A compelling way to differentiate your business

Product by:
Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On 17 January, 2013
Last modified:17 August, 2013

Summary:

Most firms are getting smaller returns from old-style marketing. New-style marketing requires that you be found quickly online, and the way to do this is to provide content which is relevant to your target audience and educates, informs and entertains.

Old-style marketing no longer works for today’s savvy, cynical, connected buyers. People can research online in minutes. Your products and services need to be found quickly and stand up to scrutiny. That is where marketing with valuable content matters, according to Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton in their book Valuable Content Marketing: How to Make Quality Content the Key to Your Business Success.

Valuable content is content which: educates, informs or entertains; is relevant to its target audience; tells a story that people understand; is well-produced; and is written by people who care. Valuable content can help you deliver five things that businesses need to stand out from the crowd on the Internet:

  • Getting discovered by prospective customers
  • Differentiating yourself from your competitors
  • Becoming the subject of people’s conversations and referrals
  • Being remembered when the time comes to buy; and
  • Enabling people to learn to like and trust you

So how do you go about generating and then using valuable content? The authors recommend blogging as an easy way to publish your content, supported by social media ( in particular Twitter, Linked-In and Facebook), email newsletters, search-engine optimisation, a content-rich website, e-books, video and audio. As experienced writers, the authors give plenty of useful advice on such topics as how to stop procrastinating, how to be engaging, and how to fit writing into a busy work schedule.

In my view the authors have made a compelling case for the potential marketing advantages of valuable content. The major drawback is that it takes an enormous amount of effort to create a consistent flow of valuable content. On the other hand, this is also an advantage because it creates a barrier to entry for your competitors, providing you with a valuable opportunity to differentiate your business if you are prepared to invest significant time and energy.

Most firms are getting smaller returns from old-style marketing. New-style marketing requires that you be found quickly online, and the way to do this is to provide content which is relevant to your target audience and educates, informs and entertains.

3 Comments

  1. I haven’t read the book (yet) so I’m not entirely sure about the direction the authors are coming from in terms of using content to differentiate a business.

    It’s very common in consulting, coaching etc where some kind of intangible knowledge is being sold but then it’s often a commodity. So many many people are providing so much of it.

    However I believe preparing buyers guides and consumer guides are great ways to help non-information businesses to stand out where lack of knowledge holds back the buying decision.

    • john says:

      Paul, thanks for your comment.

      It seems to me that, while it might be “common” for people to be providing “content” in terms of blogs, tweets, etc., it is quite uncommon for people to be providing valuable content. The vast majority of stuff that appears on blogs is just noise, in my opinion.

  2. Thanks very much for the review John – so glad the book has made you think.

    You are so right – this approach is not new, and as more and more people cotton on to the benefits that content marketing can bring, the more of the stuff there is out there. But if the content you produce is truly valuable to your type of customer then it will cut through the noise – whether that’s a blog article that answers their exact question, an infographic that tells the story in a new way, a Twitter stream that continues to deliver educate and inspire, the kind of guide that Paul mentions, or a video that makes them smile.

    It IS hard work, but incredibly rewarding. Producing and sharing this type of information not only gets results: it will make you better at what you do, and can also be a whole lot of fun.

    Many thanks again John.

    Sonja

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