When I was a kid the really cool new dolls had a string on their back that when pulled would say something? (they were my sister's dolls - honest!).
Sometimes I wish I had a string on my back.
Like when I find myself having to discuss and explain the same marketing topics over and over.
As much as I love to talk marketing with prospects and colleagues, there are only so many minutes in a meeting/day. And people are busy.
And I have discovered that 80% of the marketing questions I am asked relate to a short list of a dozen or so marketing concepts - like what we mean by content marketing or how to integrate social media/networking into a marketing plan.
So, I decided to record some short podcasts (under 10 minutes) on these topics. Not to automate or replace the personal conversations I have day-to-day with clients and prospects but to have a resource I can direct people to for more information or to share our discussions with peers.
We branded these podcasts "Bite Size B2B Marketing Talk" and created an iTunes channel where they will be hosted.
Each "episode" gives actionable marketing and PR tips with respect to B2B marketing and PR.
The first episode in what will be a monthly series is titled "Content, Your Marketing and PR Foundation". And it is now available on iTunes. Our next episode in August is on integrating your "social" sites with your ongoing marketing and PR
This blog post includes the transcript for the first episode on content marketing. I invite you to pull the string and listen. And if you have suggestions for other topics please let us know.
So go ahead, pull the string. And maybe experiment by creating your own series for your prospects and customers. And if you need help getting started give us a call - our HRmarketer Services Group can assist.
EPISODE ONE TRANSCRIPT
What is content marketing?
Wikipedia defines it as "an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. Marketers may use content marketing as a means of achieving a variety of business goals. These may include: thought leadership and lead generation".
What is meant by content?
Content can be many things. Articles, survey results, white papers, ebooks, case studies, blog posts, webinars, or a podcast like the one your listening to.
I titled this episode "Content: Your Marketing and PR Foundation" because once you create a piece of content it can be used in a variety of ongoing marketing and PR tactics. "Ongoing" is an important term because marketing is not a spigot you turn on an off. Marketing needs to be a constant at your company to keep the pipeline full and maintain the visibility you need to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. And content is the most cost-effective way to do this.
So lets get right to discussing the practical use of content and how you can build a comprehensive marketing plan using content as the foundation.
What type of content should we start with?
I suggest a white paper. A white paper can be as short as 3-5 pages. It is a non-promotional educational piece that speaks to a pain-point or challenge your target customers are dealing with. Why? Because you want to create content that your buyers will find useful in solving their day-to-day challenges. I say non-promotional because this is not a commercial about how great your product is - that will only turn-off your prospects.
So what do you write about? Lets say, as an example, you sell a product or service relating to background screening. You might write about the importance of doing background checks for new hires, the proper way of conducting these checks, what's legal, the types of checks you might want to do, how they may be different for full-time employees versus contractors, and current legislation that might impact how you conduct such checks.
The point is to make it educational and position your company as a thought leader in the space you compete in.
Don't worry about promoting your company in the content. Trust me, your buyers will know what you do because you'll include a short description about your company at the end of the content and a URL to your site on each page footer.
Who can write the content?
If you don't have internal resources, hire a freelance writer using craigslist or another freelance site. You might even find a popular blogger in your industry to write it for you.
After it is written, make it look great. Again, if you don't have internal resources find someone who can take your MS Word document and turn it into a sharp looking PDF.
Then, put the white paper on your website. You might want to require a short form to be completed in order for someone to access the content - these become leads for your sales team. But don't require to much information. I suggest asking for a name, company name email and phone and maybe one qualifying question like "Do you currently use background screening when hiring new employees?
OK - you have a great piece of content (in this case a white paper) and it's loaded to your site.
Now you promote the content.
Start with an online news release that announces the availability of the content and directs readers to a landing page on your web site where they can download the content. Upload the release to your web site and post to a service like PRweb or other news distribution service like HRmarketer.com software. Not only does this broadly announce the availability of the content but serves as a permanent promotion on the web for your content, to be found by your buyers when they type related keywords into a search engine. This also has long-lasting SEO benefits.
Next, send the news release to key journalists in your industry. In your email to the journalists, "pitch" the news in a way that encourages the journalist to take interest and write about your content. You might even offer a customer or expert the journalist can interview on the subject.
You can send a similar "pitch" to prominent bloggers in your industry who might find the content useful and may write about it.
Next, send a direct email to your house prospect list announcing the availability of the content. You can also rent or purchase an email list of prospects in your industry and do a campaign to them.
But this is just the beginning. If you have a newsletter, mention the availability of the content in the newsletter.
Now lets talk social marketing.
Blog about the content on your company blog. You might even turn it into several blog posts over a several week period, highlighting certain sections within the white paper. You do have a company blog, right?
Then "share" the content on your company Facebook Page. Also share it to your LinkedIn network and any relevant LinkedIn "groups" you are a member of. Then tweet about it with relevant hashtags. Again, you can do several tweets over a few days, each time pitching it it in a slightly different way with different hashtags.
You can then record a short podcast on the white paper topic. Keep it to under 20 or 30 minutes and designate someone to host the podcast and interview a subject matter expert on the topic you write about - think of it as a short Q&A session on the key topics in the white paper. Use a service like Skype to do the recording. When done, upload to iTunes and link to it from your web site.
If you don't have a company blog, facebook page, twitter account, iTunes and YouTube channel you should. Our next podcast episode will discuss the basics on getting these set-up and how to use them.
How about condensing the white paper into a shorter 500 -800 word article and pitch it as a byline article for inclusion in a relevant trade magazine or website in your marketplace? Every publisher needs content and you'd be surprised at the interest you might receive.
If you have a company YouTube channel you can record a short video that summarizes the content. This is easier than you think. It can be as simple as using iMovie and your built in web cam to discuss the white paper, show a few graphs and direct people to a URL where they can access it.
Another use of the content is a webcast. Use a service like GoToWebinar to host a webcast on the topic discussed in the white paper. Have a guest speaker who is an expert on the subject matter. You can then use direct marketing, a press release and your social sites to promote the webinar - maybe offering the white paper as a perk each attendee gets after listening to the webcast.
And of course, you can record the webinar and have it on your web site for visitors to view.
Everything i just discussed can be spread out over two to three months.
Create another piece of content and follow the exact same steps. When you do this you'll have a solid 12-month content based marketing campaign that will give you increased visibility online, increases sales leads and better SEO.
And the best thing about it - it is not as expensive as you might think.
Join us next time when we discuss using social media in your B2B marketing and PR. We'll discuss how to set-up and put to practical business use a company blog, facebook and LinkedIn page, twitter account, iTunes and YouTube channel.
See you next time.
Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Labels: B2B, content marketing, Podcast