Content Marketing: What Should I Write About?

September 13, 2011 Filed under: Content Marketing,SEO — Tags: , ,

If you are actively pursuing an SEO strategy for your website, you are most likely aware of the need to create unique, compelling, and original content on a regular basis.  Any SEO practitioner will tell you how critical content publishing is if you want your website to get found by the search engines.  Content is King has become the mantra of SEO.

You probably also know that you need to think like your target audience in order to be found by them.  This means using words they’re likely to be searching for, and addressing needs they can relate to.  Nothing new for anyone in sales or marketing, right?

content marketingActually, it is new — especially for many small businesses.  Compelling online content needs to go beyond traditional sales & marketing speak; it needs to provide standalone value, not just sell your products.  It needs to speak like a journalist, not a sales person.  It needs to be educational, not promotional.  In short, it needs to be about your audience, not about you.   Sounds simple, right?

Making the Content Leap Easier

Creating online content can be a tough leap into new territory, even for experienced marketers.  Many business owners have plenty to say about their own products and plans, but are challenged when it comes to creating audience-focused topics.    “What else can I talk about besides the subject I know best?” a small business owner asked me recently, meaning, of course, his own products.  I asked him to think about what publications his customers read every week – and then become one of them.   He gave me a blank stare.

If you’ve been in business a long time, it’s tough to step outside the traditional selling mindset and begin thinking like a publisher.  But if you want to be found in organic search results, publishing – not selling – is the best approach.  Here are some steps to make the transition easier:

Keyword research. Every business knows what its customers’ needs are in some form, since they’re in business to satisfy a need.  But you might be surprised to find your customers don’t use the same words you do to talk about it.  Google’s Keyword Research Tool will help you find words and phrases your target visitors actually search for, and how many other websites are competing for those terms.  Use this tool to find the ‘sweet spot’ of popular phrases, relevant to your business, and least competed for as a starting point for your content topics.

Customer interviews. If you have trouble stepping out of your selling mentality, try interviewing a handful of your customers.  Take the conversation away from your product area and find out more about their business, what challenges they face, their current frustrations and needs, their longer-term plans and dreams.  This will help you think bigger-picture, write from a sympathetic perspective, and address topics they care about.

Freelance writers.  If you’re too busy to struggle through writer’s block, or find you can’t step out of your own perspective, hiring a freelance writer may be the best way to produce content.  If you’re selling to a consumer market, a freelance writer can master your content readily and bring some fresh creativity.  If you’re a B2B company, you may need to train a writer on your industry specifics, but you’ll find that many freelancers are former (or current) journalists and will come up to speed quickly.  If you’re busy running your business or writing fills you with dread, this is your best option.

Industry publications. Read your industry publications.  Notice the trends, tips, and general topics they cover.   This is probably your best research for what topics readers find interesting, since publishers are in the business of selling content to your target audience, and they know what sells.  Follow their example and you’ll be off to a good start.

The new age of content marketing is just beginning and most marketers are trying to find their way with limited guideposts and no experience.  Several websites – Hubspot and Copyblogger being my favorites — offer volumes of good advice on how to do it well.  But if you don’t want a full course on the topic and just need some pointers on creating good online content, try these approaches and learn for yourself.  Web analytics will give you real-time feedback on how well you’re doing and allow you to adjust as you go.

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Does Your Business Have a Story?

your company story

Source: bcarsonradio.wordpress.com

An editorial in last week’s Sunday New York Times, called What Happened to Obama? got me thinking.  The article, by Drew Westen, talks about Obama’s failure to ‘tell us a story.’  The author describes his disappointment when he listened to the president’s inauguration speech back in Jan. 2009, disappointing because there was no story told to give context and meaning to the financial calamity people were experiencing:

Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety.

While I found the claims about Obama to be compelling and thought-provoking, it got me thinking more generally about story-telling, that form of art and entertainment that goes back as far as human history.  The article’s key point is that stories matter because they speak to people in a way that straight facts do not.  Stories appeal not just to the rational mind but to the heart, and that’s ultimately what reaches people, what causes them to act, to care, or even to change their mind.

Story-Telling Your Business

So what does this have to do with small business marketing?  The same thing it has to do with marketing anywhere.  Marketing, if done well, is all about telling stories.  There are short-term stories – why a new product matters, how your customers are using your products to solve their problems, what trends are shaping your industry, etc.  These are the stories companies generally issue press releases about and, if compelling enough, get press or blog coverage for.  Then there is a company’s primary, defining story – the story that sticks in customers’ minds about who the company is.  Some would call this a ‘brand narrative’; I would call it a company’s story.  If you want your company to be remembered and your brand to ‘stick’ in the minds of your target audience, you need to have a strong story.  And your marketing – both online and offline – needs to consistently tell that story.

What Kind of Story?

What does it mean for your company to have a story?  Does it mean you have to create a fairy tale around yourself?  Does it simply mean reciting your company history?  Do you need your employees or executives to be colorful characters?  The answer is a partial yes to all these questions, but those are not the questions to start with.  The first question is the one that all sales & marketing folks know the answer to: what is your unique selling proposition?  Start with that, and you can begin to build a story around it.

For some help with the story part, I return to Drew Westen’s column again, where he says (rightly) that “our brains evolved to expect stories with a particular structure, with protagonists and villains, a hill to be climbed or a battle to be fought.”  Any good PR person or journalist knows these basic rules about story-telling.  But many marketers do not; those who don’t often default to just relating facts about what products they offer and why you should buy.  Here are some great examples of companies whose brands tell a story:

Apple Computer. The villain was drab, boring business computers in the 1980’s and too many look-alike cell phones in the 2000’s.  Apple’s ‘cool’ products entered the scene, gained recognition from creative advertising and wildly loyal customers, and achieved market share and profit victories because of its ‘insanely good’ product design.  That’s a good story.

Facebook. The villain was “your parents’ computing approach” – namely, email and Internet search.  Facebook, designed for the college crowd (who then grew into the GenX & GenY workforce) defined a new approach to communication and networking and fueled the next tech revolution of social media.  This story was good enough to merit a movie and win an Academy Award.

Subway. The villain here is high-fat fast food chains, and the victims are health-conscious consumers.  Enter fresh, healthy Subway, who’s been around for years, under-appreciated, and now getting a second look from obesity-sickened Americans.  This well-timed story found fertile ground in the health-food movement.

Does your business have a story?  Are you telling that story, or is it being told for you?  Now is the time to seize your own narrative and cement it in your customers’ minds so they can retell it for you.

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What Does PR Even Mean Today?

August 9, 2011 Filed under: Blogging,Content Marketing,SEO,Social Media Marketing

Public relations used to mean working with the media, feeding them story ideas, providing access to spokespeople, and putting the best spin on stories about your organization.  I know – I did it for many years. The assumption was that journalists, with their high degree of credibility, could influence public opinion in your favor if you played your cards right.  The PR skill was in finding and cultivating influential reporters, understanding their audience, and offering them unique, newsworthy story ideas to interest their readers.  You could of course spin things in your favor, but most reporters have a keen ear for the truth and a credible reputation to uphold, so having high quality content and an interesting narrative would get you the farthest.

The model has changed, of course, as journalists are scarce and people currently rely on blogs, social media, online communities and other forms of crowd sourcing for their information.  And yet, despite the changes, the basic ingredients for how to tell your story haven’t changed.  Establishing credibility for your brand still requires compelling stories and influential relationships.

PR today has migrated from media relations and story ideas to encompass blogging, SEO, content strategy and social media.  A PR professional who doesn’t embrace these other points on the Communications circle will likely be overrun by those who do.

PR bleeds into SEO, social media, blogging

Blogging – PR professionals understood early that many journalists were turning into bloggers.  Today, finding the bloggers that influence your target audience can be more challenging as there are more of them and their needs are different.  Many are open to more than story ideas and will welcome contributed articles and guest posts.  Most welcome comments and opinions and can be a great opportunity for focused industry discussion.  PR professionals need to come to the table with more than story ideas if they want to take full advantage of the blogging opportunity.  Ideally, start your own company blog and use your great story ideas yourself.  Or build relationships with other influential bloggers in your market and guest post there.

SEO – SEO aims to bring your target audience to your website.  It starts with keywords, and uses those keywords to flavor your company’s website content so it can be found by searchers.  It then uses links in offsite content  – press releases, blog posts, articles, etc. — to bring new visitors to your website.   Since PR professionals live by words, knowing which keywords to feature and which sites to target for links will make you a key contributor to SEO and online marketing efforts.

Content Strategy — PR is about communicating a company’s messages to its target audiences.  You can’t do that without having interesting stories to tell and plenty of content to share.  That’s true now more than ever.  But with so many places to tell your story online, you’ll be running in circles unless you have a clear strategy for what you want to publish, to which audience segment, via which channel, and when.  A content strategy will  help you determine which audience segments to target with different messages, which channels (blogs, social media, etc.) to target for each audience, and how to ensure consistency across the board.  An editorial calendar is an essential tool for this purpose.

Social Media – Everyone is chatting on social media.  If you’re not there, listening to what opinion leaders and customers are saying, you’ll have a hard time influencing anyone in your company’s favor.  Traditional PR media relations required you to connect with reporters who covered your business; social media relations requires you to connect with anyone talking about your business.  The importance of relationship building has never been greater.

Are you a public relations professional?  How has your job been transformed?

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4 Tips To Improve Your Landing Pages

July 13, 2011 Filed under: Content Marketing,PPC — Tags: , ,

Guest post by Brandon Clay

landing page example“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Some clichés shouldn’t die. That’s one of them. First impressions are crucial and have value beyond job interviews and first dates. Whether you know it or not, your website is giving many, possibly thousands of first impressions to prospects every day.

Are you making a good first impression on your prospects?

All the quality traffic in the world won’t help a bad website. Even if your PPC advertising and Social Media is cranking on all cylinders, if your landing page doesn’t work, you’re wasting your time. Radical statement – but true. That’s why it’s critical to your business to fix your landing pages.

Landing Page Tip #1: Define Your Purpose

The landing page, or the webpage that your visitors first visit on your site, is your visitor’s first glimpse of your website. Before coming to your landing page, visitors are predisposed to think something positive about your business. Maybe you gave them a business card or promised something in an ad. Whatever the reason, visitors are coming to your landing page because they want to check you out. What do you want them to do there? (more…)

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Online Marketing – It All Starts With Keywords

June 15, 2011 Filed under: Content Marketing,SEO — Tags: , ,

Words are the currency of the Web.  With over 40 billion indexed pages, the web has more words than most people can fathom, and in fact, leaves most of us overwhelmed.  With all the noise of people talking, bloggers publishing, forums commenting, social media sharing – how can you, one small business, reach out and connect with the people most likely to care about your product or service?

Keyword loading

Pollinate your content with Keywords

It all starts with keywords.  Keywords are your unique identifier, the beacon your website sends out to let your target audience know who you are and how to find you.   As Shari Thurow writes on Search Engine Land blog, keywords help define the “aboutness” of your website in a way that’s visible to others – both humans and search engines.  And social media, when used well, can amplify your beacon and confirm your “aboutness” in conversations by others.  The trick is to pollinate content with your keywords and encourage it to take root broadly, building your brand where it will bear the most fruit.

Keywords – The Bridge Between Marketing and Publishing

You’ve probably heard by now that online marketing is all about content.  Authoring a blog, creating a Facebook Page, chatting on Twitter, sharing your favorites on Digg or delicious – marketing today is about having something to say that engages your audience.  But how can you make sure your ‘content’ is not just blowing in the wind?  How can you make it purposeful and productive?  How can you use it to draw people to your website so they can take the next step with you?

Keywords are the connection that ties interesting content to a purposeful marketing strategy.  An online marketing campaign without keywords is like a political campaign without soundbytes.  You may have something to say, but it doesn’t stick.  Your keywords will only stick if they are the actual words or phrases your customers would naturally use to talk about and search for information or products in your niche.  (See here for a great primer on how to perform keyword research).

Constructing A Keyword-Focused Digital Presence

Once you define your keywords, they should populate all the content you produce – not in an over-stuffed way, but woven naturally into your pages and posts, and featured in your titles and headings.  It helps to create an editorial calendar, listing your most important keywords and mapping them to each piece of content that you or others in your company will author (blog posts, Facebook shares, tweets, etc.).   This will turn your content publishing efforts into a deliberate piece-by-piece construction of the digital beacon that you want to shine brightly for you in the thick fog of the web.

keywords and content marketing
Keywords create a beacon for search engines & searchers

The more digital content you have pointing to your website with a consistent, keyword-identified theme, the more likely it is that:

  • Search engines will rank your site well for your target keyword phrases
  • Social media conversations on that topic will reference or link to you
  • Bloggers on that topic will link to and send traffic to your website
  • Your online reputation and thought-leadership will grow
  • More visitors will come to your site looking for exactly what you have to offer

For more on keywords and content marketing, see these posts:

Choosing the right keywords for content marketing

Don’t Damage Your Brand With the Wrong Keywords

Keywords, Aboutness and SEO

Will Content Strategy Save Marketing?

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Turn Your Website Into a Lead Generation Machine

May 24, 2011 Filed under: Content Marketing,Internet Marketing — Tags: ,

Marketing your business has always been about creating awareness and generating leads.  In the world of online marketing, the goals are no different.  Your web presence can be your primary vehicle for creating awareness and generating leads.  And better yet, you can test, measure and continually improve your effectiveness and success in reaching those goals.  You can, in fact, turn your website into a lean, mean, lead-generating machine.

Is your web presence doing the job?  This first of a 2-part series will talk about how to Create Awareness  – that is, bring traffic to your website.  Part 2 will address how to Generate Leads – e.g. convert your website visitors into qualified leads and customers.

Who is Your Target Visitor and What Are They Looking For?

When you generate traffic to your website, you are filling the top of your sales funnel.   You’ll want to make sure you understand who your target audience is and what they’re looking for, so you don’t attract a lot of ‘tire kickers’ who are unlikely to buy.  If you want the other end of the funnel to produce qualified buyers, follow these 3 simple steps on the front end.

courtesy of Hubspot

Define your target visitor.   Who are you trying to attract?  What is their basic demographic profile (age, gender, location, income/education level, occupation, etc.)?  How would you describe their personality, attitudes, values, lifestyle?  A  45-year-old work-at-home mom, for example, may be concerned about safety and time-savings, while a 24-year-old urban professional is probably more interested in status and mobility.   Create a mental picture of your target audience, and make that the focus of all your online content.

Define your keywords. With this mental picture in mind, create a list of keywords your target audience would use when looking for a product or service like yours.  You’ll add to this list over time, and it will be a critical resource for planning your online marketing campaigns.

Find where your target audience spends time online. Using your keywords, search social media like Twitter and Facebook to find where your target audience is active online.  Listen to their conversations and find out what topics they care about.  Search blog directories to find who is blogging on topics related to yours. Read through blog comments to find out what your target audience is thinking, reacting to, talking about.  The web offers unlimited resources for exploring your market, and your keywords are your navigation tools.  Be sure to just listen at first; you can jump in with your own comments later.

(more…)

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Marketer, Media or Museum? The Content Curator

April 5, 2011 Filed under: Content Marketing,Internet Marketing

content curatorI just read a blog post by Joe Pulizzi at Junta42 Content Marketing about content curation.  It got me thinking.  His claim – first articulated by Rohit Bhargava in 2009 — is that, as more companies develop a content marketing strategy, a new role is emerging for a content curator, defined as:

Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating.  To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward.

The pendulum is swinging again, as it always does.  With the amount of content creation that has exploded since the Social Media craze began 2-3 years ago, there now exists in every field more content than anyone can take possibly absorb.  It is no wonder that curators and gatekeepers are the next evolution of digital marketing.

But wait a minute….doesn’t a curator work in a museum?  Isn’t content creation a job for the media?  And what does this mean for marketers?

For Bloggers – A Cure for Writers Block

If you’ve thought about creating a blog but suffer from writer’s block, this concept is great news for you.  You don’t necessarily have to become a star journalist overnight.  Instead, start as a curator.  Read all the blogs you can in your niche market, then sort and prioritize, hand-pick the best, and share them with your readers.  A “Top 10 posts” on a particular topic makes a great blog post. Or, find a post that stands out for you and add your voice by sharing your reactions on your own blog (like I’m doing here!).  Always link back to the original writer, of course, and invite feedback if you want to make it a dialog.  The good news is, you don’t need to write your own blog from scratch.  Think of it as part of an ongoing industry conversation, where your role is to bring forward the best-of-class thinking for the benefit – and involvement – of your unique audience.

For Social Media Types – Sharing With Purpose

This is what most of us do everyday on Facebook and Twitter: share interesting information and links with our friends and peers.  But content curation takes it a step further and makes your sharing part of a larger content strategy.  As a content curator, you don’t just share what seems interesting; you prune through the overload, find what’s most valuable to your audience, and share it – branded with your perspective.  Make sure the content you’re sharing is consistent with the brand or image you want to convey — and that it feeds social media followers to related content on your blog or website.  The idea is to share the right information at the right time, to the right people.  As Eric Tsai says in his Business 2 Community blog, attention is the new currency online, and content curators are the gatekeepers to increasingly limited attention spans.

For Webmasters —  Digital Assets That Drive Traffic and Conversions

A comprehensive content marketing strategy should have your company website at its center.  A content curator will aggregate your company’s best digital assets for display, much like a museum curator creates a thoughtful exhibit to display historical or artistic artifacts.  The criteria for displaying content on your website should be all about what drives traffic and conversions – and you can back that up with web analytics to show you what works..   Most companies have a wealth of information to share; the important question is what information on your website will lead visitors to the next step you want them to take.

In a world of information overload, the attention will soon turn to those who can help us make sense of it and bring the cream to the top.  Build a reputation as a trusted content curator in your line of business and your audience will return again and again.

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Bring Out Your Dead — Content, That Is

January 26, 2011 Filed under: Blogging,Content Marketing — Tags: ,
dead content

from Wikipedia

If you’re old enough to remember Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you may remember the “bring out your dead” scene (it still cracks me up!).  I don’t want to draw too strong an analogy, especially since the ‘almost dead’  guy gets whacked in the movie, which is not what I’m suggesting.  But I would urge you to think about bringing out your dead.  Content, that is.  If you’re a content marketer, blogger, or Social Media chatterer, you may sometimes wonder where your next idea will come from.  Perhaps you’ve felt that knot in your stomach when gazing at a blank WordPress screen and no blog post topic comes to mind.  Or maybe you feel like you’re just repeating yourself  or regurgitating what you’ve read on other blogs.

One antidote to content cramps may be to look backward.  Previously published content may seem like it’s history, used up, or dead.  But it can actually have plenty of life left — if you know how to revive it and make it relevant to your readers.  After some practice at reviving existing content, you’ll learn how to create new content in ways that are designed for reuse from the start.  Here are some ideas:

  • Company presentations.  You can reuse company slide presentations in their entirety or break them up into digestible snippets for multiple reuse.  We have a tech client who uses their executive presentations from tradeshows and posts them on DocStoc and SlideShare, re-narrates them into videos for YouTube, and re-casts them into multiple blog posts for the company blog.  That’s extended mileage!  Instead of reaching only a room of people, the content is spread across the Web, bringing links, traffic and leads to the company website, where visitors can take the next step in the selling cycle.
  • Educational materials. If your product or service requires instruction, this can be a great source of educational blog posts, helpful tips on Facebook or Twitter, or demonstrations on YouTube or Webinars.  Also consider guest blogging on complementary blogs.  We have a client that sells beautifully handcrafted furniture and they guest blog on interior design blogs so they can educate readers on how to beautify their homes with classic furniture.  And, of course, this builds links to enhance their search ranking.
  • The voice of the customer. Testimonials.  Case studies. Customer reviews. It’s likely you already have some form of written feedback directly from your customers.  What else can you do with it?  Place it on your website.  Feature it in a video and post it on YouTube or your Google/Bing Place Page.  Share it on Facebook.  Quote it on your blog or e-newsletter.  And if you know someone is a fan, engage with them on Social Media and invite them to say more about why they like you.
  • Press releases. If you have news worthy of a press release, don’t stop there.  Make sure you optimize your press release, include links to your website, and post it online.  Then re-cast it as an article or a guest blog post on partner websites or blogs.  Embed a video and post that to YouTube.  And, of course, contact news reporters and bloggers to encourage them to write about your news – then you can feature their article on your blog.
  • White Papers. A single white paper may be the source of multiple blog posts or an article series for distribution to article directories.  A skilled editor will know how to pull out the key points and build each one into a single blog post, optimized for the right keywords.
  • Ebooks. These work as a source or a destination for  content reuse.  You can package a group of related articles or blog posts as an eBook and offer it for download on your website as a qualifying call-to-action.  Or, if you started with an ebook, you can break it into smaller pieces and run it as a series of blog posts.  Either way, a bit of re-wording and selective updating can revive and freshen up old content so you don’t need to start from scratch.
  • Industry articles or blog posts you’ve saved from other sites or publications can be used as a jumping-off point for your own commentary or to initiate discussions on Twitter or other Social Media.
  • Support Forums. These will give you a good idea of what your customers are concerned and talking about, and give you fresh ideas for what topics they’ll want to read about on your blog or Facebook.  You can quote their comments or questions as your starting point, and turn to your Support department for help with the answers.

So, if you find yourself short on ideas for what to say on your blog or social media, return to the well of existing content.  If you pay close attention, you just might hear it whisper “I’m not dead yet.”  If you understand the value of content marketing, you’ll realize that existing content can come back to life in many forms, be reused in many channels, and work on many platforms – all of which can help generate traffic and links to your website and build your reputation online.   And you’ll never run out of things to write about.

For some great examples of how to re-purpose existing content, see the book by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks and Webinars.

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Ten Free Image Sources For Your Blog, Website, or Facebook

January 12, 2011 Filed under: Blogging,Content Marketing — Tags: ,

Most websites and blogs regularly post pictures, but using someone else’s picture without permission or credit can be a violation of copyright law. There are, however, many websites that offer copyright-free images for use by anyone.  If you want to make your blog posts more readable and visually appealing, these sites can save you a lot of time and hassle.  Some copyright-free photos require that you give proper credit to the photographer; others have no stipulations.  Be sure to read the usage rules carefully and respect the wishes of those who have donated their work for public use.  I’ve tried to provide here a broad range of image types, so browse closely if you’re looking for particular topics or types of images.

Flickr, the most widely used photo-sharing site, has a “freeuse” collection of over 1,000 photos that have been donated by users to be used by anyone. There is no need to give credit or to fear rights infringement. The images are posted by their creators, and by posting to this group, they are allowing freedom of use.  Flickr also has a Creative Commons, where many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license.  You can browse or search through content under each type of license, most of which ask for attribution (you can use the photo, but you’re asked to cite the source).

Bigfoto offers royalty-free photos from around the world, taken by amateur photographers who enjoy seeing their images on the Internet.  Photos are categorized by geographic region and also by themes (nature, aviation, architecture, food, to name a few) so you can browse more easily.

Free Photos Bank allows non-exclusive, non-transferable license to images. You can browse their descriptive categories, search by keyword, and see user-generated ratings and views/ downloads.  Beware of the somewhat annoying ‘talking avatar’ on the site and steer clear of it if you can.

FreeFoto allows anyone, commercial and non-commercial, to use images in their collection, but asks that you provide attribution to the image and a link back to FreeFoto.com.  Photos are organized in easily accessible categories – mostly geographic.  Navigation on this site is a bit clunky, but you’ll find plenty of beautiful photography.     (more…)

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Top Ten Signs You’re Pulling – Not Pushing – Your Customers

December 8, 2010 Filed under: Content Marketing,Social Media Marketing

You’re Not Still Push-Marketing, Are You?
Marketing is getting turned on its head these days, and if you’ve done traditional marketing for a long time, you may be struggling to make the switch from traditional ‘push’ to social media ‘pull’ marketing techniques.   Today’s savvy marketers know that customers are turned off and tuned out from invasive push-marketing tactics, and they’re demanding more control over when and where they pay attention to branded content.   The challenge of marketing is shifting away from traditional push strategies, recognizable in language such as:

  • Target your market
  • Advertise your product benefits
  • Convince your prospects to buy

…to a new set of pull strategies, with language such as:

  • Be available in the right places
  • Build connection and trust
  • Provide value before purchase

I’m not suggesting you abandon all push-marketing activities; most companies will probably find a mix of both works best.  But don’t underestimate how much of a mindset-change the pull approach requires.  Here are some tell-tale signs you’re successfully making the switch:

  1. Your blog posts, tweets, and social media comments don’t all start with “I” or “we”.
  2. Your customers are finding you more often than you are finding them.
  3. You’re more excited to address your customers’ challenges than to talk about your product’s new features .
  4. Your online persona has an individual personality & voice, rather than just a corporate brand image.
  5. People are sharing your comments and content across social media channels because it’s valuable to them .
  6. You feel more like a publisher than a marketer or sales person.
  7. You worry less about building your prospect or email list, and more about building your editorial calendar.
  8. You’re hyper-aware of your most valuable keyword terms, and you actively weave them into what you write for online consumption.
  9. Your website is optimized to attract the audience you are targeting, and offers clear next steps for your qualified visitors to take.
  10. You track and measure all online engagements so you can clearly refine the elements that pull visitors and leads to your site.
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