How to Use Big Content in Your Online Marketing Strategy
November 19, 2013 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg
We’ve all heard it said countless times: Content is king. In the world of online marketing, providing useful content is the very best way to build an audience and then connect with them, to build credibility for your brand, and even to drive conversions.
So if your average, everyday, useful content is such an important part of your online marketing strategy, then doesn’t it logically follow that big content would be even better?
First of all, let’s define our terms. Regular content includes blog posts, informational webpages, articles…any text that provides useful information for your audience. It’s usually posted to your site several times a week, and each fresh installment is promoted through social media or email.
Big content, on the other hand, includes white papers, eBooks, and webinars. Big content takes a lot more time to produce – anywhere from days to months – and its release is usually promoted much more aggressively than that of a twice-weekly blog post.
The key here is not to take an either-or approach to the use of big content vs. regular content. Both have their place and their uses in your online marketing strategy. Regular blog posts or brand new articles are necessary to keep your website’s content fresh and search engine-friendly, as well as providing a constant stream of useful information to your audience. Big content, on the other hand, serves as a powerful demonstration of industry expertise, provides major value for your audience, and can be a strong draw for new customers.
If you’re thinking of investing time and effort into creating and effectively promoting a piece of big content, it pays to do some strategizing first. After all, the last thing that you want is to spend months writing an eBook, only to find that no one wants to read it! We’ve assembled some guidelines on how to make sure your big content does the job it’s supposed to.
Who Are You?
Before you do anything else, you need to be able to answer the above question. Who are you as a company? What does your company stand for? What’s your voice? Your tone? Your expertise? Your focus? How do you help your customers in a way that’s different from every other company out there? Once you’re sure you’ve found the true character of your business, you can start brainstorming ideas for your big content. You don’t want to spend precious time writing something that people can easily find elsewhere – you want your offering to be as unique as you are, and to reflect your company’s personality and focus.
Who Is Your Audience?
Just as important as the first question, this one will also help determine the topic and format of your big content. Who is it, exactly, that you’re trying to reach? What is it that they are looking for in a piece of big content? If you sell printers, your audience consists of people looking to buy a new printer, right? So you want to write a guide to choosing the best new printer to fit your specific needs, not how to repair your old printer. But make it even more specific than that – maybe you’re targeting office managers buying printers for their entire organization. And maybe you specialize in a certain type of printer. Tailor your big content to provide value to that exact audience, and it will be much more effective.
Fill A Need
Another great way to differentiate your big content is to find a gaping hole in the information currently being offered by others in your industry, and fill it with your own content. Maybe there are already plenty of guides to finding the right printer out there. So you do some research to see what’s not out there. If you were your own potential customer, what information would you be looking for? A detailed report on how exactly a new printer set-up could improve efficiency and cut costs in your office? An in-depth comparison between all the different types of printers available? Find a need, and fill it, and you’ll become the go-to person for that information.
Divide the Load
Once you’ve decided what to write and how to format it, you’ll probably realize it’s going to be a bigger job than you first anticipated. It’s a good idea to split up the load so it doesn’t become overwhelming. This can mean dividing the job up into several smaller tasks, and working through them one at a time, or actually delegating different tasks to different people in your organization. An outline will need to be made first, to be sure you don’t forget to include anything important. Then you’ll need to write the text, of course. You’ll also want someone to handle the design aspect of the piece, to make it look as professional as possible, while also manifesting your company’s personality. And finally, you’ll need your content to be edited and proofread, to be sure it’s just right.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist
You may go through several re-writes as you fine-tune your work, and that’s fine – just don’t be a perfectionist. Tweaking and re-tweaking endlessly will only result in a delay in your content’s release – and in its help in your online marketing efforts. Once it’s good enough – not perfect, just good enough – set it loose. Getting it out there in good enough condition is infinitely better than keeping it to yourself indefinitely to make it just a little better.
Promote Your Content Through Relationships
You need to get the word out about your big content, or no one will ever see it. But there’s a right way and a not-so-right way to go about it. Sure, you can send impersonal email blast after impersonal email blast announcing it, and talk it up on social media – but who really engages with those types of announcements? What you need to do is to start online conversations about the need for this content, and form relationships based on the fact that you’re working to fill those needs. People who have that kind of connection with your company will be much more likely to download and read your big content, and even share it with their own friends. But forming relationships takes time, so you can’t wait to start this step until you’re about to release your content. Get moving months in advance, so that you can capitalize on fully formed relationships when your content does go live. And once it’s out there, keep promoting it through new relationships.
Don’t Forget to Tell Your Clients and Prospects
It can be easy to forget that big content isn’t just for potential new clients – it has an important role to play in your relationship with current clients, as well. Your new piece of big content will solidify your standing as an expert in their eyes, thereby granting them a little extra prestige, just by working with you. And prospective clients still in the works might just be swayed to buy when they see your expertise demonstrated in your new white paper or eBook.
Leverage Your Big Content
Think you’re done? Think again. Now it’s time to leverage your big content for all its worth. Use the information it contains to create blog posts, videos, case studies – anything that will allow you to squeeze even more value out of it. Get testimonials from people who’ve read it and used the information contained in it. Use it to open doors for guest blogging stints, or to convince influencers to talk about you. Send it to journalists along with a press release explaining its importance. Leverage it in every way possible for maximum effect.
Want the benefits of big content, but overwhelmed by the enormity of the task? We’re here to help! Contact Marketing Zen today to find out how we can help you create big content, and help you in all your other online marketing activities, as well.