able to gather relevant information from whom you’re about to pitch your offer.

2. Develop a micro-plot and start with an easy-to-understand example
You already know how everything goes when you start your pitch with “I’m a Content Strategist…”. You lose people’s interest because they don’t know what these two words combined mean. That’s why you need to try another way to let them understand your real value and there’s no better way to achieve this than by opening with an example.

Example
Begin with something like this: “let’s pretend you sell boilers which feature an energy saver technology. This technology is called ‘erfasder technology’. How people end up choosing to buy your boiler when you focus all your communications efforts on such word/concept? Let’s try to convey their attention on year-over-year savings instead, and stress the core message with something like ‘Thanks to our boiler you’ll save up to 15% every year on your bill’. From this, – you continue – let’s provide visitors of your website with small tips about energy saving techniques and publish a monthly newsletter summing up the most interesting news about relevant topics.” See where am I going? You’re showing how paying attention on contents (and copy) will tickle customer’s attention. Now it’s time for your to bring out the big guns and give him the pitch.

3. Present the real benefits of your work
Now that you’ve grabbed the interlocutor’s attention, it’s time to go with an overview of what you’re able to do for his business by providing him with a whole picture of why it’s better for him to focus on content, thanks to specific ideas you came up with in the meantime (remember questions in step 1? That information is gold to you right now). This resolves into explaining the reasons behind each of the Content Strategy’s phases (Audit and Analysis, Strategy, Plan, Create, Maintain) need to be taken into place and executed.

Conclusion

There’s no magic potion to turn prospects into (paying) clients. What you surely can do is to talk with them leveraging circumstances and “objects” they’re familiar with, i. e. same business examples, tangible goals, stories etc. As David Bowie sings “It ain’t easy to get to heaven when you’re going down”, I’m sure you, as a Content Strategist, are more than able to create a useful story for your audience when in need.

[Image: Marina Montoya]

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About Matteo Duò

Matteo Duò is a Content Strategist & Digital Consultant in love with Startups, WordPress and Storytelling. He's a freelancer who helps companies and young entrepreneurs communicate their own message in the most effective way toward their audience. You can reach him using this form.

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