The Case for Expert Content (Updated)


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Showcasing your experts to drive brand value and generate leads. In other words, boost brand awareness, brand authority, and learn about the importants of expert content marketing.

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The Case for Expert Content (Updated)

  2. 2. Organizations need to go beyond the senior leadership team and tap into their “invisible experts” – to create engaging content and provide conversational “onramps” that drive new revenues and brand value. Your experts matter more than ever. Why? The marketing landscape is rapidly changing: We are witnessing a profound shift in how prospects are buying products and services. Traditional product-oriented marketing approaches aren’t working anymore. Invisible experts cost organizations: Organizations need a home for expert content that creates a better first impression beyond the “About Us” page and corporate blog. Too many employees have content strewn across an array of social, professional and richmedia sites. It’s not easily discoverable in one online area where search engines, reporters, conference organizers and business prospects can find it. Brands are the new publishers: Organizations from Fortune 500 corporations to industry associations are investing in content marketing like never before. A recent survey by the CMO Council reported 68% of CMO’s are increasing their budgets for content marketing in 2013. These programs help create customer engagement and differentiate a brand at the earliest phases of the sales cycle. Leading organizations are quickly moving to solve this problem by creating expert content programs through online “expert centers” or speakers bureaus: Progressive organizations are investing in new ways to personify and amplify their content across all forms of media by more effectively utilizing their top experts. The result is a higher degree of market visibility, better first impressions and more efficient customer engagement that drives brand value and new revenues. Perspectives, not products, sell: To increase their industry authority and market profile, organizations are sharing their perspectives on a range of issues that provide a more strategic worldview of how their products and services relate to solving customer problems. These thought leadership strategies have become table stakes for any organization. "While marketing with original content drives more action, most companies only focus on creating blogs, videos, and whitepapers. Showcasing your experts generates additional interest from buyers in what you do and helps grow revenue." David Meerman Scott Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” -1-
  3. 3. While content marketing is now vital to success; expert-related content builds a stronger first impression and engages prospects at the critical, early stages of the sales process. Now we’re all in the publishing business As a means of generating more awareness and engagement with customers and sales prospects, most organizations are attuned to the potential value of online and social media for their marketing programs. Over 90% of business-to-business marketers use some form of content marketing (Source: Content Marketing Institute). makes buyers more intelligent and informed. Research shows that 80% of business decision makers prefer to receive company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement (Source: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.) When organizations deliver regular, consistent and valuable information to sales prospects, customers and the broader community, they are ultimately rewarded with increased business and loyalty. Looking at the bigger picture, what’s really transforming rapidly is the way customers are interacting online and how they search for information through the buying process. Customers are becoming increasingly desensitized to the more traditional “push” advertising approaches. Content marketing is being used by some of the greatest marketing organizations in the world including IBM, the Brookings Institution, Constant Contact, Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, McKinsey, John Deere and Kelly Services. It also works for small businesses. Thought leaders and marketing experts from around the world have concluded that content marketing isn’t just the future, it’s the present. An exciting approach to engaging prospects and customers, content marketing is a technique focused on creating and distributing relevant and valuable content. It’s the art of communicating with customers and prospects without direct selling. It is noninterruption marketing. Instead of pitching products or services, content marketers focus on delivering information that Simply stated, the best brands aren’t just buying media, they are becoming media. They have become publishers. -2-
  4. 4. Tapping into your expert resources provides more opportunities to create meaningful conversations in the market and puts less pressure on the senior team to carry the thought leadership agenda. So how do you stand out as a thought leader amidst a sea of content? Here’s the quick answer: tap into your invisible experts across the organization. It’s well known among PR professionals that “executive visibility programs,” or “thought leadership programs,” have the potential to generate some of the highest returns within the marketing budget. These programs create a platform for key executives to share the company vision by speaking to the media and on the podium at industry conferences. Thought leadership, at the core, is about helping executives tell a more strategic and engaging story; a unique, informed worldview on how their industry is changing and what the implications are for customers. These are the conversations that today’s customers need before they get more “transactional” with the brand. To the degree that these programs can connect the senior executive to the market at a more human level, and create personality for the brand, they drive even more value. With the arrival of social media and richmedia platforms (such as YouTube and Slideshare™), and the rapid growth of professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn (with over 200 million members), the rate in which experts across organizations are publishing content to their personal accounts is simply astounding. As David Meerman Scott, a -3- leading marketing expert and bestselling author of the “New Rules of Marketing & PR” says, “you are what you publish.” Publishing quality content that shares relevant, engaging insights is the best way to promote oneself. Invisible experts are costing organizations major opportunities for increased brand visibility, customer engagement and revenues. By not featuring subject matter experts more prominently on the website, organizations are missing a number of opportunities. First, they aren’t personalizing the online presence in a way that creates more engagement with customers. It’s often been said that, “people don’t buy from organizations— they buy from people.” The same can be said for media—they actively seek more human and personal angles for the stories they write. Second, by not having more experts sharing unique perspectives on the website, an organization loses the opportunity to generate more relevant content across more topics. It’s a simple rule of economics. With these principles in mind, leading brands are now stepping up their expert content programs to create new online resources that celebrate this layer of talent.
  5. 5. Going beyond the blog: how leading organizations feature their experts Everybody calls it something different. They are often referred to as a “speakers bureau” or “expert resource center.” Others integrate them into their media room on their website. Whatever you call it, you need an online area that provides a focal point for expertise – a system for more efficient communications with media, event organizers and business prospects. An online expert center features content that is more about perspectives and issues than it is about products. It focuses specifically on an organization’s experts and thought leaders who have a wider worldview of how the organization fits into longer-term solutions. Expert talent is everywhere in organizations - from the executive team to board and committee members and to employees at all levels of the organization. Going beyond the usual chronology of credentials often found in About Us sections of the website, or personal LinkedIn pages, an expert center provides a framework for content marketing. It helps an organization strategically focus its communications related to topics and issues that match its talent. As a resource for perspectives, an online expert center should feature an organization’s thought leaders and select content (slides, videos, books, whitepapers) that they have published. Here are some organizations that have developed an online presence for their experts: Consulting Monitor Group Communications IABC -4- Non Profit Brookings Institution. Publishing Harper Collins
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  7. 7. A well-developed site featuring experts cuts through the typical content clutter many websites have built up. It humanizes an organization and helps to build trust with an audience of reporters, event organizers and business prospects. Where’s the payoff in promoting your experts? Organizations are now waking up to the opportunities created by positioning their in-house experts across the organization as go-to resources. As thought leadership becomes more important for brands, tapping into these additional resources will become commonplace— much like the trends we saw that progressed from the world of personal blogging to more formalized corporate blogging programs. Properly executed, expert visibility programs can drive some quick wins that impact revenues. Here are some of the benefits that expert programs are delivering for organizations of all sizes: Greater Brand Value An online expert program shows you are open for business. It shows a clear commitment to thought leadership and helps establish you as an authority by connecting your experts to the issues you care about as an organization. looking for engaging speakers and expert sources. More Profitable Sales Conversations Leading organizations insert their experts into their sales process in a variety of ways, from speaking at conferences to engaging in client meetings. Experts help educate and guide prospects to make better decisions. They elevate the conversation to a more strategic level and help organizations command a premium price in the market. Increased Market Awareness Well-developed expert content substantially boosts visibility in search engines and generates leads for speaking engagements with conferences and media. It can also provide an excellent source of valuable peer-to-peer referrals. Faster Response Times With an expert content program, marketing and communications departments and outside PR agencies can centrally manage and control profiles on behalf of busy executives and ensure consistency. It allows experts and their administrative staff to respond more efficiently and much faster to timesensitive requests from event organizers and members of the media. Better First Impressions Expert content helps organizations deliver a better first impression when it features searchable assets indexed by issues and topics complete with rich-media videos and publications. Properly executed, an online expert site goes beyond a mere listing of credentials. It delivers an intuitive, more efficient experience that impresses business prospects, reporters and conference organizers who are -6-
  8. 8. Strengthen Organizational Culture The program also helps drive awareness of the company's mission and helps build a culture of thought leadership. This also pays off in helping establish better conversations with potential recruits and attracting key talent. Measurable Return on Investment Having an expert content program allows an organization to understand what topics and which experts are working best to generate new connections with media, events and business prospects. It helps identify what conversations are leading to new business. The bottom line While the landscape of marketing software tools and tactics is evolving at a fast rate, many of them require substantial investments of time, people and money. It’s therefore important that organizations focus strategically on programs that yield real value—both short and long-term—while respecting the limits of staff resources and capital budgets. Organizing experts is a low cost, high impact way to make an organization’s thought leadership marketing program more successful. As we enter this new age of content marketing, it’s not just great products that will define the new market leaders; it’s the power of their perspectives and their people. About ExpertFile™ ExpertFile is the world's first expert marketing platform built for organizations. Our publishing, search optimization (SEO), lead generation and analytics features, coupled with our unique online marketplace, helps experts connect to business prospects, media and conferences. Our clients include market leaders such as Cleveland Clinic, Constant Contact, Blackberry, Lillibridge Healthcare, Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, Canadian Public Relations Society and Dentons Law. -7-