Content Marketing: Methods to Profit with Truth Rather than Infomercial Formulas

Do you find content marketing to sound like an infomercial? Beyond the cliche that ‘content is king’ – content marketing is more than just king, it’s a lifejacket for your website.

Websites often treat content marketing as if it were an infomercial. The usual formula (that sounds like a slickster) goes a bit like this:

“Are you tired of ____? You are not alone. Then you need ___. I’ve helped tons of people with this problem (blah blah testimonials). Get my ____ (newsletter/product/ebook) now to solve your ____ problem.”

Sound familiar? The web is an avalanche of that tired formula.

Here’s another over-used trickster strategy, one that at first appears to be a review of a popular product or person:

“Do you think _________ product is worthwhile? Well here’s my review … and also here’s why ours is better…”

In the blank above Mr. Slick Marketer uses a product or person name that’s popular enough to be an effective keyword, then piggy-backs on that potential keyword SEO traffic to recommend their Plan B instead.

The Plan B item used to fill in the blank above is intentionally one that might be attractive to the same target audience. This slick trick actually worked well online for awhile. These days it usually just looks cheesy and transparent among an avalanche of copycat replays.

One popular site called the Warrior Forum tends to be a magnet for such slickster hype. Some successful marketers do very well there – you’ll find new product launches and powerful sales letters every day of the week. Then there’s the wannabe crowd who goes there pretending to be an expert, and everything else in between – a three ring circus of slickster marketing antics. I don’t go there much anymore, but did comment on one thread at the Warrior Forum, one where this trickster was talking major trash.

He started out like it was a review of a training program (Chris Farrell), then pitched his own biz op (the Empower Network) as a better option. He had facts so backward, claimed one to have ‘sky high fees’ when in fact it costs a very small fraction of the other. Sad, yet there is good news: he has been banned from the site.

This is not to say that comparing similar products for pros and cons can’t be an effective marketing strategy, not at all. It’s just that if you set out to do a review, then – DO IT! Speak from first-hand experience and then take the time to prepare an in-depth truthful analysis (more on that below).

I assume your goal is to be perceived as a straight shooter, a resource to be trusted online. Sales formulas such as those above may gets sales, but they do not convey a straight shooter. Publish about what you actually know first-hand with no slander nor thinly disguised trickery like ignoring pertinent variables of one while exploiting vague notions and hype about the other.

In one wildly popular blog post, Corbett Barr of wrote that it’s simple really … all ya gotta do is this…“Write epic shit!”

“Only after you create epic shit should you worry about sharing your content with other people. All the promotion in the world won’t make your site popular if your content sucks.” Corbett Barr

The trickster formulas above are about writing to sell, rather than writing to tell truth. Totally obvious and totally NOT ‘epic shit’! Maybe we’ll just call this adventure into content marketing the ‘write epic shit’ journey. Wanna come along?

Consider this quote from Forbes about solving the mystery of online success:

“So many people think that creating a successful business on the Internet is some big mystery. The reality is that it’s easier than you might think, because online success boils down to one key skill. No, you don’t need to be a genius coder or have an excellent eye for design. You don’t need high-powered connections, or even a website of your own (at first). It’s much more simple than that. If you want to be successful online, the only essential skill is being a good copywriter.”

Better copywriting methods include approaching the subject as a storyteller. Strive to create your own voice and be consistent in that writing style. It’s about the clothes you put on your stories, the ways you dress up your charactors. Maybe an old story, but told in your unique voice and from a slightly different perspective.

Joe Pulizzi founder Content Marketing Institute (CMI) says:
Content Marketing is owning, as opposed to renting media. It’s a marketing process to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating content in order to change or enhance consumer behaviour.”

Note that Pulizzi says ‘a marketing process’ and that it’s about consistently creating content. Readers will gravitate toward YOU rather than your target marketing efforts or promotional language.

So keep developing a steady stream of quality content – content that is real and unique and consistent in the way it is expressed, using a genuine voice.

Danielle LaPorte nailed this topic in a recent blog post, where she outlines…
10 Ways to be a Truth O’mmercial rather than a Slickster.

Five Ways to Ring Truth into your Content Marketing:

1) Focus on benefits in direct ways that respect respect the visitor’s time.
2) Be honest about your own experience with the product. Tell the entire story, including any potential limitations, as this gains trust.
3) Focus on details. One lady gets great response from her product reviews simply because no one else takes the time to review in such detail. Leave the visitor feeling they do not need to continue researching because every detail has been knocked down. Include visuals to strengthen impact.
4) Create excitement over an exclusive product without resorting to scarcity tactics.
Trust and respect people to buy what they need. Avoid trying to convince or sell people what they do not need, a sure backfire.
5) Prove your words. The #1 most effective promotional tool is testimonials. Include testimonials and endorsements. The more detailed and genuine the better.

Do you appreciate truthful content over slick infomercials?


Carolan Ross

CFO(Chief Fun Officer) at SoloSpark
Freelance writer, creative soul, solopreneur and former teacher who networks with rebels, visionaries, artists and other square pegs in round holes. I support solopreneurs with copywriting and juggling life and business to SHINE ONLINE!


  1. says

    What a great article. I am so tired of the “you’re not doing what I’m telling you and that’s why it’s not working” type of sales pitches. It seems so cliche’d. Thanks so much for posting.

  2. says

    I honestly think that *reviews* are on their way it. It makes much more sense to write content and provide a solution, recipe, craft, DIY, gardening post, etc. than it does to write review after review that no one reads anyway.

  3. says

    When I review, I go through the product step by step and give my honest reactions (I learned this technique from Tiffany Dow – I don’t know if that’s the person you’re referring to in #3). Unfortunately, that sometimes means I end up NOT recommending something because it’s just not a good product.

  4. says

    This post is about content marketing of all kinds, so can apply across many types of sites, not just reviews. There’s an audience for reviews, people want to research a product or service before buying, otherwise why would sites like Consumer Reports be so popular over many decades? or Travel Advisor and others like it?
    Yes some review sites are certainly best avoided, yet quality reviews still get lots of traffic.

  5. 880leewoo says

    Love it! Very interesting topics, I hope the incoming comments and suggestion are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful.


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