Most digital marketers are used to negotiating while closing a deal with a client or bringing on a new hire. But what you might not know is that the same skills you use to be a good negotiator can transfer to fueling your content marketing. When you post a piece of web content, you are basically negotiating for the consumer’s time. This is what makes content marketing so important. You are convincing the reader that something about your content is compelling and worth the investment in time and energy. With the proliferation of content shock, people’s attentions are pulled towards consuming content from a million sources. Mastering negotiations as it applies to content marketing is a powerful way to win the battle for attention. Let’s take a look at the content creation process and how negotiation falls into each step: 1. Define Goals – Learn Who Your Audience Is Before you even begin to create content – you have to get know your customer and leverage their knowledge and expertise. Just like in negotiations, when you carefully listen and engage with the other party’s request – listen to what your consumer base wants to hear. What kind of problems are they currently facing? What is their favorite platform to engage with content? How often would they like to hear from you? Questions like these you want to answer before you even type a single word. This can be done in focus groups, surveys, and even casual calls and emails with current clients. Just make sure you are asking the right questions. You want this to about their needs, not yours. 2. Define Goals When you prepare for a negotiation, you have a set goal in mind. The same should be for your content creation. Whether it’s raising brand awareness, informing your consumers of a specific campaign, or even answering customer questions, you want your content to have a specific purpose. Without one, it will be difficult to measure your results – and you will also be creating more white noise in the already crowded content market. 3. Choose the Right People Just like you send in your best negotiators to close a sale, pick the right people to create your content. Keeping this work in-house will help maintain brand integrity and generate ideas that are most relevant to your market – although there are some benefits to outsourcing it as well. You want to choose individuals with strong writing skills and an understanding of your audience. Make sure they are well-equipped with the research you have done before they begin. 4. Create the Content! After researching your audience, creating goals, and choosing the right people, you are ready to create your content. Remember to include keywords that are being talked about in your industry to improve SEO. Just like in a negotiation, keep your points concise but informative and make sure they are engaging to your readers. Make sure it really feels like a conversation. Leveraging your social media is key here – your audience will be able to engage and give you valuable feedback to help assess your goals. 5. Work as a team A simple way to boost your SEO is guest blogging. You no doubt have partners that help refer you to clients and work together. Negotiate relationships with other bloggers so you can each create mutually beneficial content and social sharing. The great thing about guest blogging is both parties benefit with fresh content to present to their audiences. Even if you both simply help the other party by sharing content on social media, this is a chance for new people to learn about your brand and raise awareness. 6. Analyze and Refine Negotiating skills are not perfected overnight- and the same is true for content. After some time is passed, take a look back at those goals you created. Did you generate any new leads? Are you noticing more mentions of your brand in the media? Has your social media interaction increased? If you didn’t reach your goal, take a look at why. It can be helpful to have objective parties audit your content here. View every message you release as a learning experience to make the next one better. It can be overwhelming to see the number of new social media posts, blogs, or other advertisements released on the web every day. But your consumer has always had a lot of choices. View your content creation as a negotiation and approach it with the same confidence! With the right team and tools, you can win over a consumer to a loyal customer.