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Entries Tagged as 'Business'

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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Media coverage is not a given

January 16th, 2014 · Media

NewspaperRoll_optI have the opportunity to review many business plans and one thing that always causes me some concern is that every business owner believes that they can generate a significant amount of marketing exposure by getting media coverage.

They pepper it throughout their plan because to them, it feels free and easy to get.

I  hate to tell you, but media coverage is not a given.

My concern comes from how unrealistic business owners, non profit directors and business leaders are about the type and amount of media coverage they’re going to be able to garner.

Here’s the reality check most need:

  • Most of what is newsworthy to you, is not newsworthy to the rest of the world.
  • Most reporters/editors are bombarded with news releases – yours has to stand out to even catch their attention.
  • Blinding sending your release to everyone is a sure to annoy most of them and reduce the likelihood of receiving any coverage.
  • Good manners go a long way.

Let’s dig into each of those reality checks to see if we can identity some best practices that will increase your chances of getting the coverage you want.

It has to actually be newsworthy: Earning media coverage can be daunting. Journalists have a finite amount of space/time and they have to decide which stories are going to be of value to their audience.

As you consider pitching a story, ask yourself – how would the reporter sell this story to his editor? What benefit or value would the reporter’s audience get? What could make this story so compelling that someone would share it with someone else who hadn’t seen the news coverage?

If these questions have you stumped, odds are the story isn’t newsworthy and you shouldn’t risk damaging your credibility by pitching it.

You have 3 seconds to peak their interest: Reporters and editors get buried in pitch phone calls, emails, faxes and snail mail releases. They can’t possibly read all of them thoroughly. They’re going to read the headline and scan the release, so you need to write it with that in mind.

Your headline will make or break you. If it doesn’t grab the editor’s attention, you’re headed for the “thanks but no” pile in a hurry. Make sure your headline makes them want to read more and tells them exactly why this is something their audience needs to know about.

Don’t let your laziness or ignorance cost you coverage: Because of my blog, I get pitches from PR pros and business owners every day. I’m often embarrassed by their efforts. They clearly got my contact information from some list – but have no idea what I write about.

Before you hit send be sure you’re sending it to the right reporter and the right publication. Take the time to review the last few issues/shows and get to know the kind of content they routinely cover. Don’t embarrass yourself or irritate the reporter by waving your laziness under their nose.

Say please and thank you: Never forget the importance of having decent manners. Be helpful, be available and be grateful if they tell your story.

More important than just simple good manners – don’t be a pain. Don’t call them incessantly to see if they got your release or if they’re going to use it. Don’t get ticked when they tell you “thanks but not this time” or it will be the last time. And if you really want to earn their appreciation and trust – you might give them a story or two that don’t involve you or your clients.

Earning media coverage takes some time, some preparation and some forethought. But most of all – it requires you take an objective look at your “news” and only pitch it when it’s worth pitching.

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Direct mail is the hot new media

November 15th, 2013 · Media, Trends · 13 Comments

Who would have thought it?  People have been predicting the death of direct mail for over a decade.  And yet, here we stand in 2013 and have to admit — direct mail is the hot new media. As everyone flocks to spending more time online, a curious thing happened  Our mailboxes got a lot less [Read more...]

Use social media to drive traffic to your business’ website

September 14th, 2013 · Sales, Social Media · 11 Comments

Social media is an ever-increasing facet of everyday business. Companies large (Starbucks) and small (your local car shop) are using social media to expand their exposure and reach a broad base of prospective consumers. B2B marketers are now spending 30% of their budgets on social media programs, trying to reach, among others, the 21 million+ Twitter [Read more...]

What does this pricing strategy say to you?

September 9th, 2013 · Marketing, Strategy · 9 Comments

How thoughtful are you about your company’s pricing strategy? Let me give you an example. We use an on-line vendor to provide extranet services for our clients.  We’ve been with them for over five years.  We recently discovered a better, cheaper solution.  It wasn’t the cheaper that sold us.  It was the ease of use [Read more...]

Useful = today’s marketing secret

September 3rd, 2013 · Books, Psychology, Sales, Strategy · 29 Comments

Let’s look at the reality: Fragmented media choices Permission-based media on the rise Ability to filter, skip, ignore irrelevant advertising Nothing beats word of mouth A jaded, cynical consumer Consumers tuning out, taking over and talking loudly about brands That mountain of challenges is what faces marketers every single day.  So how in the world [Read more...]

Why would I pick you?

September 1st, 2013 · Branding, Passion, Psychology · No Comments

We have to remember that every day, both our existing customers and potential customers are looking at us and wondering “why would I pick you?” Marketing 101 is that you need to understand how you’re different from your competitors.  It is perfectly logical — if you cannot differentiate yourself in terms of what you sell, [Read more...]

We have to earn our audience’s attention

August 9th, 2013 · Content Marketing, Customers/Clients, Social Media · 8 Comments

We 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. Would you ignore your business phone 30% of the time it rings? If a customer was standing in a crowd of your best customers and complaining [Read more...]

Guilty of the frantic scramble in your marketing?

June 5th, 2013 · Marketing, Strategy · 8 Comments

I grew up in Minnesota in the 70s and I love football which meant that back when I was a kid, my world revolved around the Minnesota Vikings and our incredible quarterback, Fran Tarkenton. At the time of his retirement, Fran owned EVERY major quarterback record out there. Fran was known as The Scrambler because [Read more...]

Is your marketing making you a rock star?

May 31st, 2013 · Books · 9 Comments

Mack Collier has hit a home run with his book Think Like A Rock Star* and I really want all of you to get his message. As consumers get more jaded by traditional advertising and marketing that interrupts rather than connects — this book serves up the answer. Why not be so good, create so [Read more...]