Why Do You Use Content Marketing – Do You Think it’s for Branding or for Selling?

March 6, 2013

You can’t turn around today and not hear the words “content marketing.” You would have thought that someone had discovered the holy grail! Content marketing isn’t anything new, it’s just called something else. There can be arguments for both I suppose, but I feel the primary role of content marketing is to position yourself to have an advantage and sell something!

Why do people do business with you? It probably has something to do with your having something they find useful and need. It also probably has something to do with them finding you helpful, informative and an all-around good guy. They can count on you for troubleshooting or advice on best practices. Now I haven’t mentioned the term content marketing, but don’t you think that’s what you’ve been doing all along? Now they call it something different.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and known as the Godfather of Content Marketing, describes it “as a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable actions.”

Content Marketing should be helping you in some way to move a prospect down a sales funnel. I’m not saying they need to be hard selling but you need to able to satisfy a need of a prospect in order for them to take the next step. Always answer the question – WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? If a prospect can’t easily answer that question, there will be no next steps.

Chris Brogan in a recent guest post on Copyblogger, Why content marketing is not branding, highlights why the end game in any content marketing efforts have to be helping someone make a decision of some kind. He goes on to say that marketing and sales are not evil and that content marketing, if done correctly, will give the advantage in the long run.

What do you think content marketing is and how are you using it?


50 Power Twitter Tips to Help B-to-B Marketers

July 1, 2010

Twitter is often one of the most misunderstood and underutilized social media tools. I use it all the time and it’s one of the best lead generators for my blog.

Chris Brogan, one of the industry’s gurus, has put together a list of tips that I thought would be useful, so here they are:

Intent (Human Artist)

  1. Don’t read EVERY tweet. It’s perfectly okay. You have permission.
  2. Follow anyone who follows you (and unfollow spammers/jerks).
  3. Promote other people 12x to every 1 self-promotional tweet.
  4. Build lists to watch people who matter to you more closely.
  5. Retweet the good stuff from others. Sharing is caring.
  6. A lot of @replies shows a lot of humanity/engagement.
  7. Robot tweets are less sexy than human tweets.
  8. Promote the new/less followed more than the “names.”
  9. Set an egg timer. Twitter is addictive.
  10. Everyone does it their own way. You’re doing it wrong, too – to someone.

Technical

  1. A non-standard background and face avatar means we believe you may be human.
  2. Leave 20 characters or more space in each tweet to improve retweeting.
  3. Use Seesmic or Tweetdeck or Hootsuite so you can see more.
  4. Linking one update to several communities is technically possible. It’s just not respectful of each community’s uniqueness.
  5. Tools like http://bit.ly let you see stats. Use them.
  6. Make hashtags small and simple. We need room to tweet.
  7. If software allows you to “post updates to Twitter” as well as to the app, don’t do that. We rarely want to see them.
  8. If you develop software that pushes updates to Twitter, be VERY explicit how that works.
  9. Every time you use OAUTH to give apps permission to use your account, you open a potential security hole. Check your permissions monthly.
  10. The best mobile app is the one that you feel comfortable using. We don’t know better.

Business

  1. Spamming us repeatedly is okay. We just unfollow you.
  2. Spend more time in search than in chatting us up about your stuff.
  3. Finding people who need what you’re selling trumps advertising to us.
  4. Retweeting someone’s nice words about you is lame and doesn’t buy you more attention. Let it stand.
  5. If your link is an affiliate link or a client, say so (in parentheses).
  6. Your customers might not be on Twitter. Use rapleaf to find them.
  7. Invite your customers to Twitter, then make it worth it for them.
  8. Use Twitter as a personalized communication tool, not another blast.
  9. Having different accounts for everything seems like the right move, until you realize it’s hard to grow multiple followings.
  10. Just make money and then the boss won’t ask about ROI any more.

Integrated Usage

  1. Twitter makes every event better. Post the hashtag everywhere. Make every speaker sign/label/name include a Twitter ID.
  2. Apps like TweetChat.com make following event chats really easy. Put in a hashtag and go.
  3. Tweeting the content of events is nice, but so is occasionally making a real live connection with the speaker.
  4. It’s okay to tweet your blog posts, but try asking a question that leads readers into the post.
  5. Can you invite Twitter followers to your other social platforms, like LinkedIn or Facebook? Sure you can.
  6. I’m not into mixing my location apps with my tweets, but if you do, do it FROM the location app into Twitter, not the other way around.
  7. Getting others to tweet your posts or news or registrations is useful, but sometimes comes off as a barrage or spam. Be prepared for that perception.
  8. Tweets that point us to photos and/or video and/or music, etc., are always a great way to enhance the experience.
  9. Please remove Twitter from LinkedIn. Use the #in tag instead and be selective.
  10. Spammy or no, events that tweet their attendance registration seem to drive attendance.

Off-Twitter

  1. Are your tweets really what you want to show in your sidebar? Doesn’t that direct people away from your site?
  2. Think of Twitter as a guidance system to what you think is interesting. A lot of that is likely off-Twitter.
  3. Apps like VisibleTweets.com are neat, but can be very distracting at events.
  4. If you use tweets on a screen at an event, be warned if you moderate. Angry crowds can happen.
  5. Don’t forget to invite people from off-Twitter to follow you on Twitter. Include your actual Twitter ID (I see lots of “follow me on Twitter” with no details).
  6. Asking questions on Twitter makes for very interesting commentary and opinions for blog posts.
  7. Tweetups are awesome, especially if you make them about more than just drinking and saying hi. (Though, hey, drinks can be nice.)
  8. Outside of the Twitter app, keep “Tw” names to a minimum. We’re not your “tweeps.”
  9. If your only marketing efforts are on Twitter, start building an email marketing list. Never put your eggs in one basket.
  10. Start thinking in 120 characters (remember? save 20). Every bit of this advice is tweetable.

Your mileage may vary. Some of these might be really helpful and others might not be that useful at all, given your own situations. In fact, feel free to make your own version, add and subtract at will, and comment on where you disagree or agree. It’s all up for discussion. Besides, you’re doing it wrong.

If you like this article, you might enjoy:

How to Engage the Professional Tradesmen on Twitter

Awareness of Twitter has Exploded: Great Way to Reach the Professional Tradesmen

B-to-B Marketers: Tips on How to Optimize Twitter

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Trust Agents: A Must-Read

January 14, 2010

For those of you who want to get a great overview of ways to build relationships, both off-line as well as on-line, I’d suggest you read Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. What you learn are common sense ways to let people get to know, like, and trust you, and hopefully do business with you.

Most of the things you should already be doing in one form or another, but they show you how, by tying them all together, you have a better result. It’s an easy read, and they don’t bore you with the how to get the best out of Twitter or other social tools. They are concerned about the basic processes of building trust which will never change.

Gentlemen, good job.

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5 Tips for B-to-B Marketers To Get the Most from Twitter

May 15, 2009

john twitterBusiness marketers trying to reach professional tradesmen can’t seem to warm up to a 140-character message as an impactful way to reach their targets.

Twitter has become a very powerful tool especially if you use some of their tools like Twitter Search which allows you to identify key words and phrases so you can follow and start a conversation with them. You can even monitor your company or product names and see what they are saying about you!

Twitter is a great tool for starting an opinion poll or directing folks to things they are tweeting about. It has been used by marketers at trade shows to create “BUZZ” on the floor: Stop at booth XXX and see their new left handed widget for plumbers.

In a post by Chris Brogan, 50 ideas on using Twitter for business, he outlines steps and hints on how to get the most out of Twitter in your business surroundings. Here are the top 5 tips that will help B-to-B Marketers to get the most from Twitter:

  1. Instead of answering a question “what are you doing?” answer the question “what has your attention?”
  2. Have multiple twitters at the company. People take vacations, quit, get on special projects. You need to keep the content going, it has to be good and it’s nice to have a different point of view.
  3. When promoting a post, give them a hint of what’s coming next.
  4. Tweet about other people’s stuff – it makes you look human and not always talking business.
  5. When you do talk business, make it useful. Give them a tip or advice that would make their life better.

What are your thoughts on using Twittersearch?

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Content is King: Make Your B-to-B Blog More Impactful

April 17, 2009

1192388679l854qeJust like in the real estate market where the mantra is location, location, location, the same holds true for social media. CONTENT IS KING. Not content for content sake, but relevant content for your target market. I try to focus most of my posts and re-posts on subjects that have some sort of relevance to reaching my target audience, the  professional tradesmen.

Chris Brogan in a recent post, Make media work for you – elements of a good online content, reminded me that there are some basic principles to follow. Here are 3 good ones:

  1. Make content relevant. Write to answer the question for the reader of  “what’s in it for me?”
  2. Make it brief. Blogs are not white papers. Make your point, give them other links that may be of interest and move on.
  3. Make it portable. One of the purposes of a blog is to share it, so make it easy, i.e RSS or e-mail.

Content is important, but don’t have the attitude, “If I build it they will come.” Create something of value and then go find the people you’re trying to reach.

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