Building trusted relationships through your marketing
To get information they trust, people go to:
- People similar to them
- Their social networks (online and offline)
- Micro-blogging sites (such as Twitter)
- Websites which share valuable content.
Your target markets, prospects and contacts will trust your information if they feel you understand their world and their issues, when you are part of their wider network both online and offline and when you provide them with content that they value. The content they will value is called – Valuable Content!
Valuable content – what is it?
You can buy attention (advertising)
You can beg for attention from the media (PR)
You can bug people one at a time to get attention (traditional sales)
Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it…
David Meerman Scott, New Rules of PR and Marketing
Content’ is the words you read in an article, a book, on a website or in a Tweet. It is the video and images you share; the slides you make available after a presentation. Content simply means words, knowledge and information.
Valuable Content is high performance content. It is high performance because it has a bigger purpose: to provide useful information for a particular audience. Valuable Content is the words, knowledge and information you shape and share with potential clients and customers that they will really appreciate because it is meaningful and right on target.
When you use Valuable Content in your marketing activity you will start to build relationships within your chosen market sectors, with named prospects and with the specific contacts you have identified.
Content that is valuable and works is:
- Focused – relevant and meaningful to your target audience
- Useful – it informs, educates and sometimes entertains
- Authentic – it reflects the real you and your company
- High Quality – interesting, well produced and has substance
- Clear and compelling – it tells a story that is understandable and motivates a response.
Content marketing schedule
Taking an ad hoc approach to content marketing won’t work. Results will only be achieved if your social media activity is planned and sustained over time.
Below is an example of a template you might use to plan your content marketing campaigns
Valuable Content Campaigns
You can meet the senior executives of your dream client companies if you build a Valuable Content Campaign (VCC) just for them. A VCC is based on two or three tailored letters or emails sent to a specific contact over several weeks with different interesting and useful content attached. VCCs are highly effective in motivating senior executives to meet you and to help you build a trusted relationship.
A typical VCC works like this:
- Identify the specific contact you want to do business with and do your research.
- Choose three tactics from your Valuable Content library or create something that your prospect will find useful: an article, e-book and a white paper for instance.
- Send a tailored letter with the article to your specific contact.
- Seven-ten days later send a tailored email with a link to your e-book.
- Seven-ten days later send a tailored letter with a copy of your white paper.
- Craft each letter and email carefully – your aim is to help, not pitch.
- Follow up your campaign with a phone call to make an appointment to meet – your contact will be motivated to take your call – occasionally they will call you first!
You can also use your Valuable Content to support your VCC:
- Put your article, e-book and white paper on your website
- Blog about them
- Tweet about them
- Share them with your contacts on LinkedIn
- Feature them in your e-newsletter
- Put a link to your e-book in your email signature
- Create a press release about your e-book
- Submit your article and white paper to industry magazines.
When the senior executive researches who has been sending them useful and interesting material, they will discover your blog, visit your website, follow your Tweets and connect with you on LinkedIn. They will also suggest colleagues do the same. With your support tactics in place you will start to build trusted relationships with a wider group of influencers and decisions makers.
Valuable Content marketing is sticky marketing. Anything that is interesting and useful has a long shelf life; it stays on your prospects desk and its stays in their mind. With valuable content you are always in the right place at the right time, top of your prospect’s mind unlike mass marketing, cold-calling brochures or advertising.