Posted on June 22nd, 2020
In the entire ~14-year history of Aimclear, an instrumental tactic in building our own brand has been content marketing. Sure, in our integrated marketing arsenal there are tons of complex and fascinating tactics. Still, content creation remains dramatically powerful. We’ll wax nostalgic (slightly) about Aimclear’s early content marketing days in this post whilst getting to the main point: With the passing of time, some companies have deemphasized the content marketing process for various reasons- from budget concerns to the effectiveness of new ads platforms. Now is the best time ever get your content marketing on track. We’ll explain why content is more important than ever in this article, right after the nostalgic part.
<Nostalgia> Feel free to skip and get to the point.
In the beginning we were obsessed with representing our business with content. Our agency wrote like fanatics at 4AM on Sunday mornings, after conference sessions (into the night) day after day in a row. We corrected posts in the loo on our phones, wrote flying back home from Australia, Jerusalem, London, San Francisco, refined headlines on our way to New York. We proofread in taxicabs, treated images in coffee shops, ferries, published from hotel rooms and street cafes. We didn’t have time to write- too busy with clients, family, travel. We somehow made the time, as hungry professionals do.
Consistent publishing is bedrock for an established (and emergent) thought leadership program. Integrated with branding, performance marketing/PR, lead gen, personal/corporate hybrid brand building, SEO, and street cred, it’s a cornucopia of benefits. We know that content marketing is best pursued in combination with an integrated marketing/PR editorial calendar, ad hoc inspirations, news style coverage, and musings.
We officially launched our content marketing in 2007 at SES New York and immediately dove into marketing conversations of the day amongst foundational movers and shakers.
I remember sitting in my NYC Midtown hotel room, giddy, astonished that hundreds of people visited a collage of faces I’d photographed with my cell phone that SES day-new friends made, business relationships seeded, bangarang. Visitors showed up on Aimclear’s site within minutes of posting, so fun!
Our content marketing was running full bore by SMX Social, NY, 2007.
It didn’t take long to get to establish our tone and voice, clarify how we thought about things, who we are, the services we provide, and who our audiences are.
We would go on to build quite a business ourselves and help clients pull down untold success with integrated tactics, making the storied Inc. 500/5000 list 6X in row. So much of that revenue flowed from our marketing identity, largely centered on our content. There are dozens of fantastic reasons to create content, most of which result in various degrees of short- and long-term revenue – which all add up when growing a company. </Nostalgia>
These nine nodes of content creation benefit are key, among others. (As a disclaimer, as with any brand and content, you must have something powerful to say).
Public FAQs Establish Authority, Streamline Intake, & Elevate Close Rate
In the early days when Aimclear pitched accounts, we’d clarify emergent digital marketing concepts by embedding links in proposals to content written by experts at industry publications. We tracked the links in our proposals so we’d receive alerts when prospects clicked on them – often surprised by which prospects took the time to learn about the concepts mentioned. There was so much demand for our SEO, SEM, PPC, and Social Media work, that we decided to focus only on those that showed curiosity and willingness to learn the topics we linked to.
We soon realized the branding and authority benefits to writing the content ourselves, instead of highlighting content written by others. Thus the original Aimclear Blog was born as a feed for FAQs – giving us our OWN branded links for proposals.
The percentage of accounts we closed went up immediately when a prospect interacted with Aimclear content vs. third-party content. Also, we didn’t have to spend as much time closing accounts because new clients were more informed. We wrote more about processes, how to interact with such an agency. Articles were all about sharing who we are, our values, and news about the company, as well as what tactics and processes to we evangelize. Our content demystified and removed marketing barriers with visualizations and explanations of what we do. Clients reached out and said, “We want that. Can we hire you to do that!?”
Thought Leadership Roots for Pitches & Leveraged Reach
Regularly publishing content is an excellent strategy for producing mid- to long-form thought leadership pieces. Many Aimclear speaking pitches were culled from published longer form content, written by the speaker. Images are reused in conference decks. Reciprocally, sometimes content which was originated for a conference or a client email has been turned into an article for our site. The article becomes the pitch, becomes the .pptx slide, becomes the infographic, is quoted in a client email, and the repurposing list goes on. All the while your business content is firmly rooted in one place, attaining search engine rankings, broadcasting your brand and authority. Repurposing leadership in any channel centered on your website creates a lasting record of your expertise everywhere. And, you own the domain your content lives on, not an external search or social platform.
The Lights Are On & Somebody’s Home
A wise person once said, “If it looks like you’re not doing sh*t, you’re not doing sh*t.” When somebody searches for the name of your company and they encounter a steady flow of awesomeness, they will perceive that your brand is active. However if the last content published by your firm is 3 months old, barely any social posts for 4 months, then in this day and age prospective customers may think your business is dead. Nuff said.
A Natural Place for a PR Feed
For years we trained content marketers and helped install the first content feeds for some of the coolest companies. A universal worry was that there would not be enough to say. We joked that if a company can’t find one sharp thing to share every day, then they were way too boring to be successful. There are thousands of things to say, mined from what actually happens in a company every day. There are hires, announcements, congratulations, acknowledgments, accomplishments, promotions, awards, and many day to day events worth sharing at nearly every business.
Your website is the natural place to enhance the stature of your brand with a feed of happenings that reflect the real-life business flow. Remember that with categorization and subcategorization, it’s easy to be intentional with which audiences see what content – from media to customers, B2B, B2C, whatever the segmentation of messaging.
SEO & Discoverability in Organic SERPs
Over the years we’ve heard some marketers in the industry say that lead gen culled from organic brand search prominence drives questionable customer prospects. Our experience has been mixed. Often the benefit comes from prospects who discover us in other channels (like social, physical world, webinars, etc.) THEN search for our brand, perhaps with another keyword clarifier. I.E. “Aimclear psychographic targeting,” “Aimclear PR,” and “Aimclear targeting.” Prospects then read the article, fill out our contact form or ping an Aimclearian by DM in social. In this scenario, the SEO prominence can be vital to procuring the client. They totally know why they’re hiring us.
“Coverage” is the Integrated BOMB!
Starting in 2008 and through 2017, Aimclear sent teams of 2,3,4 writers to major industry events around America and the world. We used to joke, “Wanna know how to earn dozens of high value, topically focused, authoritative, media, other fantastic links, and make friends with our Aimclear audiences? Cover conferences. Social media is personal and corporate real-time journalism. Treat your website as if it’s “covering” your company and industry. Be the definitive publication on your own brand. Participate in and contribute to important conversations in your line of work. Be a a journalist, correspondent, columnist, editor, and cover topics most important for helping your audiences grow in their abilities or knowledge.
Develop Fantastic Content Stock for Full Funnel Audience Nurture & Selling
It works well to amplify content to audiences, repeatedly for nurture. Define the audiences. Feed them content, whilst asking for nothing and not overtly selling. Every third or fourth approach, it’s OK to pitch, offer, and/or pursue their subscription somehow. Include media and other influencers, past and current customers (within data rules), retarget site visitors, whatever your nurture audiences are. Articles are awesome to mix into the attribution chain, often until new brand search spawns.
Also, each individual line of a blog post can have dramatic value. There have been many times that a client hired Aimclear for integrated, paid, performance marketing – and they were unable to provide ANY creative. At the same time, they did not want us to create any new creative. SRSLY. Our first answer to this riddle was to scrape their site and other assets for any brand copy available on the Internet.
We then take every line of copy and place it on its own line. Eliminate anything that obviously sucks and then begin to file the snippets by intent, voice, concept, etc. After a little line-by-line reshuffling of word order, the process results in individual lines which can be used to make search and social ads, retargeting copy, landing pages, video captions, and other ads copy usages. We’ve found countless byte sized branding bits in our own and clients’ content. If you’re looking for language to start the ads copy process. Look no further. The answer is often in the central IP repository otherwise known as your website.
The Message is in the Medium
After we started writing, two to three posts a week, demand grew in our marketing practice to help other businesses create content. Many of the assignments Aimclear has received over the years had a lot to do with how Aimclear (the agency) marketed itself. One of our greatest pleasures is to have won a Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign at the US Search Awards for our OWN PR. LOL, too much fun. Yes, we got a good amount of similar work from attention gained from our own campaigns. When you’re a marketing agency, how you present yourself in marketing channels has a lot to do with how prospective customers (who are marketers too) perceive you.
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
In the storied history of Aimclear, a tactic most instrumental in building our own brand has been content creation. Thee is no doubt that content marketing is very beneficial to most marketing case studies. We hope you enjoyed some slightly nostalgic waxing from the early days Now is the best time ever get your content marketing on point. Consistent publishing and comprehensive content marketing will serve your business’ future in many ways.
We follow our vision with the goal of affecting the marketing universe. Sometimes we simply felt so much pride in vocation that we could not help but share.
Keep on keeping on with your writing. It surely pays.