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3 Steps to Becoming the Industry Expert (Content Strategy, Water Cooler and a Book)

This Ogilvy post reminded me that content without true innovation doesn’t do much for your business.

A few months ago at the Online Marketing Summit national conference (where, by the way, I’ll be doing content marketing workshops in 22 cities), one marketer stood up and said:

How do I differentiate myself with my content?  My five competitors all talk about the same thing and we’re all fighting for the same keywords. There’s no where else to go.

I’ve heard this many times. Some marketing and communication professionals think that since the publishing of content is rather easy, there is little or no chance to truly create a remarkable message and unique story.

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. If you believe this, stop right now and follow this plan.

  1. Your Content Strategy – The stories you tell as a brand do not just compete with your actual competitors.  They compete with the niche trade magazines in your industry, the bloggers in your industry, Google and every other piece of content that your customers engage in.  That means your content MUST be the best.  It MUST be innovative. It MUST tell a unique and compelling story for you to be the industry expert. If it doesn’t, you have work to do.
  2. The Water Cooler – If only great content were enough. Content plus community is what gives fuel to the fire. Where are your customers at on the web or in person? That’s where you need to be.  Identify those key places, target the top five, and become a part of that community by offering consistently helpful information. Outsider content will bounce off your customers like a shield. Insider content engages, is accepting and creates real value.
  3. The Major Tactics (book and blog) – It may sound cliché, but industry experts write industry books. Look at the key thought leaders in your industry.  They all have books, don’t they?  They also have pretty compelling blogs. While both of these are tactical, these are “money in the bank” tools that show your expertise as an individual and a brand. If you (the brand) say that you are the experts in mechanical engineering for roller coasters, let me see the book. No book?  Sorry, come back next time.

As the great Chris Rock says, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Are you an industry expert or not?