All of us who spend time online – whether shopping, doing research, reading up in our areas of interest, making travel plans, following thought leaders, rating restaurants and movies, participating in social networks – as part of our daily activity, are creators and/or recipients of content marketing.
Content marketing is the term du jour that refers to sharing and distributing valuable and relevant content to current and potential customers to help convert them into repeat buyers who like and trust you. Today’s marketing and business development thrives on the sharing of content across platforms. Typical vehicles include blog posts, podcasts, eBooks, standard and micro videos, webinars, and an endless variety of social media tools and posts.
Information is the tool. Technology is the enabler.
An article posted on Mashable claims that 67% of consumers prefer companies with online content. Even the tried-and-true, bricks-and-mortar, iconic brands like Coca Cola, Oreo and Bulova (a watch manufacturer, for those of you below the age of 40!) are thriving because of their online presence and content.
Predictions from 2013 foresaw conditions that are becoming ubiquitous – explosive growth with the expectation that mobile will overtake desktop usage; GPS-enabled devices that provide information based upon a user’s location; companies and software that track and measure ROI; positions with titles such as Director of Content; line items for the development and distribution of content.
For professional services firms – slower to the party than other industries – thought leadership establishes subject matter expertise and increases client engagement. For retail business, lead generation creates warm leads that become interested buyers.
Content marketing allows you to speak directly to your desired audiences by delivering information where they want it, when they want it, how they want it. We are often in a rush to establish first mover advantage and sometimes don’t take the time to stand back to develop and evaluate a strategic approach that aligns the content with your business goals and preferences of your audience.
Here are some pointers:
- Set your goal. What do you want the takeaway to be?
- Know to whom you are talking. Write for a particular audience. Business executives? In-house counsel? Specific demographic groups? The media?
- Start with the marketing tool that is most effective for getting the content across. Tweet? Article? Short video?
- Plan for all the other things you will do with the content. Bio? Speech? Blog? For it is how you leverage the content that really matters. And don’t forget to find other industry blogs and comment/contribute to them leaving a trackback to yours.
- Insert a call to action by inviting people to click on an embedded link to take them to a related source – ideally your website. Research shows that specifically asking people to “click here” or “please visit” another of your resources increases the likelihood that they will, whereas simply inserting the link does not have the same desired effect.
In essence, when you drive people to read your thought-leadership, you are positioning yourself for a tangible return and developing a new kind of conversation and relationship with your audience. The best endorsement you can get is for a reader of your content to pass it along to a third party. The sharing begins!
Barbara S. Kaplan, BSK Strategies – business development consultant helping professional services firms and small, entrepreneurial businesses win and keep the clients that match their business goals and turn them into their best referral sources. 484.431.7068 | www.bskstrategies.com | www.linkedin.com/in/barbarakaplanprofile/