By Steve Higgins
People relate to stories, not to sales pitches.
That simple insight has fueled the growth of content marketing. Companies and organizations large and small are using websites and social media to connect with people on a deeper level.
To engage potential clients, tell your story.
If you’re a business owner, you have a story, and you have several ways to tell it:
Social media sites allow you to keep your customers informed about your services and activities in real time, and give your customers a way to communicate with you as well.
Case studies show in more detail how you serve your customers’ needs.
White papers illustrate your knowledge of the issues that concern your customers.
Articles and blog entries display your industry insight and awareness, provide another way to showcase your products or services, and allow you to differentiate yourself from competitors.
Webinars and videos offer useful information and illustrate your expertise.
Your company history reveals the dedication and experience you bring to the table.
To be effective, each of these marketing methods requires three things: First, the stories you tell must maintain a continual focus on the needs and goals of your current and potential customers/clients. Second, your content must offer useful information rather than focus on selling. Third, it has to be an ongoing process, a two-way communication effort that hopefully grows over time.
Your target audience is anyone who may benefit from your products, services or insights.
One more thing: You have competition, so your content needs to be interesting. Keep it short, use visuals, and focus on your ideal customer. What do they want to know? What do they need to know? What do you offer?