Tips on Getting the C-Suite Involved in Blogging

August 27, 2014

The folks at the top got there, for the most part, because they know the industry and your customer base. Unfortunately, as they move up the corporate ladder, they spend less and less time with the customer and what’s really on their mind.

An interesting book Made to Stick  by the Heath brothers talks about the “knowledge curse” of the C-S. Basically, it means that the better we get at generating new insights and solutions, the harder it gets for them to communicate those ideas clearly. In other words, once we know something, it’s hard to imagine everyone already knowing it and when we go on with the thought, we bypass an explanation and go on to make the point, thus losing the audience.

The key with blogging is giving people valuable info that can help them do their job. The challenge for most of us is how do we get that knowledge from between the ears of the big boys and into the hands of the actual user? So what can we do to help get the valuable info out of the C-Suite and yet make it understandable to our target audience? Here are a few tips:

  • Narrow the focus of the article
  • Give them only a few choices to write about
  • Give them a deadline
  • Be prepared to edit out buzz words and what I call corporate speak and put it in terms your audience will understand
  • Edit for readability

So don’t give up on getting valuable info out of the corner office and into the hands of your customers.


Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing

August 6, 2014

So everyone knows what content marketing is. But do we know how to get the best results out of it? I know I’ve been doing this for over three years now and have hardly touched the potential of what is available. I’ve been to webinars, seminars and summits on the subject and continue to learn new ways to capitalize on content marketing.

I recently read Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing. As usual, Joe does a great job explaining how to use and integrate into overall marketing plan.

epiccontentmarketing-pulizzi

This is a good book for the beginner or for those already engaged to reinforce the right way of doing things. It’s easy to read, has lots of examples, from defining your strategy to developing and managing content to marketing your stories, and I’m sure you’ll get tons of useful tips on how to get more out of your content marketing.


Do You Repurpose Your Content?

August 5, 2014

We all work hard on developing content for your blog, but what happens after it’s posted? Yes, you optimize it for search and you use various social sites to promote it, but is that all?

Repurposing is taking an existing piece of content and communicating your ideas in different ways using different media (i.e. SlideShare, infographic, podcasts) to deliver the same message from several different angles. Not all content should be repurposed though. You should stick to your core message that’s not time sensitive.

I recently read a post by Darren Rowse, How to Repurpose Your Content and Why You Should Do It that gave great insights on not only Why but How to do it effectively.

Here are some of his key takeaways on doing it correctly:

  • Choose your content carefully - make sure it’s central to your key messaging and is not time sensitive.
  • Think carefully about the medium - some people like to read, others would prefer a podcast and yet others are drawn to infographics.
  • Use a different angle - while the subject matter would be the same, there are several ways you can approach the subject.

Some other suggestions from Darren are:

  • Spread out the repurposed content over a period of time to give the reader time to absorb it.
  • Repurpose as you write original content.
  • Utilize your archives. Check out what has had good response in the past and work with that.
  • Keep it visual.
  • Make sure to cross link back to original content.

 


Content Marketing: What Are Your Competitors Doing?

July 29, 2014

We hear a lot today about content marketing and how we all need to start producing more meaningful content to share. I’m OK with that, but most of us have the cart before the horse.

Instead of starting to develop content, we first do a content strategy. Lots of us do this by taking a look internally to see what content might already exist and identify topics and resources for future development.

But here’s where most of us stop—we don’t take a look at your competitors and see what they are doing. Doesn’t this make sense? If we were going to launch a new product, don’t we do our homework to see what’s already out there so we can figure out what to develop that will give us a competitive advantage?

I recently read a post by Danielle Terreri, Competitor Content Audits: Why & How to Vet Other Players in Your Industry that outlines steps you should take before finalizing your content strategy. Here are some highlights:

  • Content - what are they doing, do they have a blog, how are they talking about themselves and the industry?
  • Setup - what does it look like, how are they promoting it?
  • Blog - does it have a consistent theme, how often are they posting, what kind of topics are they writing about?
  • Evaluation - are they solving problems for their audience, where do you see opportunities for your company?

So bottom line is to avoid the ready, fire, aim strategy, vet your competitors and identify things you can do that would add value to your  target audience.


B-to-B Marketers: Are You Utilizing SlideShare?

July 23, 2014

slideshareWhen we think of utilizing social media in the marketing mix, SlideShare is probably the most overlooked and underutilized tool. There are over 60 million unique visitors a month to SlideShare sites with over 215 million page views.

Users are not only looking for good content, but also shared insights and SlideShare gives you a platform for both. Plus, you get the added bonus of using the other social media tools to promote your Power Points.

Lots of marketing departments, even if you tell them how great a tool it is, their push back very often is we don’t have time to develop one. My position is that between sales, marketing and the C suite, there are plenty of Power Points already existing that highlight and focus on issues that help differentiate you and help set you up as an industry expert. Here are some places to look:

  • Industry or association speeches that a C suite executive have given regarding an important issue or trend and their position on it.
  • Presentations to key customers on ways you can help solve their problems.
  • General positioning  Power Point on what makes you different.
  • Distributor-focused Power Point that talk about ways you support them.
  • Contractor-focused Power Point of the tools available to them from you to help them do their job.
  • New products with features and benefits.

I recently read an article by David Waring in Social Media Examiner -7 Ways to Use SlideShare for Your Business, that I found to be very  useful. He gives tips and examples on things as basic as creating well-designed slides, to how to work to get high rankings with key words and phrases by using key words in the file name and tag names. He also gives you tips on  how to grab attention using  how-to guides and  list titles.

The long and short of it is if you haven’t tried it, you have nothing to lose. You may be surprised what kind of views and leads you may get. I’d like to know your thoughts after you’ve tried it.


Why Content Curation is an Important Marketing Tool to Reach the Professional Tradesman

July 16, 2014

What is Content Curation?

Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging and publishing information.

Why is it important to Manufacturers who want to reach the Professional Tradesman?

Chances are you have lots of bits and pieces of information on your products/services. They are scattered all over from catalog, tech sheets installations sheets, presentations, etc. We as marketers are so focused on creating content, and in most cases, your first priority is to consolidate all relevant info on a product or service in one place. Once you see what you have, it will be easier to identify the pieces that are missing and need to be created.

Professional tradesman are always looking for help in solving problems, and it benefits both you and them if they can go to one source and get all their questions answered.

Wouldn’t it make sense for a potential customer who is interested in left-handed widgets to find one source that could:

  • help evaluate your situation and options available
  • give you an independent industry perspective on possible solutions
  • give you guidelines on what products to consider for the project at hand
  • give you tips on installation
  • give you troubleshooting suggestions
  • give you tips on maintenance

So if the number-one challenge to marketers is lack of time, doesn’t it make sense to organize first, then prioritize how you’re going to fill the holes?

Heidi Cohen wrote an interesting article recently, The Top 10 Reasons You Need Content Curation in Your Content Marketing Mix where she outlines her reasons to use content curation.

Here are a few that caught my attention:

  • it provides a variety of perspectives which helps increase its credibility
  • positions you as a thought leader in your field
  • good content will be shared leveraging other people’s audiences
  • builds your brand
  • content can be segmented for social media and drive folks to your curated site with more information that they requested

So don’t take the ready-fire-aim approach to developing content.  Take an inventory of current assets before developing new ones. Also don’t try to do everything at once. If you have products that serve several markets, pick one, do it well, document results and then plan the next one.

 

 


Are Your Sales and Marketing Departments on the Same Page?

July 9, 2014

Sales and marketing must work together to define the ideal client and determine how and what to get in front of them.

Social media and the internet in general has changed the way people buy. Today, research is done online long before the potential customer identifies themselves to a prospective vendor. So what can you do to ensure that when the buyer is ready, you’re on the list to talk to?

This is an issue that continues to frustrate marketers and sales across the board. Both disciplines have insights to offer and neither should be working in a vacuum.

I read an interesting article recently by John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing that addresses this very problem. He states: “My take is that for organizations to take full advantage of the dramatic shift in the way people and organizations buy today they must intentionally blend inbound marketing, outbound marketing and inbound selling a way that mirrors today’s customer journey.”

He offers some suggestions on how they can work together. Here are some highlights of shared responsibilities:

  • Planning - When marketing is creating a plan, involve sales. They have insights that marketing doesn’t. Their insights are invaluable in helping define the customer journey.
  • Editorial – Even if sales people aren’t great writers, they certainly can identify pain points along the way and possible solutions for marketing to write about.
  • Social - Make sales aware of social opportunities, whether it’s LinkedIn or participating in an industry forum that social is a good networking tool.
  • Engagement - Have sales and marketing make calls together or write a proposal.
  • Measurement - Forget quantity and focus on quality of lead and how you can take them down the sales funnel. Focus on creating a profitable customer.

If you liked this post you might like:

Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media? 

How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?

 


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