This week’s guest is Paul Heron, CEO of Complex2Clear, a Toronto-based communications agency specializing in proposals, content marketing and websites for companies selling B2B services.
If you’re reading this post, chances are you think strategically and work at staying ahead of your competition in innovation, quality, delivery and client experience.
But who, besides your employees and your clients, appreciates how much value you deliver? Do outsiders generally know and admire your company ─ or do you often find yourself starting from scratch when explaining your key benefits and track record to new prospects?
If you’re in the “starting from scratch” category, consider content marketing, a powerful tool for building positive awareness about your business.
Content marketing is the practice of creating and sharing useful information prospects and others can read, listen to or watch via blogs, e-newsletters, white papers, research reports, magazine articles, industry presentations, webinars, case studies, podcasts, videos and others formats.
The idea is to demonstrate that your company is innovative and expert, but also generous in spirit ─ willing to share valuable knowledge freely with others. You gain recognition for being both smart and approachable and become the logical first stop for anyone shopping for your products.
Content marketing is among the fastest growing trends in marketing (to prove this, Google the phrase). Once available only to large consulting and financial services firms with research and printing budgets, it can now be practiced by anyone with a website.
Sound interesting? Here are some tips and a high-level schedule to help you get started.
CONTENT MARKETING TIPS
Start with research: Where is your community online? How can you best reach them? What kind of information would prospects find useful? What frequency makes sense ─ for you and your audiences?
Focus on your core message: Remember, this is a marketing initiative, not a creative writing exercise. It’s critical that each piece of content support your brand. Creating random blog posts about whatever’s on your mind is not content marketing.
Start small: Don’t overcommit. It’s better to publish monthly (or quarterly) and increase frequency, than to start weekly and burn out in a few months. Decide what resources you have and fit your campaign to your capabilities.
Set up your website to support content marketing: Use a contact manager and forms to begin building a list of people to whom you can push your content. Enable Google Analytics, so you can see which site pages attract and retain visitors to guide your content development. Here’s a video and free website audit tool to help you in this process.
Manage information quality: Make sure every item you publish is valuable. Your growing list of subscribers following your content is a business asset. Protect it with a process that ensures they receive consistent quality. Assign one person to review all content before publishing.
Avoid infomercials: This shouldn’t need to be said ─ but never stray into advertising in your content marketing. Along with poor quality (see above), it’s the fastest way to burn off your audience.
Set goals: Content marketing takes time and money. Set goals, track your costs and measure results to ensure it’s a good investment of your resources.
1. Confirm you have the appetite and resources for a content marketing initiative. Be realistic. A content marketing campaign is a long slow process. If you can afford to, consider using an outside agency to supplement your internal staff.
2. Brainstorm ideas for content to share. Use a facilitator and generate lots of topics. Plan to repeat this exercise every few months.
3. Rank each topic’s potential impact and time/effort to develop. Segment high-impact topics into several items to increase mileage. Identify your priorities and low-hanging fruit. Plan to revisit important topics every 6 months or so with an update.
4. Identify a subject matter expert for each topic. Who will be responsible for each item? This person may not be the writer; he or she could generate bullet points and review the draft for accuracy and completeness.
5. Set your priorities, channels and schedule. Frequency is important. When managing resources, consider publishing shorter items to increase frequency. The aim is to be top-of-mind when a prospect needs your services.
6. Document your plan, assign responsibilities and deploy. Manage your content marketing campaign like any other business process to enjoy maximum success.
You can contact Paul at 416-619-9208 or firstname.lastname@example.org