Recently Gini Dietrich predicted “All companies will become media companies.” If you’re in the marketing/PR business or if you’re a keen social media afficionado and follower, maybe you already know this. But I’ll bet for most of us, as small biz entrepreneurs and salespeople, that’s still news.
What that means–becoming a “media company”– is that once your company decides to include social media in your sales and marketing mix, you will discover that you need to generate content–and disseminate content produced by your followers–that will be appealing and attractive to your customers and prospects.
And I don’t mean “marketing copy” or “brochure-ware.” Instead, customers expect that you will produce and/or aggregate content that will help them make good decisions, inform them about things that interest them or that they need to know, and generally establish you and your team as thought leaders in your industry. It’s a tall order!
If you’re participating on LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, etc. you are producing content. You, or someone else in your company, is writing things up, or podcasting, or creating videos or slide presentations. Perhaps you are creating webinars. At the same time, you may be offering white papers or research reports on your website. Does your company have a blog? How do you decide who should create blog posts and what the topics should be and how to manage replies to comments? Likewise, a newsletter? These are things that your team needs to figure out.
I’ve been managing The Whale Hunters content strategy for seven years. It’s only recently that I’ve learned it is called “a content strategy.” But it always was, even before I knew that term! Let me tell you today how that strategy started, and in another post I’ll write about how it’s evolved. And then more about what I’ve learned about the content strategy. I hope we can get some conversation going on this topic!
Here was our content strategy–Phase 1:
1. Create and distribute an eNewsletter.
- Each newsletter features an article about sales/business development for small business leaders
- We published biweekly on a predictable day and time
- we continue to build an opt-in subscriber list through our website
- We include marketing announcements but we never send just a pitch–always feature content
2. Collect newsletter articles into books, eBooks, podcasts and audio CDs
- We discovered themes in the articles, and collected 10 or more around a theme
- We published those collections in multiple formats, adding introductory material and, in many cases, worksheets and other tools
- We recorded the articles as individual podcasts and CD collections
- As the collection grows, we publish new books and eBooks on emerging themes.
3. Build content into our services–training, coaching, and consulting
- As we develop new content, much of it derived from our experiences with clients, we plug it back into our content offerings, enriching them in the process.
- We supplement online training with additional resources that have been developed through the social media/content strategy.
- We mine information from all of our sources–webinars, Expert Series Calls, blog, newsletter, client and follower comments–for new reports, White Papers, and article topics.
That’s it for today. A simple, evolutionary strategy that emerged from certain practice decisions. In my next post I’ll write about more evolutions, but mostly I’d like to hear from you about your content production. Is it a strategy? A practice? A wish list? Where are you in this content quest?