I just finished re-reading an excellent book The New Rules of Marketing & PR.
Some stuffy PR guys would probably like to challenge the contents of this book as it does not promote the old truths of PR and marketing. David Meerman Scott has focused on explaining the world of opportunities that have opened up for aspiring journalists, marketers and small business owners via web-based tools and services. Free or low cost applications such as blogs, podcasts and social networking tools such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn are changing the old rules. Niche buyers can be reached with targeted messages that cost a fraction of big-budget advertising campaign. In addition, these marketing efforts often allow instant feedback and measurable results, so the “train can be stopped much sooner when it’s headed to the wrong direction”.
One-way interruption does not work as well as it used to. Instead, marketers have to create a dialogue with potential buyers and deliver useful content at the moment their prospects, buyers or constituents need it.
Readers learn that online marketing is not about pretty websites either. Per Meerman Scott, content is not only KING, but President and Pope as well. The key to interesting and entertaining content is the collaboration between the different departments of the organization. Websites cannot be stale either – content needs to be fresh and the reactions of the visitors should be measured and analyzed, so the content can be improved. I agree with all these points as I prefer information rich blogs and websites to flashy and design driven sites.
Here are some steps David Meerman Scott suggests for creating thoughtful content. These steps apply to websites and all social media tools in my opinion.
Do not focus on writing primarily about your company and products. Content should be designed to solve buyer problems or answer questions.
Define your organizational goals before you design your website.
Based on your goals, decide whether you want to provide the content for free without any registration, or you want to include some kind of registration mechanism (much lower response rates).
Think like a publisher. Consider buyer personas.
Write for your audience. Use examples and stories, make it interesting.
Choose a great title that grabs attention.
Promote the effort like crazy. Offer the content with easy-to-find links.
Alert appropriate bloggers, reporters and analysts that the content is available and send them a download link.
What is the main reason I like The New Rules of PR and Marketing?
It gives easy to read instructions on how to become a thought leader while remaining authentic and transparent. No need to pay a top dollar to reach your audience if you have expertise, find your voice, target a specific group of people and keep improving your skills.
Educate, entertain and motivate!