Tag Archives: content marketing

Why your business needs a content marketing strategy?

Content marketing is a phenomenon that isn’t going away. If you’re a business to business marketer, using content marketing is a great way of rethinking and re-tasking some of press and sales support material in a way that stimulates inbound inquiry.

Need five reasons why your business needs a content marketing strategy? Here you go.

1. Quality regular content builds trust. There are undeniable SEO benefits of persistently talking about the same topics. But it’s at the human interaction level, rather than technical level, where the benefits of content marketing are most interesting. Talking frequently and in  detail about particular topics creates credibility which leads to you being trusted. Trust is the first step on the path to transaction.

2. Companies need to use people to tell stories that resonate. People do business with people they trust and like. Shared and personal experiences can underpin relationships and can be effectively used to build engagement. Advertising in the 1960’s looked to profile particular people and sell them solutions to their problems and this has largely remained the same in marketing today.

3. Broadcast PR is dead. All communication needs to be two-way. It’s not enough to tell all the time, you need to listen, react and respond. Social has spread right through all facets of modern business and modern marketing. In CRM, companies like Salesforce.com have bought into social media with outfits like Radian6, whilst the latest version of Google throws back recommendations from your contacts in amongst your search results.

4. The web finds liars out, quickly. Social media has balanced the playing field and created an outlet for disaffected customers. Whilst great viral commentary can make a business, one bad experience can destroy it as let-down customers realise they are not alone. Best to be open and transparent from the start.

5. Content converts. Most business to business products and services are conceived to solve a problem for a particular type of customer. Addressing the problems and offering ways to solve them, minimise their impact and disruption and actually remove them from the equation is a powerful way to drive trust and transaction. In B2B, there isn’t a transaction as such, but white papers, downloadable content and subscriptions emails are great ways to obtain data which can be followed up later.

 

Packaging your story: Social media for b2bs

Espresso do a great job of using Slideshare and have a real knack in producing slides that can be effortlessly clicked through but that leave long in the memory. Packed full of ideas, tips and examples, here’s a great deck giving a useful overview to social media for the uninitiated which can be skimmed in minutes or talked at for an hour.

If you know someone who needs an overview – a boss, manager or team member – do the decent thing and pass it along. Only when good ideas go viral do they have a chance of taking off.

 

RSS/email subscribers may need to visit the blog to see the slides.

Ten social media trends for 2012

An interesting set of slides from Comscore which previews/summarises the key findings from their latest social media report. (Using SlideShare to preview downloadable paid/free content is itself an interesting example of content marketing in action that will be explored more in a future post).

It’s not a surprise to me to see data which supports claims such as

  • Social networking is the most popular online activity in the world
  • Microblogging platforms like Twitter have emerged as a disruptive new force in social networking, news and entertainment
  • Mobile devices are fuelling an addiction to social

Slides 20-26 detail how Facebook truly dominates the social scene. How the site is even winning in most individual countries and regional markets is pretty astounding too.

What trends are you expecting or hoping for in 2012?

Links worth a click #15

A week with some great online content, tips and tricks.

PowerPoint as content: PowerPoint gets a hard press, in and out of meetings. But, used correctly, it can be turned into social media gold. Have a quick read of this blog post and see what ideas it sparks for you and your customers.

Business blogging: Here’s a piece for those amongst you managing or considering blogs, a list of ten great things to include in your thinking.

Some useful advice next on designing paid search (pay per click) campaigns that deliver.

Apparently, it’s no longer six degrees of separation when it comes to human relationships. According to Facebook, its 800m users give you access to anyone in the world (if they are on Facebook) in only 4 hops.

Using video? You should be. And it should be optimised. Here are some tips on how to optimise online video, with a natural focus on YouTube.

More next week. Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping weekend!

In b2b marketing, the only way is content

Amy put her shirt on the only way being Essex and lost

It’s amazing just how few B2B companies really understand the significance of inbound, content marketing. Culturally, it seems absurd to not only give away your best ideas and approaches for free but also potentially to your competition too.

Yet smart B2B marketers appreciate that there is no other way. If you want to be seen as an expert, an authority, someone to be trusted, it goes without saying that spamming everyone with interruption based advertising and direct mail is no longer going to achieve those goals.

The web is awash with advice and best practice on how to stimulate engagement. Engagement is the buzzword, the future of all relationships in the next generation. Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook are very different businesses, operating different models but with the same engagement strategy at their core. Engaging audiences at a time when attention span is at an all-time low partly because of technological advancement is a challenge with a lucrative prize.

But isn’t engagement actually the result of a process that looks to disseminate (transmit) useful information to target audiences (touch) which over time encourages them to believe you can help (trust) before then taking the obvious, and critical, step of taking an action which will lead to a single, or preferably multiple, purchase (transaction)?

It is now possible to map how everything you do from a content perspective delivers against tangible outcome-based measures whilst supporting your mission of being the go-to provider.

So, if you’re not going to transmit, touch, build trust and encourage transaction, what are you going to do?

Would you pay for content?

Question:  With so much free content online, would you really pay £1-£2 for a short white paper / ebook if it helped you in your job?

I recently conducted a quick and dirty survey poll through Linkedin exploring the topic of paid for content. Clearly, there is a huge amount of information made available for free online right now with lots of companies realising the benefits of using content to drive interest and position as expert.

The freemium model, which was for so long the mainstay of the software sector – where people accessed free but restricted software needing paid updates at a future point – has now rolled out to the information sector.

I was interested in establishing if business professionals would be prepared to put their hand in their pocket (or draw out their busincss credit card) and pay for content that looked like it might add value to their role or their business.

Thanks if you contributed. Here are the results.

 

I thought this was especially relevant given much of the advice online at the moment centres on publishing material far and wide in as many formats as possible.

Seth Godin’s recent piece for his new digital publishing initiative, The Domino Project, highlights some of the downward trends in traditional publishing and how businesses and individuals will need to adjust their strategies in the future – in order to 1/ cut through and 2/ make a meaningful return.

Do you always get out what you put in?

Is the reward always worth the effort?

There is a saying in business (and in life) that you get out what you put in. But is this really true? As the economy lurches from recession to depression and back again, businesses are working harder and harder not to achieve growth but to stand still. And marketers are having to stretch reduced budgets to achieve the same outcomes.

Techniques like Internet based content marketing assume that the creation and distribution of useful, usable information to specific audiences will over time develop their trust, reliance and eventually spend with you are in vogue.

But there are huge barriers to entry for businesses. How can you work around them?

First off, listen. Understand what is happening online, monitor the discussions, obtain insight and establish who the big voices are before doing anything.

Second, you need a fully functioning website capable of providing information quickly and channelling visitors to the lead capture devices that have built in.

Third, develop optimised material that they will be interested in and will click to obtain – accepting that by offering an email address and a phone number, they are opting in to future dialogue with your business.

Finally, promote this material widely on the Internet in order to capture the attendance of your audience where they graze. This means considering an investment in paid and earned media on media sites, industry portals, discussion forums and social networking sites to stimulate interest.

There is a clear in-cost involved in this. But there is also the ‘time’ cost which is often not calculated by businesses that are not time/service oriented.

Positioning yourself as an expert in order to drive inbound lead generation isn’t easy, quick or cheap. But by implementing a measured approach over the long term (and avoiding the distracting overtures of certain social media tools and games), you will build trust in your products and services regardless of budget or resource.

Image: Howstuffworks

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