You are an expert in your field and have real expertise to share. I make this assumption because anyone doing business in this economy had better have expertise in their field.
So, you know you are an expert, but who else knows?
Get the word out about you and your business by creating useful content, distributing it to your target audience and then converting that audience into clients.
If you are a doctor, you can write about the latest advances in your specialty. If you are a lawyer, you can write about the impact of new legislation. If you are selling clothes, write about the latest fashions. You get the idea.
This content should be informative and useful to your target audience. It should not be a blatant sales pitch for your services. If you demonstrate your expertise, the business will follow.
Being an expert does not mean you are a great writer. If you don't write well, then make sure you get help from someone who does. If you don’t have someone on staff, then hire a copywriter. It will be well worth the investment.
Before you start trying to disseminate your articles, make sure you’ve written at least four, covering different topics. Why?
- It gives you practice in writing the articles.
- It gives you some flexibility in where you might try to get your articles published.
- It will give you a portfolio of articles to present to a would-be publisher of your work.
Another obvious use of your content is to publish it on your business’s website. By writing a blog, you can provide useful information to your target audience (customers and potential customers) while putting a human face on your company.
Disseminating your content
Once you’ve created a trove of content, you want to get it in front of as many (targeted) people as possible. Thanks to the advent of the Internet and the explosive growth of the blogosphere, there are plenty of opportunities to get your content published.
The first step is to do your homework:
- Identify your target audience: Who are your primary clients/customers? What new markets do you want to touch?
- What current sites serve those constituencies?
- Do those sites provide opportunities for guest columnists?
- Does the information you provide work well for these sites?
Doctors should do research into the many medical and health-related sites out there, lawyers can go to one of the sites where potential clients within their specialty can be found, and clothing retailers can pitch to any number of sites dealing with fashion issues.
When you are sending out your proposals to the publications, make sure that you’ve done a different kind of homework. Demonstrate to the editor/blogger that you are very familiar with their work (be specific) and make your case for why your columns would be a good fit.
Using your content to get media coverage
Another great use of original content is to use it to get the attention of the media. You can always try to tell a journalist that you have expertise. On the other hand, by providing a link to your original content you can prove it.
When you pitch members of the media on a story, you make their life easier by providing articles you’ve written on the particular subject. In essence, you are providing ready-made quotes for their story.
An article-based media pitch can sound something like this:
I thoroughly enjoy your coverage of small business. I especially enjoyed your most recent story on ___________________.
One area you haven’t covered recently is the story of a small company thriving in difficult times. I think my company would be a great anchor for such a story. In the past year, we have doubled in size and tripled in revenues. As a matter of fact, I have recently written about our company’s experience in this area on our blog and I’ve attached a link to the story.
I’ve also attached links to stories involving:
- Small business hiring
- Doing business online
- Getting the most for your online marketing buck
If you are interested in discussing any of those areas, I’d be more than happy to provide you with any quotes or background information you require.
Please let me know if there is any other information I can provide.
I think you’ll be surprised how successful this approach can be. One word of warning, though. As a small business, do not expect to immediately get coverage in The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Start with smaller media outlets and blogs and work your way up.
Writing and disseminating useful content is a great way to get the word out about your company and drive business. By writing content that is well-written and provides practical, useful information, you put yourself and your business in the best possible light.
OPEN Cardmember Gabriel Shaoolian is the founder and CEO of Blue Fountain Media, a results-driven web design and online marketing company based in Manhattan.