The information I’m going to share with you here is not cutting edge. If you are looking for something new (read: largely untested), then I suggest you look elsewhere. The same goes for anyone looking for an easy (read: lazy) route to marketing success – you won’t find it here. But if you are looking for something that works (probably better than anything else you are doing right now), then this might just be the most important blog post you read this week.

Let’s face facts, business isn’t easy. In uncertain times, we’re all looking for solutions to oil the wheels of commerce and help us to become more efficient.

Regardless of whether you are looking for help with accountancy, marketing, technology or even just the most efficient way to stuff envelopes, expertise is an eagerly sought commodity. For a business with a limited marketing budget this represents a significant opportunity.

Content marketing is the most effective method for positioning yourself as an expert. Great content is devoured by businesses hungry for new ideas. When you add the power of email and social media marketing into the equation to distribute your message, you are effectively creating a platform that not only delivers expertise but also drives leads and nurtures relationships.

6 Integrated Content Marketing Strategies to Drive Leads and Nurture Relationships

  1. The White Paper: A detailed document, normally delivered as a PDF, and distributed via a landing page on your website. Your landing page should allow you to capture detailed enough contact details to (a) allow you to generate useful leads for your sales team to follow up; and (b) to increase the size and quality of your email marketing list to facilitate future targeted email campaigns and build relationships. A great white paper should deliver a piece of thought leadership that empowers the reader to make decisions to make their business more efficient.
  2. The Blog Post: An incredibly useful tool for keeping your customers and prospects informed about your business. Because the major search engines love regularly updated content, a great blog should be an integral part of your SEO strategy. Use your blog to share industry insights and short pieces of thought leaderships, promote new products and services, highlight other marketing initiatives such as white papers, and drive email and social media engagement. You should feature an email subscription form on every page of your blog and sell the benefits of subscription. An RSS feed will ensure engaged readers receive your latest content, as and when you post it. A good blog will also fuel your social media output and help your messages go viral.
  3. The Email Newsletter: It’s a hard habit to break, but I would encourage you to stop thinking about email marketing in terms of weekly or monthly newsletters. Instead you should be sending whenever you have something interesting to say. This could be a new product, customer testimonial or interesting piece of thought leadership via a new white paper or blog post. Using a system like iContact to manage your email marketing will help your sales team plan their sales calls by delivering information about which subscribers have clicked on a specific link.
  4. Social Media: Beware the social media trap. Social media alone does not provide a strategy and will not make you a thought leader. Invest in great content before you start broadcasting via social media. Use your social media presence to promote your latest white papers, blog posts and email subscriptions. Don’t forget social media is as much about listening as it is about broadcasting.
  5. Press Releases: If you are looking to extend the reach of your content marketing strategy and deliver news worthy content beyond the scope of your own email marketing list, RSS feeds or social network, you should consider using a Press Release distribution service. As well as targeting journalists and bloggers with your content, premium services like PRWeb will also help you SEO efforts considerably.
  6. The Guest Post: A guest post in an industry-specific publication, website or blog will enhance your profile significantly. Take time to build relationships with journalists and bloggers who specialize in reporting about your industry. Websites like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) provide a great starting point for building your media contacts.

Content marketing strategies work best when they are run across multiple channels. Don’t be afraid to re-work your content to suit the various channels of distribution. This will help you widen your reach as you deliver content by your individual prospect’s channel of choice.

But none of this will help you write better content. For this you’ll need to find your own voice and seek out (preferably from your clients and prospects) what people actually want to hear. This is where the hard work comes in. If you are struggling to find your own voice, I suggest you immerse yourself in the thought leadership of others. Take notes of what they do well, what you could do better and then dedicate some time to creating your own content marketing strategy.

Check out iContact’s latest white paper: 10 Rules for Successful Email Marketing

Read more: