It’s no secret that I’m a huge proponent for content marketing to help your business. What is often overlooked when discussing content marketing though is how you can leverage your content strategy to connect with industry influencers and build relationships with people who can help you amplify your message.
Adam Bluemner of FindAccountingSoftware.com recently reached out to me with some questions for one of his articles, along with a few other top marketing influencers, to create an extremely valuable piece on how to market to small businesses. This article that Adam put together is a great example of understanding the kind of information that your audience is interested in, putting in the time and effort to create a top quality blog post, and leverage his new relationships to help distribute that blog post.
Below is an interview I conducted with Adam to go over how he went about creating this article and the value that’s it has provided his company.
My name is Adam Bluemner. I’m the Managing Editor at FindAccountingSoftware.com. We offer a free service that companies can use to get personalized recommendations on business software ranging from accounting packages to inventory control to CRM and beyond. I’ve worn a number of hats in the decade or so I’ve been with Find Accounting Software. I’ve personally spoken with thousands of software buyers and spent many years managing our team of software needs analysis consultants. I spend most of my time these days working on content marketing related projects, including writing articles for our blog, running surveys, managing our social channels, and so forth.
Our blog generally focuses on how technology can help companies overcome top business management challenges. We think it only makes sense that if you’re offering a useful business service, you should market it by provide compelling discussions of business best practices that will be relevant to the target audience.
The roots of wanting to explore this particular topic came from the fact that we had noticed an interesting phenomenon: many of our business partners have very different definitions of what a small business is. We thought it would make for an interesting study useful to marketers to quantify people’s definitions of small business. The results of our study showed that people have very different definitions of what a small business is and these definitions vary significantly from the governments.
In any case, our small business study lead us to being interested in exploring the question of best practices for marketing to small businesses. There are a lot of articles talking about how small business should market themselves, but far fewer discussing marketing to small businesses. So, the expert advice article on marketing to small businesses really met our expectations of a) being relevant to our core business audience, b) including actionable info for overcoming real business challenges, and c) offering a unique point of view.
Since we were interested in identifying best practices for marketing to small businesses, we wanted to connect with established experts to ask a handful of questions.
A numberof the experts were people I was already familiar with from following on social media and through their blogs. In order to find other experts, I looked for experts who were active in contributing their insights on 3rd party websites – assuming that would mean I’d be reaching out to people willing to share their thoughts. Specifically, I looked for experts who I thought had a unique perspective to offer via checking out the work of authors at sites like SmallBizTrends.com, AllBusiness.com, Business2Community.com, and CustomerThink.com.
I wanted to make sure our article offered a good variety of different actionable tips, so I focused on connecting with marketers who covered a variety of disciplines from SEO and social to video and personal experts. I was very interested in representing as comprehensive a perspective as possible.
Every story we develop has a unique purpose. As mentioned, it starts with the idea that we need to present actionable information that helps business leaders overcome management challenges. One of the ways we’re able to communicate these ideas is via social media, and like everybody else, we’re always interested in figuring out great ways to expand our social reach.
Calling upon expert marketers to contribute to an article not only is a great way to get great information to share, it also has the added benefit of creating momentum by including the work of people who are influencers on social media. Basically, if you’ve given a marketer great positive exposure–they’re going to share that with their followers–which is a great way to connect with new audiences. So we were very interested in seeing if we could utilize this article to drive impressions and new followers on Twitter.
Overall, we received a tremendous response to this article. Based on influential experts in the marketing community sharing the article, we were able to generate 250x our normal reach versus what we would’ve been able to generate if it was just our company sharing the article. In addition to generating large impression counts for tweets sharing the article, we saw a marked increase in social followers. In less than a month’s time following publication of the article and tweeting about it, we were able to increase the follower total for our Twitter account by 12%. Of the 125 new followers, the majority followed us as a direct result of tweets sharing this particular article.
There are a number of elements to this article’s approach that we will definitely continue to repeat. One of the most positive lessons we learned was about the power of gathering contributions from influential voices. Not only did the experts we worked with have opinions and insights worth sharing with our audience–they had a platform that allowed them to share our voice with their audience. In terms of what we’d do different… I imagine in the future we’ll simply increase the frequency with which we feature expert advice and perhaps even the number of contributing experts.