Apr 132012

Photo of business strategy bookWhat is content marketing? I hear you ask.

Content marketing is all about information sharing, as opposed to product pushing.  It’s about the creation of content and sharing of it with your potential customers in order to engage with them and build a relationship.

In this multi-dimensional, communications-enabled age people are blind to advertising; they want information.  Not only that but they usually want it free (or very cheap) and they want it on their terms.  Bombarding them with adverts doesn’t achieve any of that so we need to find new ways to get our name out there.

As a small business the best way is through the use of the web and this can be done in many forms.  Underlying each strategy, however, needs to be the key remit that you’re doing it primarily to help others, with little or no indication of selling on your behalf.  Let’s look at a typical small business example.

Imagine that I run a Web site design company.  I will, naturally, have my own Web site which is aimed at selling my services with a few ‘calls to action’ but I should also include content marketing stuff on there too.  For example, I may have a glossary of web design terms so that people can start to understand the difference between html, css, Java and Flash.  I may also have a free downloadable pdf with the key questions people should ask a web developer before using their services.  I could go as far as putting together some videos showing how to make a site more Google friendly, or sowing how to make the most of Adsense.

There are a number of great things about all these ideas.  First, they’re free/cheap to do, second, once done they are there forever and third (and most importantly) they help to show me as an expert in my field.  This is the key thing that helps towards building the relationship of trust that will over time result in business coming in.

The next element of my strategy will be to get myself involved in forums.  Here, I will go online to give my expertise freely to others who need it.  I will go to a variety of sites spread across a wide range of subject areas (even Mumsnet has pages on business so don’t just look in the obvious places) and start building my reputation.  Initially I probably won’t even mention that I run a web design business but, as my reputation grows, I will slowly start to drop hints until I finally ‘come out’.  Even then I will still avoid explicitly touting or business.

Content marketing is a slow burner but it is one that will bring huge rewards to you and your business because it is built on relationships which tend to be strong and, therefore, enduring.

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mar 222012

Using press releases to advertise your business can be a great way of informing people about your business and the great thing is that it’s free!

But you need to know how to do it properly otherwise journalists will just throw it in the trash along with all the other amateur efforts.  This article is written using feedback from journalists and explains exactly what they like to see. Continue reading »

Mar 222012

One area of advertising that many business forget about is press releases and it’s a shame because done properly they can be a really effective way of getting your name out there absolutely free of charge.

However, to be effective in making press releases work you need to do it properly (just like all other advertising…), there are no short cuts.  This article will explain how to get the most out of any press releases you write. Continue reading »

Dec 162011

Are your customers innovators, early majority or laggards?

In the 1908s it was realized that different people buy into products or services at different times, depending upon how new the offering is and their own psychological traits.  Knowledge of how all this works is useful to us as business owners as it helps us with our marketing.

Studies indicated that the adoption of a new product/service was not uniform but followed a bell curve pattern, sub divided into 5 major discernible areas as follows: Continue reading »

Dec 162011

Be specific with your marketing and reap the rewards

As a business coach I’ve talked with a lot of companies who, when asked what their market is, have said “everybody”.  Generally speaking they have turned out to be the companies that are struggling – often due to lack of focus.  There’s a lot of competition out there and you don’t want to be trying to beat it all so how about taking a more proactive approach to targeting your market?  Here are a few quick tips to help you focus in on the most profitable market area for your business. Continue reading »