You have a presentation in one hour and you need more material. Your natural inclination is to “Google” it. Bingo — you run across a well-prepared whitepaper with just the detailed information you require. Here it comes – – the contact form. You think, “Is it worth giving my name and email to get this report based on a new study?” If the report is enticing, you give your address and dig into the juicy data so you can get your presentation done.
What happens next? Do you get a follow-up email with an offer from the firm that published and so generously shared the whitepaper? In my case, I get a follow-up email only 25% of the time. I wonder about the amount of energy these companies spend to produce high-quality content marketing materials, only to let those emails languish in the abyss of their database.
Even if the firm does not follow-up with those who provided email addresses, having a library of high-quality, relevant whitepapers will boost the firm’s credibility. If they do this over a period of time, they promote their image as an expert on these topics. There is value in that alone.
I call that the tip of the iceberg in the world of content marketing. It is somewhat effective, but short of the success you could achieve. You want to leverage that content to the fullest. You can achieve maximum reward through carefully-crafted follow-up contacts by email or phone.
The objective of content marketing is to attract customers by continuously producing valuable and interesting content. It is a subtle way to provoke communication with prospective customers. You are showing your value by delivering information that a prospective customer finds helpful. The hope is that, ultimately, the prospects will reward the company with their respect and their business.
Here are some tips to get your content marketing plan off the ground.
1. Consider multiple forms of content. Blog posts, whitepapers, articles, or videos. If you don’t have the time to develop content, hire someone.
2. Maintain a steady stream of content. A schedule of multiple blog posts per week and a new whitepaper each month is an effective strategy to engage your prospects. Knowledge Storm/Marketing Sherpa conducted a study and reported that “85% of tech buyers indicated the need to encounter at least three pieces of content before engaging with a solution provider.”
3. Provide multiple contact opportunities. Offering clients various ways to contact you will help keep them engaged regarding any questions about the content or simply to inquire about services. Clearly show this information on the documents, as well as on your website.
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4. For large studies, reports and whitepapers utilize a contact form requiring, at a minimum, a name and email address to access the whitepaper. Give options for readers to share phone numbers, information about their company, and comments about their employment or recruiting needs.
5. Follow up with the prospect. Email and ask their opinion of the whitepaper. Invite them to read more of your resources, to attend an upcoming seminar or to call with questions.
6. Set up an email newsletter. Ask your readers to opt in to receive a weekly or monthly email about the employment market in their industry or geographic area. Your newsletter could also provide tips on employment and HR-related issues. Create compelling content so they are eager to click and read your email newsletter.
7. Measure and track your results so you can identify the aspects of your content marketing campaign that are most effective. You need to know what is worth repeating.
Your prospective customers are searching online for answers and information. Create content to fill those interests. When they find your content, you have the opportunity to begin a relationship. After you have developed this meaningful content, take it to the finish line by following up with these prospects to turn the interested readers into customers.