The way we consume media has dramatically changed in the last ten years: from smart phones to LinkedIn Today to Facebook and Twitter, we now all have information at our finger tips, instantaneously. This firstly means you and your business can be researched easily (see our article on managing your online reputation) but more importantly presents an opportunity for you to attract people that are looking for the expertise you have, with useful content.
Writing a company blog has become a core marketing activity for most businesses now to capitalise on this – especially in the B2B marketplace. However, far too many are simply creating content because they think they have to, rather than planning their content and making it as effective as possible. What you say or write has the potential to be read by thousands and snapped up by other websites and publishers. So, in a world were content is king, here are The Nurture Network’s top tips on how to use content to attract and develop business relationships.
1. Make it love at first sight
Once you’ve landed an idea for an article work backwards by starting with a great title that will instantly attract the reader’s attention. Make it magnetic by offering up a problem and solution or try humour, public interest, a touch of celebrity or an interesting statistic. Then use this winning start to expand your key points in the content. By keeping the title clear and punchy you’ll also find it easier to share on social media sites too.
2. Find your inner James Earl Jones
Whilst I’d suggest opting for the Lion King rather than Darth Vader, it’s essential that you develop a unique and authoritative voice with a clear and relevant point-of-view which enhances your standing as a ‘thought leader’ in your marketplace. The best content comes from genuinely knowledgeable experts, who offer real or improved solutions to a problem. There is never a lack of people asking questions, so follow or start conversations on Twitter, discussion forums or LinkedIn groups and use your knowledge to craft content which adds value.
3. Relevance is all relative
Don’t try to be everything to everyone – be clear on exactly the type of person or business you want to attract and craft your content to do just that. Hone in on issues or challenges that your target group encounter or create useful content that will help them enhance what they do.
Your target audience also drives how you get your content out there. Your content is only useful to you as a business driver if it is being seen, and being seen by the right people. So identify the places that your customers are going for information – be it print publications, online articles or forums and begin starting conversations and sharing your articles there.
4. Keep it regular and consistent
The key to developing ongoing engagement is to post regularly, ideally between one and three times a week, with fresh and high quality content which is interesting or entertaining.
Don’t get put off by how much time this might take – posts can be varying lengths and they don’t need to all be by one person! Once you have a set idea about how your blog should be useful to people and the topics it should include to achieve this, you can enlist others in your team to write relevant articles – and even invite guest bloggers to write about their area of expertise. In addition, if you see interesting articles, new products or ideas that would be relevant to your customer group add a snippet about it to your blog with a link out.
5. Bring your ideas and opinions to life
To make your points as tangible and useful as possible to your audience, provide examples to demonstrate your ideas in action, share key statistics where relevant and provide links to tools that are useful.
If you’ve been inspired by or are referencing another article always include a link to them especially if they’re potential customers because any traffic directed from your website to theirs will show up on their website analytics or Google Alerts. Similarly, when sharing content socially tweet it to anyone you’ve mentioned in the article or who you think it is relevant to – not only does this serve to highlight the value you are adding it also connects you with their audience.
6. Make it visual
As with headlines, images can really catch a potential reader’s attention in that moment of scanning the pages for interesting articles – so find a good image that works well with your content on a quality stock imagery site like Shutterstock.
You can drive even more engagement, and increase time spent on your site, with visual media like infographics and video. Video platforms like Vimeo are already incredibly popular while Jing enables you to record and share videos of your desktop which is an excellent way to produce online demonstrations. For infographics, Piktochart enables you to build your own graphic sheets while ThePDFChef enables you to build professional PDF brochures and guides from scratch in minutes.
Written by Christina Richardson, a business marketing specialist and founder of The Nurture Network: The on-demand marketing department for ambitious start-ups, and entrepreneurial SMEs – bringing great marketing people into your team just when you need them.