The revenge of the neglected child of online marketing: content

Shout These days, the importance of content for online marketing and communication is receiving a lot of attention. And I would say: it’s about time. I’ve only been shouting about this from the rooftops for the past fifteen years or so.

Why has it taken so long? Simple. Everyone was so occupied with broadcasting and all these new marketing channels and techniques like websites and email marketing (yes, once upon a time that was something new) that absolutely no attention was paid to the essence.

And that essence is: how can I use interactive marketing more effectively in order to better serve my customers and generate more turnover? Period.

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Ardath Albee: go where your best prospects spend their time

Ambal Balakrishnan from ClickDocuments recently asked some B2B marketers what “Being Findable” means in today’s digital age?

Does this mean cross-media, low-volume campaign all year long? Should marketers spread budget across time period and channels or one or two big programs?  The first interviewee is Ardath Albee, a B2B Marketing Strategist, who runs her own company Marketing Interactions.

Ardath just published a book, called “eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale” and you can read her blog posts here. Read what Ardath answered to Ambal’s question about “being findable”.

Relevance is a critical component

Before a B2B company can decide which tactics to use, they need to do some research and develop a strategy for being “findable.” Trying to be everywhere, just to cover your bases, is not a good strategy.

That’s equivalent to the batch and blast newsletter sends of old when companies hoped their messages would land in the inbox of someone who might be a potential customer. In today’s marketplace relevance is a critical component you must address.

Below you can read Ardath’s five steps for determining the best way to get found:

You’ve got to know who your buyers are and learn about their online habits and preferences.

a) Monitor your competitors or even partners to see what they’re doing and where they’re being found. Then look at who’s there and make sure they are the audience you’re focused on acquiring.

b) Ask your customers where they go online to find useful information – perhaps even how they found you. Most of them will likely say they found you themselves. Their perspectives and preferences can provide great insights you can use.

c) Look at the source of origin for the prospects currently in your pipeline.

d) Create a buyer synopsis as I outline in my book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.

Audit your company’s presence online to identify how you’re being found now.

a) Look at keywords and phrases being used to find your website.

b) Search for where your company’s content may have spread online.

c) Make a list of referrers to your website (and blog) and check them out.

Match the results from steps 1 & 2 to determine matches and misses.

a) For the matches, look for how you might improve connecting with prospects in the venues where you both have presence.

b) Assess the misses against what you’re currently doing and create a plan for establishing a relevant presence on each of them. Prioritize and add each one as you have resources. For example, some companies think they have to be on Twitter. But unless you have a lively blog or fresh content to share often, Twitter may not be the best first step. You need a good content foundation to improve being “findable.”

The results of #3 will help you create a roadmap and editorial calendar. Each online avenue will have unique requirements for improving relevance. This could be in style, tone or subject matter – or a combination of all three. The key here is that you need continuous and consistent exposure once you discover the best places to be found.

Discover opportunities to integrate your content so it builds a bridge from wherever it is online your prospects find it and your website. Think “hub.”

Being findable is not about seeding one article here and there in hopes it will draw attention. It’s about building a credible presence in the places you’ve determined are the best attraction sources for prospects who could become sales opportunities. There are a lot of ways to be found online. There are also a lot of ways to spend time and resources without generating results.

Do your homework and create a route to reach the right prospects because you understand not just where they are, but the most effective way to engage them with your content.

Ambal Balakrishnan is the co-founder of US-based ClickDocuments. Ambal’s book “Content Marketing Tweet: 140 Bite-sized Ideas to Create
and Market Compelling Content” will be published in Spring 2010. Ambal is specialized in content marketing, social media marketing,
B2B marketing and much more. You can connect with Ambal on Twitter here.

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