As a company IQPC is in the business of sharing highly practical, case study driven information created by leading business executives at the cutting edge of their industries. As part of that service we also provide face to face networking opportunities and allow sponsors some access to the interaction. I like to think of IQPC as an information intermediary, it’s just that our chosen form of delivery to date has been conferences, seminars and exhibitions. But our recent launch of online industry communities has changed that and planted us firmly in the content marketing camp.
It’s a natural fit for our business, we capture so much first person research during the development of the event, and have so much content at our events, we simply need to find effective ways to capture and leverage it to grow our niche communities. We charge a premium for the live events, that’s the head of the tail, where all the immediate, urgent value is, but what is live content worth tomorrow or the next day….how can it help add more value and build our brand?
There’s been a lot written about content marketing, and most of it under lots of different names, but I like this definition from www.copyblogger.com best:
Content Marketing is a broad term that relates to creating and freely sharing informative content as a means of converting prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers.
Whilst it appears simple, like the rest of this business the devil is in the detail. Some marketers get confused on what they can and can’t do, what is acceptable and what is not, what is valuable and what is not. So here are my tenets of content marketing:
You must add value – Your community should be better off for spending the time it took to read, listen to or devour your content.
You must be authentic – Don’t hide behind the content; let the value of the content speak for itself.
You must be unique – There’s little to no point in re-using existing content unless you are providing a unique spin or syndication service, helping great content spread is fine, if it adds value.
You must be relevant –It must highly relevant to the target audience, resonate with their world view and be of immediate help.
You must be aligned – The content must be very much aligned to the problems the event is looking to solve or the skills it is looking to develop. This alignment is critical if you hope to convert the content users from strangers to customers.
You must leverage your content – A small snippet or introduction or insight to the content must be promoted via your partners, social media sites and well written press releases. This will ensure you have maximized your effort beyond your internal database.
You must be remarkable – You don’t have to win the Pulitzer Prize but you do want people to remark, you want them to forward your content.
And it’s OK to sell, not in the content, but it should be implicit what the customer or prospective customer is getting into, you should not hide behind the content. If you are going to call the prospect, they need to remember that you provided them with that valuable piece of content and that should lead the way to a more valuable conversation. If you are going to go to all that trouble to create valuable, unique, relevant and remarkable content you want the association or alignment of the content and your brand to be implicit, loud and clear, no confusion.
I strongly believe that content marketing is the only type of marketing we have left, but it must be aligned with the overall campaign message and goals, we all have to pay the bills. Your content marketing strategy must be integrated into your entire marketing plan; it must feature in every drop, in every campaign online and offline, and be visibly associated with your brand. Most importantly online, you must focus on the content, as this will help pull people in via search, social media and your online partners. If you succeed in capturing their attention you must know what to do to convert that attention so you also need to make sure the sales channel is fully briefed and understands the value of content and where they can take the conversation.
By providing this valuable content you are trying to shift brand perception beyond the actual day of your event, add value and build your advocacy ladder, helping customers find you.