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Content marketing efforts of course are supposed to bring target audience members to us. That works when done well. For example, approximately 80% of my traffic on this blog now comes from search engines, meaning people who are searching for related topics and they end up here.
Others come from social, the email and also direct traffic-which often includes my outbound efforts. So content marketing authentic storytelling actually has a place in outbound marketing. Let me explain via a speaking example:
- I received an email from a conference aggregate website that speaking proposals were open for a specific conference.
- The conference and location sounded interesting enough so I sent in the proposal and included links to my speaking page and related blog posts.
- They reviewed my proposal and my supporting materials-so to speak.
People reading my speaking page before they call me get a good idea that I do charge and what my topics are and what I sound like-since there are speaking videos published.
They also get an idea of what I charge and some of my related topics that can be read via blog posts. I do occasionally have conferences mention to me how much they enjoyed a particular take on a topic or how a blog post caused them to think about something in a different way.
That’s of course always appreciated and also works on the client side. Prospects read my take on certain digital marketing strategies or related thoughts and then start making the decision on whether or not they want to work with me.
Every once in a while, a prospect will say that they don’t want to work with me because my strategies or two futuristic. Of course for us to stay on the cutting-edge we have to be somewhat forward thinking. But at the same time we have to produce in the moment. Of course, being public about your strategies and thought work in your discipline helps you connect exactly with the clients and partners that you actually want to work with.
And this is not a new tactic. I have used this for a number of years, and I try to keep it relevant and update it as necessary. So yes I send people my links to blog posts and related pages when it’s relevant. Or at least I think it’s relevant.
Sometimes I include relevant links in emails when I am simply communicating with people.
“Oh that’s interesting. I just blogged about that same topic a couple weeks ago. Here’s the link if you’re interested.”
And sometimes people, not usually the person in the discussion, argue that when you share links you’re just trying to get people to your site blah blah blah, but if the content really adds additional value why not share it? I don’t actually expect people to read it in depth-especially when it’s a link to a long piece, but at least it gives them the option and shows that you care.
Another interesting thing in my opinion about this mix is that a lot of leads still come in through outbound tactics. For example, I emailed somebody who is loosely connected to me because I think they might be interested in a particular service. They already know me and I’m sending them something else to potentially read and that is the tactic that actually pushes them further down the marketing funnel.
Maybe this entire strategy is also an example of that “building it and they will come” is not a tactic that actually works. You still have to build your content empire, for lack of a better term, but there are many different ways people will find it and people will use it. Make sure to use all of the tactics to build it.
But ultimately you have to create useful content to make the inbound and outbound mix and content marketing work.