How to Powerup your Blog: Action 4 – Powerup other channels – SlideShare

blog SlideShare

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

The goal of any company blog is to increase awareness of the company’s brand. To do that the blog must drive traffic to the company website, where the visitor is encouraged to browse other pages.

blog SlideShare

After you have organized your blog using categories and tags, shared your posts on relevant social media channels, and optimized open rates with keyword-rich headlines, there is one more action that will enhance your SEO and extend your blog’s reach – SlideShare.

The last post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looks at powerful channel for content distribution -SlideShare.

Action 4: Powerup other channels – SlideShare

SlideShare, now owned by LinkedIn, is a website that allows you to post content (PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, videos, documents, and others) as a presentation.

Once uploaded, your content is public, searchable, viewable, and even sharable! This increases brand awareness, expands your market reach, and drives traffic to your blog or website.

Benefits of using SlideShare

With over 60 million visitors a year, SlideShare is powerful channel for your content distribution. Some benefits of using SlideShare are:

It extends your reach to a large professional audience.

LinkedIn is the parent company of SlideShare, and we all know about the power of LinkedIn professional networks. It also means SlideShare users tend to be business-oriented rather than social browsers.

It boosts SEO

It turns out that Google ranks successful SlideShare presentations above blog articles, news stories, even YouTube videos (well, sometimes). This is a big boost for your blog’s SEO.

It’s free!

For startups and solo professionals, a big benefit of SlideShare is that it is free! For any business it is a smart marketing channel for your content marketing strategy.

It’s easy!

blog SlideShare

SlideShare is easy to learn. If you’ve ever used PowerPoint, you’re on your way. If not, there are many tutorials out there to help you get started quickly.

It helps builds authority.

On SlideShare you showcase your expertise in your field by sharing useful and relevant information. When readers come across your quality content on SlideShare, they will associate that content with you and your personal brand.

It includes analytics.

There is a free analytic tool that helps you measure how and when viewers interact with your content. You can track how many times each presentation or infographic is viewed, shared, liked, commented on or downloaded in a specified period.

How to use SlideShare

So, how do you use SlideShare to extend the reach of your blog? The easiest way is to make a SlideShare presentation for each of your blog posts. A presentation that summarizes the post and makes it easily consumable, understandable, and quick to digest.

Because you’ve already written the post, creating and publishing a presentation is relatively simple. Not only will you at least double your exposure but there is the chance your SlideShare will go ‘viral’!

If SlideShare delivers as predicted, you may decide to start writing your posts with a presentation in mind.

Action 4.5: Powerup SlideShare

You can take a few steps to optimize your SlideShare presentation for your readers and for search engines:

Template

People like things that are familiar. Put together a template that displays your brand, your message. Use it again and again. Make sure the template reflects the colors and style of your blog and website. Place your brand logo on every slide.

Headline

This has been covered in some detail in the 3rd post in this series – Action 3: Powerup your Headlines. Just remember to optimize your title for searching by including keywords/phrases relevant to the blog topic.

Tags

blog SlideShare

You can include up to 20 tags in your presentation, making your presentation that much more searchable. Base your tags on the tag strategy you worked out in Action 1.

Description

By include a compelling description for your SlideShare, you make it more appealing to your reader and increases its SEO. As with the meta description on your website, include relevant, highly searchable keywords/phrases in your description to help search engines find it

Links

Links are very important to your SEO. Google assumes that pages with the most links to them should rank higher in search results than those without links.

So, place links throughout your Slideshare presentation, as well as on the last slide. Include a “Further Reading” slide with a list of links to related content on your blog.

Conclusion

This last post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looked at powerful channel for content distribution -SlideShare. SlideShare:

  • Extends the reach of your professional network
  • Boosts SEO
  • Is free
  • Is easy
  • Tracks metrics

Share all your posts are presentations on SlideShare and see if you don’t generate awareness and drive traffic to your blog.

A company blog is a powerful tactic in a content marketing strategy. Posting quality content consistently is key to a blog’s success. But it’s not enough. In today’s marketing environment you will need to powerup your blog to get heard.

This series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, is all about helping you take action to increase traffic to your blog and website:

  1. Powerup your site structure
  2. Powerup your social media
  3. Powerup your headlines
  4. Powerup all channels – SlideShare

I have put this blog series into a SlideShare presentation. You can download the SlideShare presentation here.

I have published this blog series as a kindle book!

You can buy it here

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

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How to Powerup Your Blog: ACTION 3: Powerup your Headlines

blog headline

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

Driving traffic to your website is one of the primary benefits of a company blog. However, posting relevant and useful content consistently may not be generating the traffic you expected. Other action is required to powerup your blog.

blog headlines

We’ve seen how to structure your blog using categories and tags and how to share your posts on relevant social media channels. Now what’s really important is getting people to click on the link to your blog and then read it. The only thing that can make people do that is the headline.

This third post in the series: How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, explains how to optimize open rates with keyword-rich headlines.

Action 3:        Powerup your headlines

First things first

Crafting a good headline should be the first step in writing a post. Start with the topic, one identified in your content calendar. Then, think about what benefit you will provide your readers in the post. With a topic and key benefit sorted, start brainstorming headline ideas, coming up with at least five drafts.

blog headlines

When writing the post, keep thinking about the headline, keep focused on the promised benefit and make sure you deliver in every post. The sections below will help you powerup your headlines to get them opened and read.

Keywords

There is some debate about whether headlines should focus on SEO or on “writing for humans”. As it turns out you should do both.

Keywords are important because they are words and phrases your audience is searching for. By using keywords, you attract more readers and drive more relevant traffic to your website.

Niche phrases, several keywords together, can add the human element. Although they generate less traffic, that traffic is more targeted with less competition. A niche phrase is more specific, and specificity makes for a better headline.

A really great headline, then, should speak in the language of the audience with keywords, presented in a proven formula that catches human attention and offers value.

Classic headline formulas

How to posts

How-to articles and blog posts are some of the most read, linked, and shared content online. Readers are looking for useful information that they can apply in a practical way. Try to focus on benefits that make your readers life better, easier, and happier. Follow up with great content that fills the promise of your headline.

There are many variations of the basic How to headline. The How to [Blank] and [Blank] was made famous by Dale Carnegie with How to Win Friends and Influence People, and it is still a powerful formula today. The How to [Blank] Without [Objectionable Action] title works because sometimes your reader wants something but doesn’t necessarily want to do what it takes to get it.

Numbered lists

A headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, tips, or actions works because it makes a specific promise to the reader. As long as you deliver on the promise with quality content, you’ll have a satisfied reader.

The human brain loves numbers, in headlines especially because numbers place information in a logical order. Interestingly, we seem to believe odd numbers more than even numbers. Odd numbers, the number 7 in particular, appear to help our brains process and recall information more easily.

The Content Marketing Institute recommends using the numeral 7 in headlines rather than the word seven. For example, instead of Seven Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier, try using 7 Things You Should Know About Your Clarifier.

Why and a declarative statement

People find it difficult to resist a headline that presents an interesting take on a topic they care about. This headline uses Why not as a question, but to put forward a point of view with the promise an explanation: Why Facebook May Be Bad for Your Business.

A reason to read

This headline formula is about giving readers a good reason to read your post. Use numbers combined with reasons to really powerup your headlines: 7 Facts about your Water Tanks that you May Not Know or 6 Insights into the Future of Membrane Technology

Conclusion

Optimizing with keywords and using winning formulas can powerup your headlines, increasing your click-through-rate.

The final post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, action 4 is about using all channels, SlideShare in particular, to extend your reach.

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

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How to Powerup Your Blog

blog social media

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

A primary benefit of a company blog is how it can drive traffic to your website. But maybe, just maybe, publishing consistently hasn’t generated the interest you were expecting. What else can you do attract attention?

blog social media

There is no better place to extend the reach of your blog than social media. But, as we all know, without a plan and some discipline, one can easily get sucked down the social media rabbit hole.

This second post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, looks at how to promote your blog on social media, driving even more traffic to your website.

Action 2.        Powerup your social media

When planning a social media strategy for your blog, it pays to begin by establishing your goals. This will help you choose which channels to target and what focus your content should have.

To extend the reach of your blog on social media you need the right stuff. You need to have:

  • the right profile
  • on the right channels
  • with the right content
  • at the right time.

The right profile

The profile you use on your social media sites can help drive traffic to your website and blog. First, all social media channels give you a couple places to display your website’s URL. Use them all.

Then, fill your About and Biographies sections with relevant keywords. Complete every section to optimize your profile. Include a clear Call to Action to let readers know how to find more information or contact you. On some channels you may need to put the CTA in each post.

Every time you post a blog, share it on all your channels. Use the comments and questions you get to refer people to back to your site.

Place links in your social media biographies to further boost your SEO. When you link back to your site from your social media channels, you’re creating high-quality backlinks to your site.  This is a key benefit of social profile optimization.

The right channels

The business you are in and the content you intend to share will help you pick the social media channels to use. The following sections give a brief overview of social media sites used by B2B marketers.

Facebook

Although it’s changed over the years, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful B2B marketing tool. It remains the world’s largest social network and, used correctly, enables communication with your audience, your customer. Businesses are able to reach their customer base easily, and on personal level.

blog social media

Optimize your company Facebook page and remember that with the new algorithm it’s all about meaningful interactions. Best practice includes:

  • avoiding overly-promotional content,
  • creating and sharing content that’s relevant to your products, and
  • developing a company narrative that keeps your audience interested.

Twitter

Twitter is a channel where you build and manage relationships. Importantly, when you share quality content on Twitter you drive traffic to your site. Prospects that visit your site can then be converted to leads, and ultimately into customers. Twitter is a great place to provide customer service too. Respond to all enquires and comments to encourage engagement.

blog social media

Twitter is also a great place to get people talking about your company, your industry, and, yes, you’re your competitors. Use it to:

  • create buzz around a product launch,
  • give certain employees the power to act as personal contacts with your followers, and
  • develop relationships with bloggers and journalists for further reach.

LinkedIn

When blogging about business and professional topics, LinkedIn is an important channel. LinkedIn helps you reach a B2B-oriented audience. LinkedIn company pages allow you to showcase your business, brand, products and services, and job opportunities.

blog social media

Every time you post a blog on your website post a link to in on your LinkedIn company page as well as the personal page of your primary communicator.

Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest

blog social media

Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are almost entirely visual. These visually-oriented platforms are most effectively leveraged for brand-building. This is where you share your multimedia and video content (see below).

blog social media

Instagram in particular has become important in brand building because engagement is high, and followers become brand-loyal. Develop a visual identity that reflects your website and brand.

The right content

Regardless of the social media platforms you choose, the key to successful content is shareability. People share content that:

Inspires – you create positivity when you inspire your readers

Entertains – when your content engages, it entertains your readers

Educates – sharing knowledge improves your readers knowledge and quality -of-life.

The content you choose to share will depend on the channel, of course. Remember your goal – driving traffic to the blog on your website – and mix up your offerings.

Infographics

Informative and visually appealing, infographics present facts and figures in a condensed visual format. Infographics are hugely popular and can be a huge source of traffic, especially if it is good enough to be re-shared.

blog social media

Multi-media

On channels like Instagram content must be shared as images or videos. Sharing this kind of content can be very effective. You know how much a picture is worth!

Company clips

This isn’t about boring, old-fashioned corporate videos. Think about ways to show off your team and your brand. Take the opportunity to humanize your brand. You have the potential to win many more followers if you do.

Tutorials, quizzes

Creating tutorials in multimedia formats allows people to see actual products or methods in use. Many in your audience might prefer watching a video rather than reading a 1,000 word post. Use quizzes to entertain your audience and with the right questions, perhaps learn a bit about them.

The right time

Hootsuite, a social media integration platform, investigated the ideal times for sharing content on each social media platform.  They found that each platform has its own peak timing for sharing. For B2B marketing posts, peak time is generally weekdays during business hours. The sections below summarize Hootsuite’s findings.

Facebook

The best time for B2B brands to post on Facebook is

Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST.

LinkedIn

Being a professional network it not surprising that the best times to post on LinkedIn is before and after work on workdays, and at break times. Hootsuite found the best times for B2B brands to post on LinkedIn are:

Wednesday (followed by Tuesday)

at 7:45AM, 10:45AM, 12:45PM, and 5:45PM EST.

Twitter

An interesting statistic about Tweets: the average lifespan of tweet is only 18 minutes! That makes timing all the more important. Here, Hootsuite found that for B2B brands in the US, the best time to tweet is:

Monday OR Thursday

between 9AM and 4PM EST; focus on between 11AM-1PM EST

Don’t even bother on the weekend!

Instagram

Instagram is not as easy to predict due to its algorithm that prioritizes a feed based on the ‘recency’ of the post. The study by Hootsuite did not give specific projections for B2B business or the water industry specifically. They did find the following:

Professional Services

Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

Technology

Monday and Tuesday

at 2 p.m.

A note about timing

The water and environmental industries, while B2B, do not always fit into the categories analyzed. You should test the same content at different times on each channel. Hone your timing to best suit your audience and upstage your competition.

Always, remember, however, that the best timing int the world won’t make up for bad content!

Conclusion

You can extend the reach of every blog post by understanding your social media audience. By developing the right profile and content for the right channel at the right time your build awareness of your brand.

In the next post in the series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, learn about how to write a killer headline in Action 3: Powerup your headlines.

For more free information about how content marketing benefits the water and environmental industries:

Check out WaterBlog!

Contact me for quality and professional content writing services

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How to Powerup your Blog

blogging site structure

Four actions you can take right now to extend your blog’s reach

Introduction

Scrolling through water and environmental industry websites, I always check for a company blog. A place where the company showcases its brand and raises awareness of its products and services. Almost every site I visit hosts a blog. Some companies even blog regularly and consistently.

blogging site structure

One of the primary benefits of a company blog is how it can help increase traffic to your website. But publishing consistently may not be generating the interest you were hoping for.

So, other than publishing quality content, consistently, how can you optimize your blog to extend your reach?

This series, How to Powerup your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your blog’s reach, will discuss four actions you can take right now to get more traffic to your blog:

  • Action 1: Powerup your blog structure
  • Action 2: Powerup your social media
  • Action 3: Powerup your headlines
  • Action 4: Powerup all channels – SlideShare

This first post explains how to structure your blog with categories and tags so search engines can find your content, driving more traffic to your website.

Action 1: Powerup your blog structure

Without a proper structure, as your blog grows, your readers will get lost in the search for the information they need. Your posts will disappear in the crowd. Search engines won’t be able to find them.

blogging site structure

How do you add structure to your blog? You start by using categories and tags. Strategically implemented, categories and tags extend your blog’s reach, get your content found, and improve your SEO.

Categories

You use categories to group your content into ‘global’ segments. Categories increase usability and enhance SEO. Search engines will find posts more easily if they aren’t competing with each other.

You can define and describe your categories in WordPress under the Posts menu. Each post should be assigned a single category. The description you use is displayed on the category page so make is compelling. For instance, the WaterCopy categories are based on the services I provide: Content marketing, White papers, Blogging etc.

Once all your blogs are assigned to a single category, you can put category pages on your site. Category pages sort your posts and display them on a separate page for each category. Links to category pages can be on a menu bar on in a sidebar. Remember, search engines love more pages!

As your blog grows you can add sub-categories to add another layer of structure. Evaluate your site structure regularly to keep it in order.

Tags

Hashtags are a word, or group of words after the # sign (like #hashtag, #watercopy, #contentmarketing etc.). Most people know of them from their use on Twitter as “tweet chats” – open group discussions around a particular topic. They are also known as metadata tags. You use tags to add further structure to your blog by describing your posts in more detail.

There are several types of tags:

Brand & Campaign tags

A brand hashtag is your company name or tagline. You use your business tag on all of your social media sites.

A campaign hashtag is one you develop for each of your marketing campaigns. If you can get people to use your hashtag, your campaign will get extended reach. Link relevant posts to campaigns with campaign tags.

Trending tags

A trending hashtag identifies a topic that is very popular. By using a trending tag in your blog post, you can potentially get your message out to a very large audience.

Content tags

Content tags are common hashtags that are related to your post content. You use content tags to further sort your posts, improving SEO. Base content tags on keywords related to the category and the post.

Content tags help get your updates seen by prospects who are searching for, or using, the hashtag words.

There are different ways to structure content tags. You may want to use:

  • product hashtags (e.g. #whitepapers, #casestudies)
  • service hashtags, (e.g. #contentwritingservices, #proofreading)
  • location hashtags (e.g. #onlinefreelancer)
  • event hashtags (e.g.#endofyearsale)

As well as adding structure to your blog, you can engage with people using related common hashtags – whether it’s a retweet on Twitter or a Like on LinkedIn.

Conclusion

Structuring you blog with categories and tags will increase traffic to your blog by enhancing SEO.

The next post in the series, How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog: Four actions you can take to extend your reach, action 2 is about effectively dispersing your message through lots of different social media channels.

For more free information about how content marketing provides benefits to the water and environmental industries:

Check out the WaterBlog!

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Search Engine Optimization Statistics Infographic

SEO statistics infographic

Is all that work optimizing your site for search engines really worth it? Will publishing quality content help? Check out these amazing stats about organic traffic and you’ll see the answer to both questions is a resounding YES!

WaterCopy SEO Statistics Infographic

Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you need help producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?

I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.  Contact me to discuss your next content project.

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How to make sure your content achieves your goals

Introduction

Is your content achieving your goals?content marketing tactics

Last week we looked at how important goals are to strategic content marketing.  And we saw how the goals for your content change through the sales funnel.  Now you need to develop content that will achieve those goals.

This week we look at the types of content -tactics – that will support and encourage your prospects in their journey through your sales funnel.

For you see, the tactics you use to deliver your content will change, along with your goals, through the sales funnel:

  • At the top of the funnel your content needs to build AWARENESS
  • In the middle of the funnel, content must enable EVALUATION
  • At the bottom of the funnel, your content needs to CONVERT

Section 1: Tactics at the top of the funnel

At the top of the funnel you are striving to build awareness.  Awareness of your brand and your products.  Awareness that your solution will solve your prospects’ problem.  You may even need to make your prospects aware that they have a problem, a problem you can solve!

At the top of the funnel you provide quality information that informs your audience.  Content should be engaging and informative not full of hype.

There are many tactics that are effective at the top of the funnel.

Blogs are imperative for top-of-funnel content publishing.  Provide relevant and timely information about problems in the industry and available solutions. And provide the information consistently.  Decide on a schedule and stick to it.

When you post a blog you then post social media updates with links back to your blog and website.

Problem/solution whitepapers are an excellent tactic at the top of the funnel.  (More detail about white papers through the sales funnel here).  And whitepapers are a great call to action.  By downloading the white paper, they are showing an interest.  Ready to be drawn further into your sales funnel.

Infographics can provide information in an entertaining and easy to digest format.  And by requiring an email address to download, they become a powerful call to action.

Newsletters are an excellent channel to build and maintain relationships.  Keep the content 80% information and education and 20% about your company.  How you work, how you interact with your community, your employees.

Provide primary research on trends in your industry.  Conduct and report on surveys of your customers about their pain points, issues with current solutions, emerging trends.

Regardless of the tactic used, always provide value.  The top of the funnel is about building awareness.  Establishing trust. And that only comes through quality content provided consistently.

Section 2: Tactics in the middle of the funnel

In the middle of the funnel your prospects are evaluating your solution.  Making comparisons.  Showing some interest but keeping a distance.content marketing tactics

Therefore, in the middle of the funnel, your tactics should provide information that will assist them in their evaluation of your solution.

For you, the middle of the funnel is all about lead magnets.  Lead magnets that compel your prospects to take action.

What is a lead magnet?  A lead magnet is an irresistible bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange to their contact information.

In the middle of the funnel the best tactics include:

Educational resources including case studies, free reports, eBooks, and white papers.  Numbered-list white papers are very effective in the middle of the funnel.  They provide information in an easy-to-read and skim-able format.

Useful resources can be even more powerful than educational resources as lead magnets.  Checklists, templates, tool kits, resource lists all provide that chunk of value that compels your prospect to give you their contact information.

A quiz or survey on a relevant industry topic can entice readers to divulge contact details as well as provide valuable information for blogs and articles.

Webinars and events are an opportunity to provide valuable content while gathering contact information.

In the middle of the funnel your tactics must continue to provide valuable information.  Information your prospects are willing to trade their contact details for.  Lead magnets that change prospects into leads.

Section 3: Content at the bottom of the funnel

At the bottom of the funnel you are striving to convert your leads into customers.  Here you need to provide specific details about your solution.  Enough detail to convince your lead that your solution will in fact solve their problem.

At the bottom of the funnel effective tactics include:

Showing how your solution works with a demo/free trial.

Providing specific, technical information in a backgrounder white paper.  Give your leads all the information they need to convince themselves that your solution will solve their problem.

Using customer success stories to demonstrate how your solution worked for a specific customer.  These stories are closer to testimonials than case studies.  The point is to demonstrate your solution and your services.

Conclusion

You can now see that the tactics you use change as your goals change through the sales funnel.  It is also clear that mapping your content to your buyers’ journey is critical for a good return-on-investment for your content:

  • At the top of the funnel publish content that builds AWARENESS of your brand, your solution.
  • In the middle of the funnel provide information that encourages EVALUATION of your solution.
  • At the bottom, tactics must CONVERT leads into customers.

Next week, we check out how to measure how well your tactics are working through metrics.

 

Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you struggle producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?

I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.

Contact me to discuss your next content project.

CONTACT ME

 

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A strategic content marketing plan in 5 easy steps

content marketing plan

Introduction

Content is King!

Aren’t you sick of hearing that?  Unfortunately, it’s true…

If you want to generate leads and build thought leadership, you need to publish content.  But without a strategic content marketing plan, it could be difficult to reach your goals.

A robust content marketing strategy, on the other hand, shifts the focus of your content agenda.  It becomes a smart, coordinated approach rather than a mad dash.  An approach that delivers consistent business improvement.

The water industry sales funnel can be divided into three stages:

  • Awareness
  • Evaluation
  • Conversion

At each stage, you can nurture your prospects along by providing valuable content about the problem they are trying to solve.  And information about how your product, process, or service will solve that problem.

With a documented strategy, you can deliver quality content consistently.

So, let’s get started!

Just do it:       A strategic content marketing plan in 5 easy steps

Start the process with a brainstorming session.  In general, people involved in the planning process support the plan’s implementation, Include as many of the team as possible.  Top management to technical experts.  The sales team and the design team.

Step 1:          Goals through the sales funnel

The goals for your content marketing must be consistent with your company’s desired business outcomes.  You need to be able to document which business outcome you want to impact through your content creation.

Remember, content marketing builds trust.  Your company builds trust over time by providing quality information.  Make your content marketing count by defining goals that will impact the desired business outcomes.

In next week’s post, we will take a deep dive into:

  • how to establish goals for content marketing, and
  • how they change through the sales funnel.

Step 2:          Your audience through the sales funnel

In B2B marketing, the sales funnel is long and many people are involved in the decision-making process.  To target your content to the right audience, you will need to identify the key personas in each stage of the sales funnel.  Your content can then be crafted to provide value to each of them.content marketing plan

You also need to understand that your audience is not static or inflexible.  Changes in the market can alter your prospects’ attitudes:

  • Has there been a major weather event (i.e. flood, drought, storms)?
  • Has there been a major change in the regulatory framework?
  • Is a certain sector heading into ‘boom’ conditions?

Be sure to review your personas regularly to reflect these types of changes.

Step 3:          Content through the sales funnel

Now that you understand who your target audience is, as a person, you can start thinking about how to take it to the next level and forge a connection with them. Start a one-on-one conversation.

One way to approach this is to create a story around the desirable qualities and unique value proposition that only your business can provide.

These are your big ideas.  They become the themes in your content calendar.  A calendar that documents the purpose of all your content.  You then break done the big ideas into content-sized chunks.

In a later post in this series, we will look in greater detail at which content types work best at each stage in the sales funnel.

Step 4:          Metrics through the sales funnel

There’s a saying in marketing: “If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”.  content marketing planIf you want to be able to quantify the return on investment (ROI) in a content marketing campaign, you must be able to measure the response.

It is important to tie the metrics to the goals and objectives of your content marketing strategy.   You must also make sure that systems are in place to track the chosen metric.  Develop procedures to make sure all metrics are monitored and both positive and negative results addressed.

In the final post in this series we will align metrics to your goals and content as they change through the sales funnel.

Step 5:          Plan review through the sales funnel

Your strategic content marketing strategy is a living document.  You need to be reviewing the plan regularly to ensure it remains relevant.  Within the plan itself, specify review periods for all sections of the plan.  Review periods will be different for each section of the plan:

  • Goals – 5-yearly
  • Content Calendar – annually
  • Audience – annually and/or event-based
  • Metrics – quarterly

Give it power             Document your strategic content marketing plan

You pulled together a lot of information, going through this process. Now document it!  You will generate a powerful statement about your intentions.  About how content marketing will achieve your desired business outcomes.

A documented strategy helps you gain support from the executive team.  A plan keeps content producers strategically aligned.

Conclusion

Content is here to stay.  If your company wants to stay on the top pages of Google, it is going to have to use content marketing.  And effective content marketing is only possible with strategic planning.

Go through the process.  Document it.  Implement it.

 

Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you struggle producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?

I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.

Contact me to discuss your next content project.

CONTACT ME

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Can an educated sales team close more deals?

white papers educate

Introduction

If your sales team doesn’t understand all the features and benefits of your product, you could be leaving money on the table.  Products in the water industry use complex technologies to solve challenging problems

Does your sales team truly understand all the features and benefits of your innovative, earth-shaking, new product?  Maybe not as well as they could.

How can you get them up to speed in time for product launch?  A white paper can do that job.

“A white paper?”, you ask.  Indeed, the water industry publishes white papers for all sorts of reasons.  White papers can:

  • generate leads
  • influence a selection committee
  • redefine a market space through your solution.
  • build authority, credibility, and thought leadership
  • keep up with competitors who have white papers.

Another powerful use is education.  You can educate potential customers, channel partners, and the media.  But most importantly, your own sales force.  They are at the forefront of your marketing strategy – the face of your brand, literally.

Read on to discover how white papers educate your sales force, which can lead to increased conversions.

White papers educate your workforce

The best type of white paper to use to educate will depend on the sales team’s technical sophistication.  Are they trained sales and marketing people?  Or are they qualified engineers?  Credentialed scientists maybe?  A mix of all?  Let’s think about the three main types of white papers and see how they can help educate your sales team.

  1. A problem/solution white paper helps your team understand an industry-wide problem. It then explores the technology in the market that provides a solution.  The white paper then describes and  explains your ‘new’ technological solution.
  2. A numbered list white paper could be used to itemize the features and benefits that you want the sales team to focus on.
  3. A technical backgrounder could be used to provide the team with all the technical features that prove the benefits. Visuals, like graphs and charts, could illustrate the proof.

Then again, you could also mix it up.  Combine two types to come up with something even better.

For educating the sales force, a problem solution combined with a numbered list could be magic.  The problem sections would give the team the information they need to understand the problem and your customers’ pain points.  The solution section would fully define the technology behind your product – the solution.  A numbered list could list and define all the features and benefits in an easy to read and remember format.

Depending on your product and your sales team, a technical backgrounder could also be mixed up with a numbered list.  The background section would provide in-depth technical details about your product.  The numbered list section would list statistics and specifications that the sales team then highlights with customers.

Conclusion

Whatever type of white paper you choose, just be sure not to leave money on the table.  Educate your sales force so they can sell all the benefits of your product.

White papers are a valuable tactic in a content marketing strategy.  Professionally developed and actively promoted white papers can generate leads, build thought leadership and, importantly, educate.

 

 

A persuasive white paper uses simple language to explain complex technologies.  In this free special report, you will discover the true value of a persuasive white paper.

 

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE REPORT

 

 

 

 

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How can white papers help the water industry?

content marketing goals

Introduction

Are you losing prospects in the long water industry sales funnel?  Do they enter the funnel confidently but then get lost among the treatment options?  White papers help!  White papers have the power to lure prospects into your funnel.  Lure them in and keep them engaged right through to conversion.

White papers helpBut what kind of white paper?  When?

By understanding the sales funnel and how decisions are made when the problem is complex and the solution expensive, the right type of white paper can be chosen for each point in the funnel.

Top of the funnel – generate leads

B2B customers need time and information to make decisions.  And decisions in the water industry are about complex problems that require expensive solutions.

At the top of the sales funnel, the object is to get the attention of potential customers.  Generate leads.

A problem/solution white paper is very effective at generating leads.  First you define the problem your prospects are trying to solve.  You provide quality information about the solutions already in the marketplace.  You then introduce the new type of solution your company provides.

The idea is to provide information upon which a buyer can base a business case – never use the hard sales pitch at the top of the funnel.  Never mention specific products in a problem/solution white paper.

A problem solution white paper is used:

  • To generate leads at the top of the funnel.
  • To educate salespeople and channel partners.
  • To educate analysts, bloggers, and journalists.
  • To redefine a market space.
  • To build mind share.

Middle zone – maintain interest and information flow, build competitive advantage

The middle of the water industry sales funnel can be excruciatingly long.  You must maintain interest without exerting pressure.  Do it by providing controversial, educational, and possibly even entertaining information in a numbered list format.

A numbered list white paper might be a set of tips, points, questions, or answers about an issue.  They tend to provide quick summaries in an easy to read format.

People love numbered lists because:

  • They are easy to scan.
  • You always know where you are.
  • They are an easy read.
  • The structure is clear.
  • You’ve been reading them for years.

Numbered list white papers are relatively quick to produce since they tend to present highlights rather than deep analysis.  The points presented can almost be random with the numbering system holding them together.

A numbered list is especially powerful:

  • To get attention with provocative views
  • To help prospects along that area already in the funnel
  • To cast doubt on your competitors.

A numbered list keeps the information flowing into the middle of the sales funnel.  At its best, a numbered list white paper encourages discussion by introducing sometimes controversial ideas about the problem or about solutions currently available.

Bottom of the funnel – pulling in the sale

At the bottom of the funnel you want to pull in the sale.  A technical backgrounder white paper provides detailed technical information about the features and benefits of your product, process, or service.

A backgrounder has a tight focus on one offering from one vendor.  This type of white paper is also referred to as an evaluator’s guide or a product briefing.  It tends to do one of the following:

  • Explains key features, functions and benefits in more detail than a brochure or data sheet.
  • Explains new, unfamiliar or misunderstood technology to a technical audience.
  • Supports a product launch by explaining the product in technically detailed terms.

A backgrounder-style white paper is powerful in the late stages of a buying decision. It can help the buyer or buying committee make a final decision.  The white paper needs to provide specific details of how the features of your product, process, or service will benefit the buyer.  And how those features will solve their problem.

At this point features are as important as benefits, sometimes even more important.  The buyer needs to know that your product/process/service will solve their problem.

Post Sale – maintain interest and relationships by re-purposing white paper content

After the sale, your content can help build stronger customer relationships. Relationships that can lead to future sales.  After publishing an effective white paper, the content can and should be used to feed other channels.

To establish thought leadership, you must provide new and engaging content continually.  Search engines like Google assess content as well as keywords.  And white papers are expensive. Re-purposing their content makes good business sense.

Each section of a numbered list could become a post on your blog.  They could each be re-reworked into an article in your newsletter. Both the blog post and the article should contain a link to the full white paper on your website.

A problem/solution white paper could be presented at a conference with a PowerPoint slide show.  Several white papers could be tied together and published as an e-book.

Conclusion

White papers can engage and educate your prospects all the way through the sales funnel. They make an excellent call to action in a strategic content marketing campaign.  Prospects who download the white paper are expressing an interest in the solutions offered.  Be sure to collect information when they do.  Then follow up. Follow up. Follow up.

 

A persuasive white paper uses simple language to explain complex technologies.  In this special report, you will discover the true value of a persuasive white paper.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE REPORT

 

 

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Welcome to Water Copy

It’s always been about water…

Ever since I was a kid, I have had a fascination with water.  Swim lessons in the rain in Seattle.  Body surfing off California till our lips turned blue.  Tubing down rivers in Arizona.  Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.

That fascination with water has stayed with my all my life.  In my professional life water – quality, quantity, management, and use – is what has captivated me.

And in my professional life I have been well served by my love of reading and writing.  I love to research a topic and find the compelling idea at its core.  And then to prove that compelling idea in simple and concise language.

I love how words can transform complex scientific and technical concepts into stories that engage your prospects.  How stories can persuade, compel, empower

Okay. So, it’s always been about water and words…

I am now a freelance content writer with a focus on industrial water management and use.  I understand the science behind your wastewater treatment technology.  Better yet I understand your prospects and clients.  I understand the challenges they face in managing water and wastewater.  I know their pain points: supply, treatment, compliance.

I can help you communicate your value to your prospects and clients in effective ways.  I can help you build thought leadership in integrated wastewater management.

So, how do you persuade prospects to visit your website, connect with you, to contact you? You need to engage them both emotionally and rationally.  Find the emotionally compelling idea that will spark their interest.  Then prove to them that your solution will solve their problem.

How do you build thought leadership in your niche?  By providing compelling content on a consistent basis.  Allow me to help you with effective content assets: white papers, case studies and newsletters.

WHITE PAPERS

Extensively researched and effectively written, I write whitepapers that nurture leads through the lengthy sales funnel for wastewater treatment plants.  White papers vary in length, style, and investment.   We work together to address information needs at different points in the sales funnel.  We develop a white paper strategy that will pull in leads and nurture them into clients.

CASE STUDIES

I write case studies that tell your success stories.  Given access to the happy customer I craft a story that testifies to your brand. Your solution. These success stories are testimonials to your solutions as well as to what it’s like to work with your company.

NEWSLETTERS

Together we develop a newsletter strategy that streamlines the process.  That makes generating a newsletter that people want to read a piece of cake.  Newsletters chock full of meaningful content.  But that also show your personal side.  Your employees, Your impact on the industry and the community.

Let’s work together and create content that will generate leads, and build your brand. No one else researches the problems you solve like I do.  And I will work with you until you are satisfied with the final product.

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