Influential Content in Inbound MarketingInfluence.  It’s a word being thrown around a lot these days, especially in the world of content marketing and Inbound (Internet) marketing.

For example, we talk about “return on influence” being the new ROI. But does anybody really know what it means?

Well, we do know that influence is important to effective marketing in the digital age.  In 2012, over 88% of adult Internet users in the U.S. used the web specifically to research products. These consumers were looking for information that would help them make purchasing decisions.

Influential content that persuades prospects to purchase from you starts with a campaign built around establishing your authority.  If your web marketing efforts have stalled, or you just want to get to the next level, you need to create the kind of content that makes people want to take the desired action.  Here are some tips:

Shhh, listen.
Here that?  That’s the sound of your target market.  They’re trying to tell you something and you’d better be listening.  That means that while content creation, web analytics and sales goals are a necessary part of your daily survival, you need to schedule in some time to just listen to what your customers need, what their problems are, and what kinds of questions they have.

Get on social media. Follow your best clients on Twitter and check out their personal and company pages on Facebook.  Also, check out their Google+ pages and their LinkedIn profiles.  Follow the threads they are following.  Comment and ask questions. Offer surveys and start discussions.  Provide links to resources that your best prospects will find helpful.

Then, create the content they’re looking for based on the data you have collected.  You will be able to influence their behavior only after you’ve pinpointed their interests, pain-points and problems.

Write well and often.
Once you’ve established a habit of listening, get into the habit of creating content, and lots of it.  Prolific content creators have the best success in influencing people because they demonstrate an understanding of the public’s need for fresh, updated and timely information.  Publishing on a regular basis makes you the go-to source for useful information about your topic.

And of course, publishing new content scores big with the search engines, too.

What kind of content influences?  While information resonates differently with each individual, authority content is always a winner.  Authority content is based on specific knowledge, willingness to research and a passion for the subject that shows readers you know and care about it.  What specific knowledge do you and your team have?  You can lift your content above the rest by focusing on this knowledge and sharing it with others.

Create an editorial calendar that includes regular blogs, monthly white papers and quarterly eBooks (for example).  Be active on social media.  Establish your authority!

Learn from the masters.
Want to win friends and influence people?  Follow other thought leaders in your industry, check out your competition (follow them on Twitter, link to them, and check out their other social media channels), see what the other experts in your field are talking about and what they’re doing to grow their business.   Invite the experts to participate in discussions, interview them, and pick their brains.  Put the information you learn from them in your blog posts and articles.  By compiling the ideas, solutions and thoughts of others who are already influential, you position yourself to be the resource that people come to for answers.

Influential content doesn’t create itself.  If you’re a Denver business looking for content solutions, consider an Internet marketing service that gives you the tools to make it happen.  It’s one of the best ways to harness the awesome power of content and to earn your company a larger share of its market.

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