It's easy to drown in the different forms of digital marketing out there if you're running a consulting business. Because time is precious, particularly if you work as a consult, juggling every aspect of your business, you need to focus on doing what's imperative – not just helpful.
To help keep things simple but effective, here are the content marketing platforms I think you need to include in 2013 as part of your strategic online marketing plan.
Do not ignore the power of a blog. They help get you found in Google and other search engines, generate leads and give prospects an insight to your core skills. What's more, a blog is full of personality. If you write in a tone of voice that reflects just who you are instead of “corporate speak” you'll show customers a personal side of who you are. This is important because we do business with people, not businesses.
Get a blog right and it will bring new customers to your door. If you're thinking of starting a business blog or have let yours go on hiatus too long, check out this post on what makes a great business blog.
2. Social Media
Sure, a blog is a social media channel; however, nowadays social media channels have typically come to mean Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on. With more than 90% of US businesses on social media according to latest reports, social media should be one of your key platforms for content marketing. Just yesterday a client set up a new instagram account and received 700 followers by the end of the day after it was promoted on their Fcaebook page. What a brilliant platform to connect with an audience, giving them a different insight into who you are and what you do. Remember: it's not just about posting pictures of your dogs. It can also be about posting pics of you giving a keynote, participating at a conference, etc. Instagram can help build trust in you and your audience if handled strategically.
I have one caveat when it comes to social media. It's important that you are careful not to waste time chasing the social media dragon. It's easy to disappear down a worm tail of tweets and status updates. Set specific goals for social media engagement, measure your ROI and tweak accordingly.
Every year for the last few years the benefits of video as part of your online marketing content creation has been talked. “This is the year of video” is something I've heard time and time again. With great quality video now on smart phones there's increasingly much less of a barrier to entry when it comes to making video posts both easily available and filming them. Editing still takes time and you'll need to develop your skills; however, don't underestimate the power of video to demonstrate your skills and personality. As a consultant this is particularly important because as I noted earlier people will largely be choosing to workwith you. The person. What else can give a better insight into your personality and knowledge than a video ?
Use video to show your clarity, skills and approachability. Don't think of video as an advert. Think of it as a way of giving people a window into what you can do and how you can help them.
You don't have to get in front of the camera if you're uncomfortable with that. I'm not personally super happy with talking to the camera but there are other wiays. Screen casts are another way to add video content marketing. I try to create tutorials from time to time to talk through a particular tip or idea.
Although podcasts are not as popular as video and text they are gaining ground with the rapid growth of smart phones. I've been producing a business podcast for over two years now. It's become an incredibly useful part of my digital marketing armour. It's brought me speaking engagements, web design projects, and marketing campaigns and enabled to pitch for more international projects than ever before. It's also helped build my network of contacts within the online marketing and communications industry which I've found both intellectually stimulating and a lot of fun! As a consultant you're always going to be looking for new business, new contacts and to widen the scope of your business.
If you've never thought of podcasting, why not check out my ebook Launch a Podcast which tells you everything you need to know to get an episode up on iTunes in very little time at all.
Again, as a consultant it's important to show a sense of your skills, konwlege and personality and, just like video, podcasting does that because you're talking right into the ears of someone.
How About You?
What do you see as the most important platform for your marketing efforts ? Is email direct marketing more important to you ? I'm curious to know more.