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Entries Tagged as 'Content Marketing'

Should you be a content marketer?

February 12th, 2014 · Content Marketing, Growing & Learning

Content marketing.  It seems like everyone’s talking about it. But what exactly is it and what can it do for your business? Odds are, if you’re doing any marketing at all — you’re at least accidentally dabbling in content marketing.

But, should you be a content marketer?  Let’s look.

First — it goes by many names.  Some people call it custom publishing or branded content.  Other people slap the label of social or digital marketing on.  And all of those names are accurate.

Content marketing is a broad term for any marketing technique that creates and distributes valuable, helpful and relevant information that demonstrates that you know your stuff.  These tactics draw the attention of people who are already your customers or could be your customers and they consume, share, and value the content.

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to create a sense of trust and comfort that will lead to someone making an initial purchase, making an additional purchase or referring you to someone who’s ready to make a purchase.

The way you build that trust can differ, however. Let’s look at four of the main goals of content marketing and the types of content marketing tactics you can employ to accomplish each.

If you want to entertain your audience, you might:

Make a branded video

  • Create a game
  • Give them a quiz
  • Start a competitions/contests
  • Invent a playful widget or app

If you’d like to inspire your audience, you might:

If you would like to educate your audience, you could:

  • Write an ebook
  • Publish some articles
  • Create an infographic
  • Generate media releases
  • Create guides or how to documents
  • Produce trend reports
  • Record a podcast
  • Send out an enewsletter

In you need to convince your audience, you could:

  • Host an event
  • Create some interactive demos
  • Put on a webinar
  • Create useful calculators or checklists
  • Share some case studies

This list is neither exhaustive nor is it exclusive. A speech can do more than inspire, it can also educate or entertain. A webinar can do more than convince – it can educate or inspire. The subject matter, the delivery style and the intent will dictate the outcome of your efforts. And hopefully, if you produce quality content – it will accomplish more than one of the goals.

But this isn’t something you should just jump into. Like any marketing strategy – content marketing requires forethought and planning, especially because producing a blog or podcast or even putting on a contest requires a significant amount of time and effort. You don’t want to exert that level of effort and not maximize your gain.

The effort and planning are well worth it. Content marketing allows a business to connect with a prospect long before they’re ready to buy. It gives them a sense of your product, service and expertise. It also lets them “sample” you and see if you’re a good fit. Good content marketing tools communicate not only your expertise but it also gives them a very good sense of your brand’s personality. It will attract the best customers for you and, as odd as it sounds, repel those customers who wouldn’t be a good fit long term.

There are a lot of benefits packed into this marketing strategy. Every business can find a content marketing tactic that is the perfect fit for your industry. It takes some time and effort – but the up sides are hard to ignore.

 

 

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We have to earn our audience’s attention

August 9th, 2013 · Content Marketing, Customers/Clients, Social Media

Listen Vs. Ignore - Toggle SwitchWe have to earn our audience’s attention.  Let’s see how you’re doing at that.

If you own or run a business, I’d like to you take this little quiz.

  1. Would you ignore your business phone 30% of the time it rings?
  2. If a customer was standing in a crowd of your best customers and complaining loudly, would you ignore them?
  3. If you had the chance to have the attention of your best customers and your best prospects for about 3 minutes uninterrupted, would you talk incessantly about yourself?

I have to believe that all of you passed this quiz by answered “good golly no!” to all three questions. After all you hustle like crazy to capture the attention of your customers and potential customers, right? Only a fool would squander the opportunity once they earned it.

And yet…that is exactly what’s happening online every day.

  • 30% of customer questions and comments on Facebook, Twitter and company blogs go unanswered.
  • 71% of complaints on Twitter are ignored.
  • 89% of corporate blogs only talk about themselves, their products, promotions and awards.

No wonder so many business people say that they can’t measure any ROI on their social media efforts. If anything, their ROI should come up as a negative number!

Too many businesses believe that social media networks are simply places they need to put a placeholder in. Like a flag that says, “Look, we exist here too” and then go to some autopilot shout into the abyss mentality. The core idea behind Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or any of the other networks out there is connection.

Real, human connection.

It’s why people share photos, stories of their day and get fired up about politics, religion and what their kid’s school is up to. And into that very personal and very meaningful conversation – most brands just blunder in and shout that they are having a sale.

Ugh.

Businesses spend thousands (and some millions) of dollars putting on elaborate dog and pony shows, with the hopes of capturing someone’s attention for a millisecond. So the assumption would be that they would actually value the attention, once they’d earned it.

But the truth is, most businesses think of social media as the newest necessary evil. They can’t get out of their own way enough to see the potential in it or that they need to approach it with humanity for it to work.

So what would that humanity look like?

Real interactions: When someone talks to you, it’s polite to reply in a reasonable amount of time. If you can’t monitor and react to a social media stream – don’t be there. Every social media tool out there has a way for you to be notified if you’ve actually started or were mentioned in a conversation.

Conversation, not monologue: No one enjoys being talked at. Your goal should be to spark conversation, not spit out rhetoric. Conversations are started when we care about the other person and ask questions, offer helpful information and listen to what they need from us.

Consistency: Just like all of our other relationships – we grow connections partially because of frequent exposures. You can’t get to know someone very well if you only communicate once or twice a year. It’s better to be fewer places but be in the places you’ve chosen more often. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Having a heart: If you don’t actually care – then don’t be there. If you genuinely care about your customers and what’s going on with them, then show that by asking questions, reaching out and being very human.

You can create an amazing referral source and client base with your online presence or you can alienate those who already have you on their radar screen. All it takes is a little humanity to make it work.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why isn’t marketing’s version of storytelling working?

November 11th, 2012 · Branding, Content Marketing, Sales, Storytelling · 13 Comments

Storytelling, storytelling, and more storytelling. Seems like every marketing book, blog (including mine if you’ve been reading this week’s posts) and study is talking about how we should be using storytelling as a marketing technique. I couldn’t agree more.  Unfortunately, I think most attempts fall short. Earlier this week — I made the point that [Read more...]

Have we lost the art of storytelling in marketing?

November 5th, 2012 · Branding, Content Marketing, Psychology, Sales, Storytelling · 17 Comments

As the buzz about content marketing, social media and all things digital continues to rise, one of the catch phrases that gets a lot of attention is storytelling in marketing.  We afford it incredible lip service but do we actually practice it? As we give way to our USA Today sound byte style of sharing [Read more...]

Write so they will hear you

October 30th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting, Customers/Clients, Voice · 6 Comments

Most people, when faced with the blank screen on their computer and a deadline for a new marketing piece looming, get a little uptight. It’s intimidating to capture everything you want a prospect to know and share it in a compelling way. Your product or service is superb and you have so much to say [Read more...]

7 keys to compelling case studies

October 2nd, 2012 · Content Marketing, Marketing, Storytelling, Uncategorized · 6 Comments

Why do case studies work so well? It’s simple really. Everyone loves a good story. And there’s a reason why Aesop and others opted to teach their life lessons through stories that have been told and re-told for many years. Smart parents know this trick too. They teach lessons to their children through stories of their [Read more...]

They’ll buy when they trust

September 27th, 2012 · Business owner/leader stuff, Content Marketing, Psychology, Sales, Social Media · 6 Comments

Here’s an equation that every business owner needs to understand. Know + Like + Trust = Buy. Whether you sell toothbrushes or multi-million dollar medical equipment and everything in between — until a customer: Knows who you are Likes who you are Trusts you there is no purchase.  The depth of the trust required varies [Read more...]

Content that your audience loves

September 8th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting · 5 Comments

I saw this on Scott Monty’s Facebook status…and loved it.  I couldn’t track down the creator but if I do, I’ll update the post. Just wanted to give you something to chew on over the weekend. McLellan Marketing Group is an advertising | marketing agency based in Des Moines, IA, and serving clients all over [Read more...]