Also, some site owners produce their content for themselves and not for their visitors. Put yourself in the visitors' eyes and write content from there. Often an experienced writer, not connected to the business, can "convert" the copy to suit the visitor.
One thing to keep in mind (especially for an editorial site) is that the purpose of content isn't just to sell. :-)
Even if sales are your goal, content that isn't specifically sales-oriented can be useful in attracting users through search engines. A good example might be an article on Andorra for a European travel site. You might not make any sales that are directly related to Andorra (except possibly a hotel booking or two), but by attracting users who search on "Andorra" or "Andorra travel," you create a larger pool of prospects for car rentals, rail passes, etc.
I classify what europeforvisitors has said as the "soft sell" approach. It works extremely well on wide content sites, travel guides being a good example. I've never focused on the money pages, it's quietly promoted along with a myriad of other things the visitor might want. Conversions are of low density, but the traffic climbs and drags sales along with it.