Content Marketing: Key to Thought Leadership and Leads

Content is King for more than one reason. One of the reasons we want to put out good-quality content is to become the thought leader in our market segment.

Content like white papers, fact sheets, case histories and webinars are just a few examples and might be used at different stages of the sales funnel. Online content is the fuel for new leads in the B2B arena.

It stands to reason that if people see that you both identify problems/issues and address possible solutions, that you not only will accomplish the first goal, but they might even identify themselves as a possible new lead.

Top 3 Priorities for the Marketing Funnel According to US B2B Marketers, June 2011 (% of respondents)

A recent survey from MarketingSherpa was highlighted in a post in that highlighted the kind of content customers are looking for. Highlights include:

  • Why content marketing is essential to B2B leads.
  • How B2B buyers use content.
  • What type of content is best for generating leads.
  • How marketers can leverage content marketing formats.


Sonnhalter is partnering with Joe Pulizzi, a nationally-known content marketing expert and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, in hosting a webinar on the growing area of content marketing for B2B. This free, one-hour webinar will be Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. EST. Participants can click here to register for the “8 Content Initiatives You Need to Seriously Consider for 2012” webinar.

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Content is King: 10 Tips on Effective Writing

Content is king as I’ve learned from mentor Michael Gass. He says it doesn’t matter how great a writer you are, if people don’t read it, then there’s no benefit to anyone. I’m sharing his 10 tips which I try to live by when writing for social media. I’m a living testament that if you follow the rules, your writing will be read and shared.

According to a social media study by King Fish Media, HubSpot and Junta42, original content, both branded and expert, is by far the most employed tactic for social media.

And … “businesses that blog get 55% more website traffic than those that don’t.”

Creating valuable content increases website traffic that will equate into new business leads. But writing for the web can be daunting, even for experienced copywriters. They are often the ones that struggle the most with making the transition from print to web.

“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” – Jon Buscall

You need to think carefully about structuring and formatting your online content to ensure your readers find it  and read it. Here are my 10 tips to help you write better for the Web:

  1. Provide a Reader’s Digest or Executive Summary version. Readers love bullet pointed and numbered lists. That’s why so many readers are attracted to post titles that offer 10 tips or 25 ideas, etc. The work you do on behalf of your readers to simplify will be greatly appreciated and keep them coming back for more.
  2. Key words in every post titles. Write for SEO. It doesn’t matter how great your article is if no one can find it. A simple tip to help boost your rankings in Google search is to identify and use certain key words in every post title. 90% of my posts will contain ‘ad agency new business’ in the title. It helps not only for search but will also help drive ‘targeted traffic’ as your posts are repurposed through Twitter. With only 140 characters that you can use for Twitter, that’s not much more than your title and a shortened URL.
  3. Lead with the conclusion. I advise that you begin each post by starting with the conclusion, a take-away or benefits statement. Just answer this question, ‘what is my benefit if I commit to read this post?’
  4. Break up long paragraphs. A reader’s attention span online is much less than for print. Readers tend to scan instead of reading word-for-word. Keep paragraphs concise and short.
  5. Be sure and provide hyper links to your sources. Don’t be afraid that you will lose your audience if they go to another source. Your blog should become a repository of helpful resources for your readers.
  6. Make your content scannable to the eye. Use bold, italics, quotation marks, indentation, etc. to make copy pop. A person should be able to quickly scan through your article and get the most important parts.
  7. Write in an Inverted Pyramid style. Similar to the way a newspaper reported would write, the most important copy should be at the top of your post.
  8. Use common language. This is an opportunity to do away with industry jargon and agency speak and write content that resonates with your intended audience.
  9. Get to the point, quickly. Online readers are extremely impatient. If you wade into a story and it takes 3 or 4 paragraphs to show how it relates, you will have lost your audience before you’ve made your point.
  10. Make your post visually pleasing. I always include a nice photo or graphic to further drive home the main purpose of a post. Using them will create interest and help draw in a reader.

Follow these 10 tips and it will help get your message delivered.

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Content-Marketing Guidelines to Ensure Success

We’ve all heard the expression “Content is King.” Although we all know it sometimes, we may not practice it. Content drives credibility, market leadership and leads, so it’s important to follow certain steps to ensure positive results. I read a post recently from Roy Young in Marketing, 12 B2B Content-Marketing Practices to Ensure Success that I thought was right on the money. Here are some of the ones that hit home for me:

  • Identify sources within your organization for content – look outside marketing to search for experts. Product development, customer service and sales are 3 areas that could be good sources for content.
  • Listen to customers and prospects – what are they talking about, what issues/pain points do they need addressed?
  • Develop different content for different audience segments. Owners of contracting firms might want one thing and the guy who heads up the crews might want something different.
  • Vary your content for buying cycles – not everyone is ready to buy. Some are researching and gathering info. Make sure you speak to them as well.
  • Vary formats – Shake it up a little. Don’t just write, throw in a short video or podcast. Even lighten it up once in a while. Most people have a sense of humor and who doesn’t need a laugh now and then?
  • Use social media to build relationships and distribute your content – other than the traditional ways of getting your story out, use social to inform and engage your customers and target audiences.

These are a few hints that help me in my efforts to produce good content. What are you doing?

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How to Use Content to Find Professional Tradesmen

TradesmenInsights.1You may have the best widget in town, readily available and priced to sell. You need to determine their hot buttons and what trips their trigger. But to get the tradesman interested, you need to:

Get their attention. Address the (WIIFM) “what’s in it for me” question. We need them to feel excited about your new widget and eager to learn how it can make their job easier and more profitable. Use “how to” videos, case studies and online training as ways to get them engaged. Raise questions.

Covert to a customer. Now that you have their attention, what do you do? You need to soft sell and persuade them that your solution is best for them. Build your case, establish the trust factor and then send them to a well-constructed landing page that gives them an offer they can’t refuse and a clear call to action.

Remember, content is king and it defines who you are. Sonia Simone has an interesting post, 49 ways to profit from content marketing, that should give you some guidelines to consider.


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