Talking Content Marketing – Sonja Jefferson Interview

Mark Masters
Managing Director of Bournemouth based creative marketing company, The ID Group. Helping to position businesses as the authority in their industry and providing advice, opinion and guidance for brands to be the 'go to' choice.
Mark Masters
Mark Masters
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Talking-Content

To have the opportunity to discuss content and the role it plays with one of the creators from one of this year’s truly insightful books, was always going to be an interesting chat.

Sonja Jefferson is co-author of Valuable Content Marketing, a truly valuable book from 2013 that helps others understand the importance of content in today’s world and how we can turn prospects into buyers and buyers into advocates of our businesses.

Sonja is also MD and founder of Valuable Content - a Bristol-based marketing communications firm that helps businesses win work from the web.

Our chat looked at the growing importance of content if businesses want to stand out in their marketplace.

What does content marketing mean to you?
Sonja-Jefferson-234x300In the days before the web, the word ‘content’ didn’t really exist in the same way. It has become an important word in our online world. Content is now a crucial aspect of the buying process.

Marketing with content is about providing the right type of information for your particular audience so they know, like and trust you, and remember you when the time comes to buy. If you get it right, you will win more business. It’s about creating a strong story as a starting point = one that is meaningful to those you want to do business with.

Content matters. Here’s a simple example. I was looking for a personal trainer recently and picked up two business cards from my gym. I went straight to their websites. The first  trainer was no doubt an excellent runner. The website’s emphasis is on  her running achievements. The second trainer’s website was based around a blog – he answered all the questions that I had e.g. how do you fit exercise around a busy working day. I trusted he could help me. I chose the trainer with the website that answered MY questions – the trainer with a website full of what we call ‘valuable content’.

Is content marketing about changing a mindset?

Buyers are increasingly becoming mistrusting of overt sales messages. As businesses we need to be aware of this.

When it comes to marketing, the key is to look from the customer’s perspective, understand their challenges and answer them in the information we share. It’s about building relationships in the first instance. You have to earn people’s trust before you sell. This means a change of attitude for many people.  We need to dispel the myth that marketing is about propaganda.  Here at Valuable Content we have a mantra that runs through all our customer communications: help, don’t sell; talk, don’t yell; show, don’t tell. We find that useful to keep us on track.

When it comes to your content, generosity and creativity win the day.  Give some of your knowledge away for free. This helps to ignite interest and start the conversations that can lead to sales.

How is a company recognised as ‘doing it right’?

It starts with a laser focus on your customers and their needs. Content that gets it right is customer focusednot company focused.  That’s the simple truth at the heart of good marketing. Anchoring your content efforts with a meaningful message – a consistent story that runs through all you create really helps to draw the customer’s interest and get remembered.

The points where your company goals intersect with your customers’ needs are the areas where you want to focus your content efforts.

I’d

aim for the 80:20 rule of content – that’s the balance between sales pages and ‘valuable content’ on your website (see http://www.valuablecontent.co.uk/the-8020-rule-of-content/). And I’d have a mix of what we call ‘stock and flow content’ (see http://www.valuablecontent.co.uk/stock-and-flow-content/) on the site (more heavyweight guides or whitepapers or video tips that a visitor to your site can take away + more frequent, ephemeral blog articles). It’s about creating content that helps the customer at every step of the sales process – from ‘just researching’ to ‘just about to buy’.

Doing some keyword research upfront and creating content around the real terms your type of customers are searching for is very important if you want to get found via search.

Quality wins out over quanity when it comes to getting your message heard in an increasingly noisy content-fuelled world. Design is hugely important here if you want people to engage with your message.

But ‘getting content marketing right’ doesn’t end with producing great content. You have to do the work – take it out there and promote it.  SEO, starting a permission-based email list, sharing your useful content via social media – these all really help to build awareness and engage. But the ‘old’ ways are still so important too. Sending valuable content as a way to start sales conversations has far more impact than brochures. Pointing someone to one of your relevant articles as a follow up to meeting them at a networking event works too. If you get your content right it supercharges all your sales and marketing efforts, because it’s useful.

So content marketing that works goes much wider than your website.

Is keeping with ‘tried and tested’ marketing ie. advertising, DM, with today’s technology a recipe for disaster?

‘Traditional’ communications methods still have a role to play. The ‘old’ and the ‘new’ work together as I’ve mentioned above.

What matters is that the information you share is relevant to your target audience - great DM still works if it is meaningful. PR can spread your message to a wide audience – and it’s much easier to get PR if your website is stacked with great articles already!

How important is it to be seen as an influencer?

Having a wide network of people who like your ideas is of course useful. I’m not sure what is meant by an influencer, and I’m not that keen on the word ‘thought leader’ either. I rather like this quote from web guru Chris Brogan: ‘the difference between an audience and a community is the way you face the chairs’. It’s not about being an untouchable sage. You earn influence by generously sharing great ideas and taking that message out widely.
Valuable-Content-Marketing-238x300Thanks to Sonja for her time. Valuable Content Marketing is packed full of advice, tips and knowledge on how to implement a working content marketing strategy for your company. Click here to get your hands on the book.

Why not download a FREE chapter of Valuable Content Marketing? Just click on the image of the book.

 

Comments


  1. Twitter:
    Content marketing is so vital that is why top blogs pay huge amount to writers if they can use their writing skill to communicate to the audience.
    Thanks.
    Frank Joseph recently posted..Niche Site Challenge: Building a Niche Site From Scratch (part 2)My Profile

  2. In the world of internet you must put right content on your web or blog to get more peoples comes on to visit.
    Because “Content is the King”. I totally agree with your point “Quality wins over quantity ” Thanks for discussing other important points of content marketing.
    Nikhil recently posted..MPSC 2014 Schedule Time Table Exam DateMy Profile

  3. Hello Mark,
    Good Content is what makes any blog popular. If you can provide what people are seeking for you will indeed be more successful…
    Nice interview. It was sure interesting and packed with knowledge ;)
    Babanature recently posted..Top 3 Smart Ways to Monetize Your BlogMy Profile

  4. Great piece Mark!
    I have also noticed that content marketing begins with identifying a pain and then address it. I also agree that good content alone is not enough to get you readership. You need to go out there and make noise about it.


  5. Twitter:
    Great read! Its very important to understand how the content needs to be created as she says…and what is it that the customer wants.
    Aathira recently posted..A good mobile test methodologyMy Profile


  6. Twitter:
    Nowadays customers often search for reviews and suggestions when they’re weighing up a product or service. So we should make a well-planned and well-researched content marketing strategy to generate content that resonates with our target market. Great interview with helpful information for newbie marketer.
    somon recently posted..Clash of clans for PC Download: How to install on Computer (Windows 7 / 8 / XP / Vista)My Profile

  7. Yezgani Munthali says:

    Sometimes we end up creating articles that meet certain criteria we have read from SEO experts instead of focusing on your readers. I personally feel under pressure to write articles with at least a thousand words when a 500 word article will do. From now on I will forget about what so called SEO experts say and just focus on my readers and potential readers.


  8. Twitter:
    I am currently obsessed with the concept of content marketing so this book choice sounds like something right up my alley. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Clara recently posted..Heal Your Stuffy Nose With OilMy Profile

  9. Thank you. I always wanna be as an influencers, oh well. But the way to achieve that is really need hard works and time consumes.


  10. Twitter:
    Always content is king.So content marketing is great indeed it’s the reason why some professional bloggers are paying huge amount of money for content writers who could write astonishing articles. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Nithin Upendran recently posted..Tips To Find Keywordluv/Commentluv Enabled Blogs.My Profile

  11. Thanks Mark, for sharing this with us. I learned lots of new things after reading this post. Content marketing is really plays an important role in online. This post really gonna help all the newbies on understanding the concept of content Marketing..
    Sudipto recently posted..Best Android Phone Under 7000My Profile


  12. Twitter:
    Thanks Mark for bringing this interview with us. I love to read others interview as it give me lots of ideas and experiences which help me to become a better on-line marketer.
    Mahendra recently posted..Best free Antivirus for Android 2014 list & DownloadMy Profile

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