Finding your voice: content marketing dos

Content marketing is nothing new. If you are a company that consults or advises, or deals with “selling the invisible,” you may already be considered a thought leader and have a paper trail of articles, speeches and case studies that you’ve shared with clients. But are you consistently producing and distributing material that is useful and engaging to your target audience? Are you seeing results in organic search or social media efforts?

Finding your Voice

Remember, content is what drives the Internet. Search engines are looking for more than key words in a static website. When consumers (including your business clients) are looking for information to help them solve a problem, search engines are looking for more than key words in a static website. They are giving top ranking to those sites and listings that offer current, high quality, changing content, and links from other sites and media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blog comments, videos and more).

So, what is the right content and how should you go about developing it?

Having coffee the other day with a very talented marketing manager for an advisory firm, I asked questions about her company’s brand strategy. She shared with me how difficult it could be to come up with content at times. And yet, as I probed, she told me stories about how the founder started out and developed a niche, about how they managed to grow through the recession and how new opportunities were helping them think differently; I heard compelling story after compelling story. By the time we had finished our conversation, she had a fantastic list of monthly newsletter topics or blog posts.
Creating content not only helps you reach your client base–informing them and  providing value—but provides you with an opportunity to share how you are different. It’s important to find your unique voice in order to set yourself apart. How?
1) Think about who you are writing for. Who is your ideal client? What would they ask you? What issue might you be able to help them with? When you begin, write just for that one person.
2) Be conversational. Don’t fuss. Using jargon will push your audience away.
3) Come from your difference. Be clear on the “why” behind your brand — why your company does what it does beyond profitability. You will not convince others to believe in your why; don’t try. But be clear on why you write what you write and do what you do. That’s the inspiration that will make your content real, helpful and compelling.

4) Write about what you know. What are the questions that you answer for your clients every day? Make a list of these. Chances are you can write about these topics off the top of your head. Think in terms of what people who use your services might be searching for.
5) Think about how you can help. Make your content about providing information, about helping and about being a resource, not about convincing or selling. Provide value.
6) Don’t get stuck on strategy. Planning will ultimately help you, but the bottom line is to get started if you have not already. Start posting even snippets of great things you’ve already written. Get used to creating or regenerating content. Start telling your story.
Sound like yourself. Come up with your own voice. Experiment a little. Ask some key clients to take a look and comment. Or ask them what they would like to know more about. Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story if you can tie it into a point. And provide real value. Get read and get found.
–Wendy
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