Marketing today is very different than it used to be. In today’s environment, we have to move away from traditional mass marketing because we have so many tools to tune out marketing messages—DVRs and satellite radio allow us to skip commercials, we read fewer traditional newspapers and magazines and we collect a lot of information online instead. So instead of traditional marketing, where you tried to “push” your message into regularly scheduled programming, we have to take a “pull” approach, enticing potential customers and clients to dive deeper into our businesses to learn more.
One phenomenal way to “pull” clients to us, is through the content we put out into the online world.
(For more information, read about Inbound Marketing)
Creating great content is what helps businesses get found online. (People search for a topic, and your blog post, status update, white paper or video comes up in Google… leading them back to your website, blog, Facebook page or YouTube channel.) In addition, good content demonstrates your expertise and builds your credibility.
We’ve all heard marketers say this: People do business with companies they Know, Like & Trust. It’s true. What better way to get to know you than to read something you’ve written? How better to be likeable than to showcase your personality on a video? How much could a carefully constructed white paper build trust with a potential customer or client? Good content gets you further down that ‘Know, Like & Trust’ road, so by the time they are pulled back to your business, prospects feel like they already know you.
This way of drawing people in creates more qualified leads than the old-school method, because we’ve already given them information about who we are, what we do or what we believe as business owners.
Sounds good, right?
Before you start creating killer content, you need to answer an important question – what the heck are you going to say? How are you going to tell the story of your business? One of the one most important things to do is to tell stories that people remember. You want to stay top of mind – so people reading your content will use or refer you.
So, what makes a memorable story?
- Add Value: You want to give people information they can use. Put content out there that allows them to learn something. Best case scenario, you want them to go home and tell others what they learned over the dinner table, or around the water cooler at work. “Where did you hear that?” Don’t you want the answer to be your website/blog/Facebook page?
- Ask Questions: People love to be heard. That’s the reason social media is so popular to begin with. So, give them a chance. Ask questions, start conversations, engage in dialogue. Let them get to know you by being a business that strives to get to know them. Make potential clients feel like they matter, and they’ll come back again and again.
- Create Buzz: Find out what people are talking about, and tie your business to it. Whatever the hot story is, people are probably googling it. Why not let them find your content while you’re at it? Don’t force the issue – no one likes a poser – but often you can make an intelligent connection with a little creativity.
A quick word about the nuts & bolts…
How you tell your stories will have a lot to do with how people consume your content. Most people will look at your website or blog or the Facebook newsfeed while they are at work. (Hey, not everybody loves their job as much as you do!) That means at any moment, the phone could ring or the boss could walk in, and they’ll be distracted. Tell your stories with the principles of brevity, simplicity and clarity in mind. Write great headlines and give them the important stuff first.
What if I don’t have a story?
Blasphemy! Of course you do. As my friend Kelly Weppler, of WH & Associates, says: “people don’t do business with boring companies.” So, pull out your journalist hat and get to work. Examples of good stories include…
- Focus on people. Who are the people in your business? You, employees, co-workers, customers, strategic partners… grab your cell phone and shoot a quick video with someone.
- Show and tell. Show me how you do something in your business; help me understand your expertise. Take me behind-the-scenes… everyone loves a backstage tour!
- Educate. No Selling. Enough said.
As you create content, remember this: It needs to be interesting enough for someone to share it with their friends. Once they do, you’re exposed to a whole new audience who didn’t know you existed. Make them curious enough to click the link…. and now you’re generating leads.
Feature photo credit: @crossfitbuena