YES2 - pic by Tim Snell

Even the tiniest yes has to be earned

Potential customer sees content, pulls out wallet, buys product.

As much as we’d like content marketing to be that simple, it just isn’t.

Instead of seeing content marketing as an all or nothing proposition – they either buy or they don’t – we should think about the customer making a journey through the content. At each stage along the way you have to earn what some marketers call a “micro-yes”.

This is where they agree to a small step that will take them onto the next bit of content.

For instance, a typical journey might be something like:

               See headline on social media, click to read content on company website (one micro-yes)

               Read or scan content, then click on another piece of content on the site (another micro-yes)

Perhaps they’ll go away after that, until they see another piece of content they like and get back to the company site by clicking on the headline. The content “journey” continues:

               Click on more content (micro-yes)

               Watch a company video (another one)

               Subscribe to the company newsletter (and yet another)

Each micro-yes is a sign that you’re building trust and credibility, and the reader is one step closer to becoming a customer.

There are a couple of implications from taking this approach to content.


You need to think about each stage of the customer journey. When they interact with one piece of content, what are you doing to earn the next micro-yes that will deepen the relationship you’re starting to establish?

Here are four simple things you can do:

  • First up, the content must be compelling and useful, not selling. This sounds obvious but it’s so crucial it’s worth repeating. No one’s going to come back for more if they’re not impressed the first time.
  • Make sure the content landing page is highlighting other pieces of content. If people like it, show them where they can find more.
  • With every piece of content have the next step clearly set out for the reader – another blog or video, a newsletter to sign up to or a report to download.
  • Make sure there’s a lot of “free” content before you ask people to sign up or subscribe


How many often do you click link to a piece of content which then asks for your email address and company name before you can get the content? And how often do you decide that you don’t really know these people and decide you don’t really need to see the content so shut the window instead?

Content marketing is about earning trust and credibility through content. If you lure people to your site then start ramming a sales pitch down their throats then you’ll quickly lose their trust.

It’s a long game. So start earning those mirco-yeses and you start holding on to your audience longer.