Everybody is a writer these days. No, that’s not sarcastic. Everybody is or can be a writer these days.
Individuals that possess unique knowledge and an ability to address common problems have more outlets for their message than ever before. Integrators and consultants that solve their clients’ organizational challenges absolutely fall into this category.
Many in the integration industry understand that publishing content is a great way to showcase personal or organizational expertise and to build brand. Many are interested in writing columns, participating in multimedia presentations or pushing out video content.
As trade publication editors we’re often asked about best practices for content creation and getting media exposure in general. We decided to pull together some tips for using media to educate prospective customers and in doing so improve the reach of your organization.
Our advice isn’t limited to getting published in Commercial Integrator, which is a trade publication for integrators and consultants, or to TechDecisions, whose four sites (CorporateTechDecisions.com, HigherEdTechDecisions.com, K-12TechDecisions.com and WorshipTechDecisions.com) speak to end user tech decision makers in their respective markets. Today there are countless avenues to take when pushing content out to a target audience, and doing so effectively increasingly makes good marketing sense.
Here are some tips:
1. Take Charge of Your Message
As trade publication editors, we’re obviously partial to the tried-and-true approach of journalists interviewing experts and writing articles. However, we also embrace the fact that there are many ways to produce content these days and one way isn’t necessarily better than another.
Both CI and TD run columns written by integrators and consultants. The trick to convincing us to run a column is to structure it such that it benefits our audience. We won’t run a promotional piece. We will, however, run a CI column by an integrator willing to share a business strategy that might get the other integrators in our audience thinking; or a CorporateTechDecisions column by an integrator explaining how soundmasking might improve productivity in open office spaces, for instance.
While it’s great to leverage the audience reach of established publications, such as CI and TD, many integrators post columns on their company’s website, on Facebook or LinkedIn, and that’s fine, too. It can be pushed out to a target audience of existing and prospective customers via newsletter and strategically promoted on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Try Tweeting valuable content at publications, such as CI and the appropriate TD brand. If the content is good, the brand should want to retweet and share with their followers.
2. Be a Thought-Leader
As an integrator or consultant that sits down to write a column (really, any writer), the first thing to ask yourself is: Why am I writing this?
Today’s customers “want education and they want to understand, and it’s up to us to teach them in a way they can understand.”—Kelly Perkins, AVI Systems
Take the example of writing a column about how soundmasking might improve productivity in open office spaces. One objective is certainly to educate readers and help them make a positive impact on their organizations, but an umbrella objective above that is to establish yourself as a thought-leader that prospective customers or audience members will look to for guidance.
The same is true at CI. One objective of this column is to help our audience members promote their expertise and improve their businesses, but an umbrella objective above that is to be a valuable resource for our audience and decide if this article can further that objective. (We hope it does.)
So write authoritatively. Use it as a platform to demonstrate that your firm can answer your customers’ questions and solve their challenges. That’s far more effective than transparent promotion.