Content marketing isn’t a luxury anymore…it’s a necessity. Delivering consistent, valuable content to your customers and prospects is now a cornerstone of every business, large or small.
Here are 4 things that every business, not matter what the size, should be doing on a regular consistent basis that involves high-value content.
1. Blog – A blog may be the simplest and most effective way to deliver daily and ongoing content to your target buyers. It also gives you the ability to be edgy and cutting-edge on topics that can differentiate you from the competition. If you are looking for the basics on setting up a blog site, see this post from The Lonely Marketer. Once you launch the site and begin to add content on a regular basis, promote the site like crazy. Problogger has a bunch of great posts on this. Here’s “10 Tips for Finding Readers” and “Another 19 Strategies.”
2. Hire an Editor – It’s challenging to extract the best information from a company and deliver it to target buyers on a consistent basis. Businesses are set up to deliver products and services, not necessarily ongoing valuable content. For that reason, find an industry expert to take charge of your content activities. You can either find a freelancer (check your trade magazines to find the best ones) or hire a custom publisher to oversee your content activities (for a basic directory of custom publishers, go to custompublishers.com, or The Custom Publishing Council member directory).
3. Launch a Microsite – It’s often challenging for businesses of any size to add content to a product or services Web site. Large companies deal with corporate branding politics that causes headaches for any minor change…plus, large companies have many groups of targeted buying groups (so it’s challenging to deliver a consistent content message). Small companies may be scared to change their site too much because they at least want their site users to know what they are selling.
The easy answer is a microsite (sometimes called a content web portal). At this site you can focus on creating great custom publishing content targeted to your customers and prospects. Be sure the content is 100% customer-focused. If it is, you will be successful. A great example of a medium-sized company is Intuit’s JumpUp.com. It’s obvious their target is the small business owner and start-ups, and all the content is concentrated on small-business planning and entrepreneurial issues. Any company can do this…and if done right, the payoff could be big.
4. White Paper Program - White papers are usually 8 – 12 page documents that cover a key industry issue. Design doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but the content must be great. Custom published white papers can serve as excellent thought leadership and lead generation pieces for your company. The key with white paper programs is consistency. If you launch a program, make sure you have at least one white paper per quarter. Although you can use them as sales collateral, white papers are most easily downloaded from your Web site or, better yet, your microsite. Grant Thornton has always done a great job with their white paper program. Check them out here.
Although there are many more custom publishing/content marketing initiatives that a company can (and maybe should launch), these are the basics that every business must have in our new marketing social media environment. Down the road, you may want to consider printed custom magazines or newsletters, a digital magazine launch, eProducts such as eBooks or eNewsletters, and possibly in-person events such as customers roundtables.
Final Note: The Case for Print. I was at the Folio conference in New York recently where traditional publishers discussed the differentiation between print and web users. Consistently, publishers notes that there was only about a 15 to 25% overlap between print and web users. Depending on your industry and your readership, be sure you understand how your customers want to receive their information. If the research tells you print is still a big part of their daily behavior, you may want to integrate the above strategies with a print newsletter or mini-magazine that can lead buyers back to the content on your Web site.
- Key Questions When Launching a Content Marketing Initiative
- Why Most Custom Publications Aren’t Measured
- Stop Shouting Features: 5 Tips To Create a Knowledge Marketing Program
- Want Customer Loyalty? Create Customer Wins With Content
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