Creative Marketing results in Holiday Feast
© the ONION ®, The Onion Inc. 2015
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things. One of them is the people I have come to know online and offline over the past year. I respect and learn from you each day. And for that I am thankful. To celebrate I offer you this home-cooked blog post.
A successful marketing plan is laden with marketing side dishes. Let’s go through some of those that every business should consider when offering a satisfying and sumptuous marketing banquet.
Nothing shouts Subject Matter Expert more than a book. A book nearly cements you as an expert in your field. It shows that you have developed insights and a unique understanding in your field. It highlights your experience and ability to deal with many of the challenges your customers face. In addition to detailing your outlook on your industry, a book can become a marketing vehicle that your competitors can’t match.
Your book almost certainly will not become a New York Times bestseller but that’s not the point. Instead, a book gives you credibility and opens doors to new customers and opportunities. Publishing a book has never been easier. Choices range from self-publishing to specialty publishers and a range of advisors to guide you along the way. And, just like going to the gourmet market for that dessert that becomes the piece de resistance, hiring a ghostwriter is a common solution for getting your book out the door.
Not ready to go to the culinary level that a book entails? Start with a simpler dish — a whitepaper that dives into a single subject in your industry to showcase your expertise. A whitepaper should provide potential purchasers with information they require during the decision-making process. Your whitepaper is an opportunity to educate your potential customer. Consider it a chapter that might some day be included in a book. By issuing two or three white papers a year, you demonstrate that you are a leader in your industry who keeps up on important topics in your field.
Blogs and Guest blogs
When it comes to blogging, consistency is key. People and search engines want to know that you are committed to the task of regularly producing content. It shows dedication to your craft. But don’t overlook collaboration – it goes a long way when it comes to getting your voice out into a crowded world.
Connecting with a popular blogger in your industry can be a challenging task. First, determine the audience you are trying to reach. Then build a list of resources that have access to this audience. Identify the key individuals at each source and begin to interact with them. While your first inclination may be to call them directly and ask to be a guest blogger, why not comment on a few of their blog posts first? Highlight them in a tweet you send to your audience. Show them that you are an industry insider.
Once they see that you are a professional communicator and can handle yourself online, it will be a lot easier for them to take your request of guest blogging seriously. Be prepared to deliver what you have to offer before asking whether he or she might consider you as a guest writer. Perhaps your fellow blogger would appreciate the chance to write a guest blog for you, too. Guest blogging allows you to become known in different communities and connects you with other experts and their associations.
Networking, like any prepared dish, is part art and part science. Networking is not just showing up and it’s not a competition to see who can collect the most business cards. Good networkers give more than they take. The reality is, rarely will you sell something at a networking event. The event is an opportunity to meet someone face-to-face and determine if there is a mutual interest in furthering the conversation. As in selling, an effective networker follows Tom Hopkins’ rule: God gave you two ears and one mouth – that means you should listen twice as much as you talk.
Networking is a dish that is available at the table year-round. The key to such familiarity is to avoid burnout. Pick and chose your networking events thoughtfully. Remember, the key is to attend events that your prospects and their influencers are likely to attend. Introducing yourself to people you don’t know at special events, at business luncheons or anywhere a group of people gathers is a basic courtesy and often rewarding, but needs to be done with tact. And even when you don’t meet someone new, it’s good to build a reputation as someone who is interested enough in the community to keep showing up at important events.
Another way to let people know you are good at what you do is by giving a presentation. Subject matter experts are sought-after speakers. The key to presenting is finding the right audience. For some, it could be at the local Chamber of Commerce, for others it’s a local, national or international industry association. If you find teaching rewarding, seek out a contact or program that offers continuing education, or volunteer as a mentor with the Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE). Becoming an expert in a niche space of your business opens up an endless world of opportunities to be a keynote speaker, a panelist, or a lecturer at a conference.
Content should always be created with repurposing in mind. Plan to use your content in a variety of ways. The slides you create for a live talk become a SlideShare on LinkedIn or the foundation of a webinar. A blog with minor tweaks can be repurposed as a guest blog. Several blog posts around a similar topic can become a whitepaper. Whitepapers with a similar focus in the correct order can be the beginning of a research paper. Combinations of blogs, research papers and whitepapers become content for a book. Repurposed content is like having turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving – tasty and satisfying. The hard work is already done. Some assembly required.
The big difference between a holiday dinner and your marketing plan is that you prepare and add to your marketing all year long. Don’t wait for a special time to prepare interesting ways to communicate with potential customers. Instead, constantly entice them with savory and sweet offerings. Your reward will be a bountiful bottom line.
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What are you thankful for? Let us know which marketing side dishes you’ve tried. Share your best in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments!
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists