Did you know you are bombarded by 5,000 messages a day? And that it takes seven to nine interactions with a brand before you even begin to recognize it? Because of this overwhelming onslaught, are you only seeking recommendations from those within your social networks?

If you’re responsible for marketing, this change in how customers connect with your messaging leaves you wondering how your brand is going to poke through, make an impact and, most importantly, close a sale.

For Those Who Think They Aren't Selling

What did you just say, Ahava? Close a sale? I’m not in the business of sales. I market a hospital or I market a university or I represent a not-for-profit. We are not in the business of sales.

Seriously? You don’t think you are in the business of sales? Oh, but you are. Why do you keep producing all that content? The reason you do it is for one reason only: the goal of content is to convert prospects to customers.

You may not have an actual physical product -- I’ll give you that. You are still selling -- your charity’s worth, your hospital’s unique treatments and services, your university’s educational excellence. Content is the primary tactic we use to engage and educate, which may lead to a donation, an appointment or an application.

Once you accept that the goal of content is to keep moving people through your pipeline, you can do a much better job at constructing their content experience. Controlling the experience comes from truly understanding the value content can provide for customers.

Controlling the Content Experience

What are the hallmarks of terrific content?

Terrific content does several things to convert prospects to customers. Outstanding content:

1. Corresponds to real-life needs: “I want to find a charity I connect with so I can donate. Reading about all the wonderful work this charity does with developmentally disabled adults inspired me to give.”

2. Educates: “My father is elderly and has started to forget things. Is this a normal sign of aging or do I need to consider the possibility that he may be developing dementia or Alzheimer’s? Is there a geriatric practice at my community’s hospital? Do they have someone I can talk to about this? Looking at their website and their checklist of normal signs of aging made me realize we need an appointment.”

3. Entertains and builds a story: “I’ve been looking at several universities and I know I want to study accounting and business. Watching the video the accounting principles class made with their professor about understanding the difference between cash basis versus accrual basis accounting made me want to attend that program.”

When you produce content with the goal of moving customers through your pipeline, you ease the challenges inherent in creating valuable content. Connect with your customer’s needs so that you produce content that informs and educates. Don’t forget to entertain prospects with great storytelling -- it’s almost always the emotional connection they need to move them across the line to customers that, yes, drive revenue.

Editor's Note: Ahava shares a lot of tips on content strategy. To read more try Content Strategy: Don't Ditch Your FAQ Page.