Sharing knowledge, being personal and telling a story is always a good idea for a company. It’s about building a relationship with the audience, letting them in on who you are as a company. What are your values? What engages you and your team? Most importantly – a company should be like a good friend or mentor, happily sharing insights and thoughts on areas that they are experts at. Be the helping hand. Offer advice. Be educational. That’s how you build lasting relationships with Content Marketing.
Last week I interviewed the marketing guru Neil Patel for Internetworld about the importance of Content Marketing and Conversion Optimization in a marketing strategy: Neil Patel: “Därför är content marketing viktigast i din digitala strategi” (Tr. Why Content Marketing is the most important in your digital strategy)
Neil Patel’s blog Quick Sprout has over 1 million readers that tune in to his advice on digital marketing. When I reached him by phone in Seattle he said:
If you write personal and educational posts you are building a relationship with your audience which leads to trust and loyalty. That’s equally important for individuals and for companies.
His advice to companies is to use a personal direct tone with many “you’s” and “me’s” so that the reader can relate. You should offer a direct solution in the post – a kind of call to action so that the reader knows what to do with the information. Patel also advices that it is better to blog on your own platform than elsewhere, like LinkedIn or Tumblr, because you’ll own the traffic yourself and be able to optimize your site to make it better for your readers, and easier to reach your business goals.
Sometimes when I talk with companies they are kind of distressed about starting up a blog and sharing content. Some of them don’t know what to write. Others are afraid that their competitors might gain a competitive advantage over them if they share too much. I especially enjoyed Patel’s response when asking what advice he would give to a company that’s worrying about competitors learning too much about them:
Hey, don’t worry about writing things, people are going to end up stealing and copying anyway. That’s why you should be executing as fast as possible.
So that settles it. Be the leader!
And then we have the questions about WHAT to write. Regardless of what sort of company you are, there is always a story to tell – always advice and knowledge to be shared. Let me give you some examples:
Let’s say that you are a school.
You want to attract new students and build a stronger relationship with current ones. You also want to be seen as a thought-leader, to make your graduating students more attractive on the market.
To set a Content Strategy you should consider the different audiences you have at hand.
For the new students, write a guide on how to figure out what career path to take. Talk about the different jobs they can get if they chose different courses to read. And interview graduated students that have reached their dream jobs.
To strengthen the relationship with your current students – highlight projects they are working on and let them tell their stories. Let one of them write an opt-ed article for the school blog. Let them feel trusted and important.
To be seen as a thought-leader – interview interesting people working in the industry today. Attend conferences and event and report from them. Write about different programs you are working on to improve your educational programs, and even society as a whole.
Now let’s say you are an online fashion store.
Here it’s about getting the audience to buy from you instead of your competitors.
Inspire by writing about the latest trends. But also help people out by providing a guide on how best to care for the garments. When you are going on a business trip to check out the latest fashions to take in to your store – take out your camera and bring your customers behind-the-scenes at the latest fashion shows and factories. Collaborate with fashion bloggers and let them write inspiring posts on your blog. Maybe co-create a collection that they can also feature on their platforms.
Or a start-up.
A start-up should be an expert at telling their personal story. Where did the idea come from? How did the path down to where you are today look like? What problems in society do you see – and how does your start-up make the world a better place? Be personal and let the audience in on who you are. Let them follow your journey to success, every step of the way.
“But what is my story?”
Think about your company and what you do. Think about the industry you are present in. Think about interesting reports or research that is being presented daily on your industry – share it and add your own thoughts to it! Think about the people you work with – either your employees or different partners. What knowledge do they possess? What stories could they share? Interview them! And most importantly – what knowledge can you share about your industry to others? If you are not the one writing about it today; your biggest competitor could instead be the thought-leader in your field tomorrow.