Why Promotional Content and Articles Don’t Mix

Practice Your Customer Service Skills in Your Articles

Article writing is similar to an office visit, a doctor’s appointment, and even a homeowner walking into a hardware store asking for advice. They all require a level of customer service, which involves communication, trust, and complete focus on the patient, customer, or reader.

Let’s take a closer look: Imagine you own a hardware store …

Promotional Content Disappoints

A customer has just walked into your store and has asked you a question about rakes. You reply: “This rake is only $9.99! For a limited time only, if you buy a rake you will also get a pair of gloves for free!” You know that’s a sure way to lose a customer either because of your vast experience in customer service or you’ve experienced something similar and left the store frustrated and disappointed.

Your customer isn’t looking for a sales pitch; they are looking for advice to make an informative decision that will suit their needs. If the customer feels the person they are seeking advice from isn’t going to take 2 minutes to focus on their needs, then the customer will find another hardware store that will.

Let’s rewind to a far more customer service based scenario …

Informative Content Delights

A customer has just walked into your store and has asked you a question about rakes. You may clarify the differences between rakes, the pros and cons, offer some tips about raking (e.g., safety, other equipment, and cleanup), and answer any follow-up questions your customer may have. Although you guided the customer, they ultimately make up their own choice and purchase a rake. Sure, you’ve already spent quite a few minutes establishing rapport with the customer, but to sweeten the deal, you decide to throw in a pair of gloves for free even after they’ve made their purchase.

Your customer is impressed. Even without tossing in the free gloves, you’ve established yourself as your customer’s go-to expert for advice on yard equipment (and hardware), thus gaining a loyal, repeat customer.

Let’s take this whole scenario to the next level by translating it into an article …

Incorporating Customer Service Skills Into Your Articles

If you fail to achieve good customer service by figuratively shoving a rake into your reader’s hands, exclaiming “This rake is only $9.99!” your reader will not stick around. However, if you provide one-on-one informative, quality content that the reader can use to make an informative decision (or just to be informed), then they will rely on you again in the future.

Like courting a customer or client, your reader should feel their problems or circumstances are your topmost concern and you’re providing them with only the best, most relevant information. Promotional content and articles don’t mix because it’s entirely self-serving for you and your company or organization; therefore, promotional content or sales pitches do not have the reader, customer, or client’s interest in mind and you’ve lost their trust.

For your next article writing session, channel your best customer service skills by putting your reader before your own interests. Provide value with compelling, quality, original content that creates a positive experience. In turn, you will build your readers’ trust, enhance your brand, and increase the likelihood you’ll be seen by unique and returning visitors.

Promotional content can bring your article writing efforts to a stand-still and leave you with a bad reputation. For the top 5 tips to safely steer clear of promotional content in your articles, watch this video.


Jeff Herring writes:

Thanks Penny – The sad thing is that the folks that get promotional in their articles achieve the exact opposite result from what they want…

Marc – I watched the video and almost had a cow when you said to “steer” clear….

~ Jeff

Comment provided August 20, 2012 at 9:47 AM



This a really clear explanation of the difference between promoting or offering value and education, showing true interest in your clients and customers.

Comment provided August 20, 2012 at 10:21 AM


Jeff Herring writes:

Good points Erica – how’s biz?


Business has been good online. I’m in the 3rd week of teaching an online “Boost Your Blog” class. The attendees knew the other presenter or myself before signing up. It’s another reminder that people need to know, like and trust you. They don’t just come out of the blue because of some hype.

Also, when I provide education and information that my potential clients and customers are seeking, then they are more inclined to contact me directly for my services.


Daniel Hazard writes:

This is an excellent description of real content marketing vs. a sales pitch. Now, if you purchase my content marketing package for just $49.99… just kidding! I hate that kind of marketing and it turns me off instantly.

Comment provided August 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM


Rahman Mehraby writes:

Thank you Penny. That was a helpful post. I’ve got a question for you:

Imagine you have a business website with a blog in it. At your blog,you publish posts providing information about your industry, services, etc. Will it be wise to carefully make a link and introduce your service from within your blog post? Or you prefer to say nothing at all inside that post and inspire your reader to surf around your website to find your service page?

Comment provided August 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM


Hi Rahman,

How you set up your website or your blog is completely up to you. We recommend ensuring that each page contains highly informative material vs. solely using promotional content. Providing your readers with highly informative, and well laid out material on your website will help continue to build your credibility as an authority in your particular niche. Readers will build trust in your program or product instead of taking one look and leaving if there is an excessive amount of promotional material.



Rahman Mehraby writes:

What I’ve realized from your comment is the fact that conversion doesn’t happen right away and if the visitor stays long enough with a site/blog, he will find the link to your services and check it out.

I think this will be the answer and leaving a small note to mention the services in a highly informative content won’t hurt.


Patricia writes:

Very useful article. Tnx

Comment provided August 20, 2012 at 3:56 PM


Franca F writes:

Great article!

Comment provided August 20, 2012 at 4:35 PM


Randall Magwood writes:

Promotional content in articles don’t appeal to me. The efforts put into creating a bad article could actually make people money if they put the same amount of efforts into building a successful, LEGIT and LEGAL internet business.

Comment provided August 20, 2012 at 5:46 PM


Matthew Morris writes:


Interesting article. However, let’s say that in this scenario, the salesperson has access to a brochure about rakes. That brochure contains everything you could ever want to know about rakes: the various styles and uses of each style and the reasons why you might choose one over the other. Unfortunately, this brochure is printed by a manufacturer that makes garden equipment.

The salesman hands this brochure to the customer in response to their specific request for information about rakes. is this action a shameless promotion, or simply an attempt to provide the customer with the information they asked for? I’m very interested in your response.

Comment provided August 21, 2012 at 5:29 PM



It is true fact that providing an informative article is more important than promoting it for business purpose. As an informative article will be a foundation stone for a successful content writing business.

Comment provided August 23, 2012 at 7:21 AM



First off I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.

I was interested to know how you center yourself and
clear your head prior to writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Cheers!

Comment provided August 23, 2012 at 4:30 PM



With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems
of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being ripped off? I’d truly
appreciate it.

Comment provided August 24, 2012 at 4:42 PM


In instances like these, the first course of action we recommend is that you contact the owner/webmaster of the site and ask them to fix the oversight. This will normally accomplish the end result you are looking for as most webmasters just need to be informed. We expect publisher(s) to follow our reprint rules as stated in our Terms of Service: http://EzineArticles.com/terms-of-service.html

However, it is up to you to take action against those who abuse your copyright to protect your interests. Please see our author terms for more on this: http://EzineArticles.com/author-terms-of-service.html



Phil writes:

We stumbled over here different website and thought I might check things out.

I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to going over your web page again.

Comment provided August 25, 2012 at 8:41 AM


Eva writes:

A motivating discussion is worth comment. I think that you need
to write more on this issue, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people
don’t discuss such topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

Comment provided August 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM


Tony Parker writes:

Very well illustrated article! I wonder how you managed to come up with such a precise write up that nails the point so well. Very nice! Indeed a mix of informative and promotional content doesn’t work.

Comment provided August 27, 2012 at 12:21 AM


Samantha Lais writes:

A good promotion strategy can leave customers a good impression on the brand and establish a long term relationship with the customers. A bad one is just the opposite.

Comment provided October 14, 2012 at 10:23 PM



Wonderful article. It provided me all what I was looking for.

Comment provided November 21, 2013 at 7:56 AM


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