To explain Insights, I first need to discuss a relatively new term — content marketing.
Today, every company is a publisher. You regularly publish fresh, insightful content on your website, email newsletters, social media and other places. (Note — If you’re not doing this, you probably should be!) Sharing your knowledge in articles, blog posts, videos and other forms of content marketing builds your credibility and helps bring customers to you.
This is possible through the magic of the Internet, which lets companies — as well as non-profits, government entities and other groups — communicate directly with potential customers.
However, many companies make the mistake of solely focusing on their own websites, while potential customers spend little — if any — time on those sites.
Imagine a retailer who arranges beautiful window displays, but nobody sees them because they shop in other parts of town. It’s the same online with companies that obsess over their websites, while potential customers are reading, being entertained and engaging elsewhere online.
This is where Insights comes in.
Insights gives local organizations the ability to communicate directly with the Business Journal audience.
The key to Insights and other forms of content marketing is deciding what knowledge and perspectives you should share.
My suggestion is not to over-think this. Your customers and potential customers tell you on a regular basis what they want to learn from you.
Think about it this way — what questions are people asking you? That’s what you should write about.
Realtors are asked about pricing trends for homes in our region and the impact of the new flood insurance rules. Health care executives are asked about company wellness plans and how Obamacare will affect insurance premiums. Attorneys are asked about the effectiveness of non-compete agreements and how to protect intellectual property.
Don’t approach a content marketing piece like it’s a college thesis. Think about how you answer questions in conversation and emails. (A tip — You’ll often find nearly fully-formed content marketing pieces in your Outbox.)
Nothing matches the effectiveness of one-on-one, face-to-face conversations, but a content marketing program like Insights has two advantages.
First, your perspective on a topic reaches thousands of people, which you obviously couldn’t achieve if you only engaged in one-on-one conversations. And second, your insights remain just one Google search away from potential customers at the exact moment you want to reach them — while they’re researching your industry and about to make a buying decision.
The job of the Business Journal and others who run content marketing programs is to get your perspective in front of your potential customers.
We do this by giving Insights contributors their own page on the Business Journal website, highlighting Insights headlines throughout the site and on our daily email updates as well as promoting Insights in the Business Journal newspaper and our social media channels.
We have a few rules for Insights:
• While Insights content should be valuable to readers, it is produced separately from the stories done by our journalists. Being an Insights contributor has no effect on getting more or less coverage from our reporters. Separate marketing writers — not our journalists — will help Insights clients with their pieces if they choose that option. This ensures our newsroom stays independent, while our clients have the opportunity to speak directly to Business Journal readers.
• Insights posts should be informational, not “sales-y.” The point of content marketing is to build your credibility and trust with an audience. This won’t happen if you beat them over the head with sales pitches.
• Insights contributors must have at least two pieces per month. We require this so clients receive value from this program. With content marketing, it is important to publish on a consistent basis. Think how often you see a company blog that hasn’t been updated in six months or more. That doesn’t leave a good impression with potential clients.
• Individuals, not organizations, are contributors to Insights. People relate more to input, advice and perspective from other people, not corporations. Insights should share an individual’s thoughts, not be a company press release service.
• Insights is limited to five contributors in any one category. We think it’s useful for readers to have several perspectives from each industry, but we also don’t want to overwhelm readers or limit the reach clients can receive from the program.
The Business Journal is excited to launch Insights and evolve with the world of content marketing.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you think of Insights and how we can improve it.
Rob Kaiser is the publisher of Greater Wilmington Business Journal. He can be reached at (910) 343-8600 x204 or [email protected].
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