Is Your Content Offering Value Or Is It Just Sneaky Marketing?

18 July 2022 Rachel Boros

Good content is all about offering something that the reader needs – even if they don’t yet know they need it.

Good content can make buyers feel understood, empowered and motivated rather than embarrassed, coerced, or manipulated. It also allows the audience to connect with what you're saying. If they can identify with you and your message then they're more likely to be motivated to take be generous with your content!

Don’t be a sneak!

We’ve all been on the receiving end of content that has left us feeling cold, bored – or worse, embarrassed, coerced or manipulated. 

Think of the blog you excitedly clicked on thinking you were going to find out all about how to take a  better photo or learn where to find a registered accountant, only to find it’s a poorly veiled advertorial.

You can check if your content is offering value by looking for these 5 elements

  1. tells a story
  2. offers information or advice
  3. arouses curiosity
  4. offers insights or inspiration
  5. can help your audience to feel empowered and maybe even ready to buy. 

Very different from tricking or manipulating them into buying an offer.  

The magic of 'smart content'

Smart content is valuable and reliable, which then becomes trustworthy and engaging over time. It’s not about being insincere or condescending. 

Maybe we should pause here to define 'copy' and 'content': 

  • Copy is sales related – the idea is to persuade someone to do something (sign up, make a purchase, register their details etc) and you do this by selling the features and benefits of your product or service
  • Content offers value - such as advice, information, tips, or just fun – while it can still have a sales element to it, that's not its main purpose. 

So, in essence copy sells, but content informs. 

Or to put another way, copy persuades, while content engages.  

Tips to creating great content of value

A huge part of creating great content is exceptional writing that grabs the reader’s attention and leaves a lasting impression. 

But it’s also about giving the reader something they might find useful or interesting.  Tips to help you do this include: 

1.       DO - be sincere

Be honest. As you’re writing, or revising a piece of you content, are you really trying to sneakily 'sell' to the audience? Or are you genuinely attempting to impart some wisdom, teach the reader something, or make them feel good? 

"...are you genuinely attempting to impart some wisdom..."

I’m not saying your blogs, eBooks, social media content, or podcasts aren’t all great lead magnets or sales opportunities. But this must be at the end (the Call to Action) or very subtly weaved into the piece in a way that is natural. Be careful that you are not 'tricking' people into reading your blog for the purpose of just spruiking how great you are.

Ensure the main aim of your content is to sincerely offer value through your thoughts, advice, or shared experiences.  

2.       DON’T - be fluffy

Be careful not to write a 'fluff' piece just because you need or want to fill some content. This just wastes the reader's time. Rather, look to give information they perhaps haven’t been able to find anywhere else.

And please don't try to fill word counts with pointless words or points. A shorter piece that grabs the reader's attention is far better than a longer piece that just bores the reader and turns them off ever consuming any of your content ever again. 

"And please don't try to fill word counts with pointless words or points."

If you don't have enough content to make it a really great piece, then hold off and come back to it when you're ready to offer a worthwhile and useful read.  

3.       DO – be confident

You know your stuff! So, show that you do! Establish your credibility early on by: 

  • backing up what you're saying with facts and link to the source. External sources give your readers a chance to check out the facts for themselves.
  • talking about your experience in the industry or with the subject matter.
  • having a decent website and social media presence that includes your bio. 
"...backing up what you're saying with facts and link to the source."

Aside from making good content for the reader, this approach will also help you with SEO as Google will test the quality and accuracy of search results (you can read more about how Google ranks your content here: )  

4.       DON’T – write like a robot

Good content is also formatting in a way that is easy to read.

This means writing in a style that will suit your audience. There’s no point writing in a formal tone for a group of teenagers, but you might want to skip the conversational copy in favour of more professional content when writing for academics or legal content. 

"This means writing in a style that will suit your audience."

It also means formatting the text into shorter paragraphs, using visuals, and breaking up content into subheadings. These little tricks all help the reader to just glide through the content all the way to the end, where there will be a...

5.       DO – include a Call to Action

Yes, this blog post *is* all about offering value in your content and not just selling to the reader. However, that doesn't mean you can't direct the reader at the end.

Show them where they can find more resources, or where they can contact you if they want to get in touch.  

"However, that doesn't mean you can't direct the reader at the end." 

Tell me?

Have you experienced manipulative marketing disguised as informative content before? Which side of the transaction were you on? Did you learn anything from it?

Remember... valuable content is satisfying content, leaving readers feeling fulfilled. By offering value in the form of advice, tips, resources etc you can help your ideal customer feel heard and important to you, rather than just someone to sell to. 


Rachel Boros helps businesses engage with their audiences and drive more sales by creating engaging content and copy in the form of blogs, web copy, eBooks, and social media content. With a background in marketing and events, Rachel now enjoys working as a freelance writer working with clients from a range of industries from finance to health, education to business.

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