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4 Ways to Get Over the Barriers to Reach Tough Prospects


Reaching top-level prospects can be an exercise in frustration. The barriers to delivering your message (voice mail, spam filters, administrative staff, etc.) are great. How can you get your content onto the desks – and desktops, laptops, and tablets – of qualified customers?

You could carefully post content onto your company’s website in the hopes that it will claw its way to the top of search-engine results. Or, you could give your content a boost by getting it published in media already read and trusted by those high-level prospects.

Being published by third-party media has two huge benefits:

  • Your message breaks through the barriers because it appears where your prospects already are looking.
  • Your content has more credibility because it appears in media that your prospects trust.

What content formats and outlets are desirable? They could be:

  • A guest post on a highly respected blog serving your industry
  • A white paper, video, infographic, or other content posted on the website of a professional or industry association
  • An article published in a trade or professional magazine – print or digital

Have the avatar in mind

Before you start thinking of which media will be the best vehicles, be sure to have a clear image of your ideal client. Some call this an “avatar,” others refer to it as a “persona,” but in any case you must be able to visualize who you want to reach.

You are not your prospect. You need to learn to think like your prospects in order to target media that will be effective in reaching them.

While this process can apply to any industry, let’s use the example of a large, utility-scale, solar-power company. As its content marketing strategist, you’ve been given the task of reaching top-level prospects at major oil-and-gas companies in Houston.

Your message: We can help manage the liabilities that may come if your company’s current products are alleged to have damaged the world’s climate.

In identifying your avatar, you recognize that the best audience for your particular message is those who provide legal counsel for the oil-and-gas companies because they are tasked with managing liabilities.

Your avatar: Juanita – the head of in-house legal counsel for an oil-and-gas company based in Houston who may have some interest or inclination toward green energy.

Use four facets of your avatar’s perspective

How does Juanita stay informed on the issues that affect her company? She uses four types of outlets:

  1. Industrial media

Juanita reads media relevant to the oil-and-gas industry. There’s a good chance she reads publications which you’ve never known but are highly influential in her industry such as E&P (Exploration and Production), Pipeline & Gas Journal, or Hydrocarbon Processing.

Advertising rates in any of these specialty publications could cost over $5,000 a page. You don’t have that kind of budget. Instead, you craft an article about how solar power can help the oil-and-gas sector demonstrate due diligence to manage liabilities. Given the relevance to its audience, the sector media outlet publishes your content – and gets you in front of Juanita.

  1. Professional or occupational media

Juanita is an attorney. As such, she also delves into media that specializes in her profession. You write an article about the legal aspects of solar power, including a recent legal case or new relevant environmental regulation. You’ve added some news value to your content, which makes it more interesting to an editor.

  1. Geographic media

Juanita lives and works in Houston, which has an economy that is heavily dependent on oil and gas.

You take on the challenge of the Houston media, which is difficult because a strong local angle isn’t always easy to find. You pitch a story about an oil-and-gas company in the Houston area that is getting involved in solar power. You also offer an article authored by a locally recognized authority.

  1. Issue- or cause-related media

Juanita is interested in sustainability issues. In her personal time, she reads media – magazines, websites, and blogs – that focus on this cause. You create a guest post for one of those blogs and incorporate influencer interviews from people in the oil-and-gas sector who advocate solar energy.

Medium regulates the message

Don’t forget that the publication’s orientation should dictate the content you develop. Editors complain to me that they get many story pitches from people who have not taken the time to figure out what kind of content the publication provides its readers. There’s a right way, and many wrong ways, to present your idea to an editor.

Niche publications serving an industry, occupation or profession, geographic area, or cause are often eager to receive informative content provided it is relevant to their readers. So, you’ll need to tailor your message accordingly. After all, you want Juanita to know your company’s name and recognize that you’re providing valuable information in her industry, profession, region, or area of personal commitment.

Want to discover more ways to get your content in front of your target audience? Get to Content Marketing World 2015. Register today and use code CMI100 to save $100.

Cover image by Viktor Hanacek, picjumbo, via