Montgomery Business Journal

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These days, plenty of businesses have a blog on their website, but all too often, its new posts are few and far between and when the content is there, it doesn’t provide any real “take-aways.” We asked David Allred, Agency Principal and Managing Director at Stamp, an advertising agency in Montgomery, how he and his company are doing biz blogging right and why content creation is a tool every business needs to be using.

HOW CAN A BUSINESS GET STARTED?

You want to transform your position as a generalist in your work to that of a specialist. There has been a real shift to “specialist,” especially in professional service firms, but this move is also affecting retail and other industries. The first step in this process is to determine what you can be an expert at and then determine if there is enough demand for you to thrive as a specialist within that market. Think about a space where you have a body of work and a passion for that type of work. It’s important to look at your current client base to find what you’ve done the most of, and done well, so you have folks who will give you references.

EXPERT ADVICE: DO IT RIGHT:

Become a thought leader in your specialty by creating relevant content (often not about you, but presented by you). For instance, writing info-heavy articles.

Publish the content on a website that reinforces you as an expert. For example, we created a separate website, stampdestinationmarketing.com, for our work with Destination Marketing Organizations where we publish articles with information relevant to that market.

Develop a strategy to drive traffic to that website by distributing the content you’ve created for it. We’re doing that with outbound emails, and we spent months creating the right database. The main goal is to create content that is not only relevant to the audience you are trying to reach but desired by that audience. And, by using email, you can check and see if you’re succeeding by checking analytics. Finally, you want to convert the inbound traffic you generate to your website to generate new business.

EXPERT ADVICE: MAKING THE MOVE

As you begin to establish yourself as an expert, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have experience in this area. Having a passion for the type of work you are going to pursue is important too. You will do better work (and be happier in general) if you are passionate about that work. At Stamp, we’ve specialized in and positioned our team as experts for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO), like convention and visitor bureaus. We already had some large clients in this category, and we like that work, so that has become a focus, and we’re actively creating content that is of value to that audience to help us gain more DMO clients. It’s not all about new business though. Specializing also makes you more valuable to this segment of your current clients because you better understand their industry and its specific challenges, issues, etc. It also makes you more efficient, since you don’t have to learn the business of every new client in this segment. You just have to learn their specific details. It is important (and reassuring for many) to understand that pursuing the “expert” or “specialist” label and marketing your expertise DOES NOT MEAN you will immediately stop doing or selling your current offerings. Especially as you begin this process and likely for a long time, it’s not necessarily “what you will do;” it’s “what you are going to proactively say you do.”

IS “BUSINESS BLOGGING” OR DIGITAL CONTENT CREATION OF ANY KIND RELEVANT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?

Absolutely. The bottom line is that technology continues to disrupt how more and more products and services are being sourced and consumed. More people are searching for both on the internet. And with this change comes a generation of decision makers that will more easily find exactly what they need and in many cases for a better value. Getting your arms around this reality and harnessing it to your advantage vs. ignoring it will ultimately be the difference between your organization thriving or dying.

WORTH THE EFFORT:

It takes a lot of time and work to do it right. You can’t just forward articles. You need to write/create your own original content and make sure you know what audience you are writing for so your content reflects that. It may be one audience, or it may be several different ones. The process can be long, and again, it takes work, but now is the time to be proactive and get ahead of all the changes happening and coming. The longer you wait to start, the harder it will be for you to establish yourself and succeed as an expert/specialist.

OUR EXPERT:

David Allred, is the managing partner of Stamp Idea Group overseeing the marketing agency’s operations as well as participating in account planning and the firm’s business development efforts.

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