Recently I was asked by the owner of a new software business who wanted us to handle their content marketing, how we would go about promoting his business.

Before I could tell him, he started to tell me about the three product areas that his business specialised in.

He told me why they were so good in these areas and wanted to know what I knew about Big Data, AI and some other tech subject that I can’t recall right now.

If you’re thinking what’s this scenario got to do with ESSA members? Read on and I’ll explain.

My prospective new client was leading a start-up. Therefore he wanted and needed leads, sales and revenue and all in fast order.

He then went on to tell me that he thought content marketing was all about brand promotion, so it probably wasn’t going to work for what he needed now.

The problem for him though was that lots of people in other IT businesses were telling him that what his business needed to be doing right from the start was “content marketing.”

Given his uncertainty about CM, he asked me how we were going to be able to achieve all the things his business needed.

When I finally got the chance to speak, I told him that the very last thing we would do would be to say or shout about how good his business was at Big Data, AI, and the other thing.

He was surprised but I explained that the target audience for his business, who were not all IT specialists, would not have the slightest interest in his company and what it was saying if we followed the “how great we are track.”

Furthermore, this lack of interest among the target audience would be heightened, (if you can heighten no or low interest), because he was entering a market where there were already thousands of other, well-established competitors. Many of whom were doing and offering exactly the same thing.

Or appeared to be to the people that he wanted to be doing business with.

Based on all of the above, I stressed that it would be a complete waste of money to market his business this way.

So he asked “what would you do to promote my business?” And this is the part that applies to any business, including ESSA members, seeking to use content marketing to grow their business.

1st. I would look for the benefits that the client brings to the group of people that they have elected to serve. How do they make life easier, better, less stressful, more rewarding for those people?

In other words, I would seek out and find the “what’s in it for them” stories that this new business or any client, brings to the market. Why? Because fundamentally, that’s all your prospective clients are really interested in.

Yes, later on, the quality of your widget, graphic treatment or shell scheme may have a factor to play in your sales story, but not at the point when you need to generate engagement with your business.

2nd. I would then look for ways that the business could tangibly demonstrate the greater good that they bring to the world and turn this into content.

This could be in the form of reports, white papers, videos, webinars, social, articles…

There are many channels that could be used. Pick the ones that are used most by the audience you want to reach.

That goes for ESSA members too. Seek ways to actively provide access to the expertise that you hold. And, make a lot of this knowledge available, freely or otherwise to your market.

3rd. I would work with my client to ensure consistency of message throughout the business.

Everyone should know how and why the business makes things better for its clients without using lots of jargon.

In an IT business, the temptation to impress with your cleverness is always lurking.

Believe me, they are very clever people, but blinding with science can get in the way of consistently presenting a marketing story that your audience relates to straightaway.

You can avoid this happening with your content if you always relate to your client’s situation and not yours.

How did our conversation end?

Well, we are now advising this particular client on direct marketing.

His business needs a database, a clear marketing message and, strategy and a few other things too.

Later this year, I think his business will be ready and in a position to produce the 10 articles and blog posts totalling 8,000 words a month that we were originally approached to produce….

Remember, if you want your business to be interesting to target clients, be interested in them. Show them how you make their lives better. You don’t need 8000 words to do that. I just did it in 800.

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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