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How to Show Your Expertise (And Not Just Tell It)

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Nowadays your business does so much more than provide a product or a service – it’s a source of industry information for your current and potential customers. And becoming a publisher allows you to effectively capitalize on this opportunity to give value and earn trust. MultiView’s director of content marketing, Sam Morton, shows you how to build a company newsroom that will tell stories in a way that earns you credibility, attracts new customers, and positions you as an leader in your industry.

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How to Show Your Expertise (And Not Just Tell It)

  1. 1. BE THE GREATEST: The 4-Step Plan To Turn Your Company Into An Industry-Leading Publisher Written By: Sam Morton Director of Content Marketing, MultiView Before Cassius Clay burst onto the scene by winning Olympic gold in 1960, the sports writing world was a well-oiled machine. Athletes came and went, and the sportswriters held the key to the way they were viewed by the mass public. After all, athletes could only get as much publicity as they were afforded by these 'gatekeepers' of the newspaper. But Clay had grander plans than being a name on page six of the newspaper. After witnessing how wrestling legend Gorgeous George cut a promo on a radio station promoting his upcoming "fight", he saw firsthand how much power there was in telling your own story. So he took that concept and ran with it. Instead of simply letting the press paint the picture of who and what he was, Clay,who later became the great Muhammad Ali, captured the hearts and minds of the world with his poetic tongue and his sharp wit. It's under this pretense that I urge every business to start telling their own stories and become their own 'greatest' publication in the world. It's time to stop thinking about your company as a simple provider of goods and services. Instead, understand the mission and value you're providing WITH those goods and services, and chart a course to deliver that value wherever your potential customers are. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 7© 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 2 B2B Connected. The 4-Step Plan You know how to do that for the people you aren't directly selling to. By becoming a resource that provides news, features and information about your industry. By understanding that the new digital atmosphere is dominated by those who earn the trust that blossoms into long-term relationships. That's the power of publishing. As the barrier of entry is disintegrating in the media industry, smart businesses -- big and small -- are leveraging the opportunity to become a trusted source of news for their audience. Let's cut a deal. I promise to try not to bore you. I promise to avoid using vague marketing buzzwords (#branding). I promise to help you actually do this thing. All I ask from you is an open mind about a concept that doesn't drive immediate sales tomorrow morning. Instead, it sets the stage for a business built to last. Deal? OK, let's get started. In the 2013 book 'The New Digital Age', Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen make the case that : "where we get our information and what sources we trust will have a profound impact on our future identities." You may be saying to yourself, "that's all well and good, but I sell commercial property insurance. I don't know how to turn my company into a publisher." You probably know what I'm about to say, but here it is anyway -- It's actually easier than you think!It's actually easier than you think!
  3. 3. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 3 B2B Connected. The 4-Step Plan Step 1: Making the Decision to Publish By now, you’re probably aware that Millennials exist and you already know you’ll need to reach them, so I’ll spare you the whole spiel about it. What I’d like to focus on is the HOW you reach them, and taking on a mindset that’s fundamentally different from the tell-people-about-your-product-and-hope-they-buy-it routine. Within the next few years, the people you need to reach aren’t interested in hearing about what your product can do for them. They want to know what YOU AND YOUR COMPANY can do for them. Any agent can sell commercial property insurance, but not all of them are keeping their customers engaged even when they don’t need that type of coverage. It’s what marketers are calling long-term brand loyalty (Buzzword. Drink.), but it’s just a fancy way of saying “playing the long game.” The new buyers will make decisions based on recommendations by their friends and influential people they follow. They want to be entertained. They want to be informed. They want to stay up-to-date. And they want virtual connections to replace the physical connections that are (unfortunately) going by the wayside in the hyper-connected world. That’s why I stress to people how important it is to become your own content machine. The dirty secret behind news is this – the reason people love watching the news, reading the news and sharing the news is because it’s entertaining and informative. So as a business that wants to remain in whatever industry you’re in, you have to entertain and educate your current and potential customers – your readership – on a regular basis. And the best way to do those things for a buyer in our B2B space is to give them news that makes them a little bit smarter than they were the day before. American Express does an outstanding job with this. With their OPEN Forum, they’ve established a publication filled with insights and advice for small business owners who want to grow. They provide daily updates and advice directly to the people who will grow the market American Express is a part of. While many of its readers may use Visa and Discover cards, American Express is more focused on pushing the entire industry forward. It only stands to reason they’ll grow as a result. With the right approach to content, you can too.
  4. 4. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 4 B2B Connected. The 4-Step Plan Step 2: Establishing Your Own Newsroom For decades, newspapers and trade magazines had a stranglehold on the ability to push editorial content out to their readership. The cost of hiring editors and reporters to cover news, events and feature stories was just one piece of the puzzle. They controlled the mass printing presses and had fine-tuned the expensive method of delivering publications directly to every doorstep and magazine rack in every town across the nation. But as we’re now firmly entrenched in the digital age, those expensive processes that kept competitors at bay have become obsolete. Now, you can establish your own newsroom with editors and reporters to cover the news most important to you and your readership right from your office. Now, most businesses don’t have room in the budget to start hiring. Some do, and if so, you should consider hiring an “editor-in-chief” with journalism experience (there’s a lot of them out there!) and working with them to set up the right structure for your new newsroom. But more than likely, you’ll have to make do with what you’ve got. That’s OK. I’m here to help you set this newsroom up on a limited budget Let’s face it – nobody knows your industry better than you and your team does. You’re the best commercial insurer in the nation and if anyone knows how earthquake insurance can keep a property owner from having their world rocked, it’s you. So use that knowledge by crafting a campaign that helps property owners understand their insurance and how it can help them. Or if there’s a way they can save money that most people don’t know about, create a video showing it off. Then, you’ll publish your content out on the social media platforms your readers are on and into their inbox in the form of a newsletter. There you have it, you’re giving the people who could use your service something they can use in their day-to-day lives, and fulfilling your newly-formed mission statement of being a trusted industry resource. You’re a publisher and a thought leader (sorry, I had to get this in here at least once) in your industry. Use the people you trust to become your reporters and produce content in-house. Expertise is everywhere in your company, so reach out to people in sales, product, marketing, your executive team or anyone else who has knowledge that would benefit your customers. They need industry news, how-to’s and actionable insights, so take control and be the source for them. If you don’t have the people, hire a company like MultiView to act as a de facto publishing agency. I could drone on and on about how our strategists can handle everything for you, but you don’t want to read that. YOU HAVE TWO OPTIONS: 2 1
  5. 5. B2B Connected Industry Newsletter © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 5 B2B Connected The Ultimate Buyers GuideB2B Connected. The 4-Step Plan Step 3: Be Conversational. Be Informative. Be Bold. Becoming a publisher isn’t just throwing some blog posts onto your website and calling it a day. That’s lazy. Truly becoming a publisher is about listening to what your audience is talking about, understanding their goals, their fears, their pain points and their stories, and becoming a go-to source of support. You already have the tools in place to do this. Your salespeople talk to and service your customers every day. They’re talking to each other on LinkedIn and Twitter. You see them at association trade shows and convention centers. Instead of pushing your product to them all the time, talk to them. Give them an in-depth and easily digestible breakdown of those new regulations that came down within the industry. Be there for them, even if it doesn’t directly benefit your bottom line. This is a crucial point that can make or break your program. If we’re diving into a publishing mindset as a means of earning trust, well, be trustworthy. Here are some ways to do that: Tell stories – The best publications in the world figured this out a long time ago. News is a requirement and you have to cover conflict, but there’s no better way to humanize anything better than a good old fashioned story. Because you know what, everybody has a story and everybody wants to hear it. Reach out to some clients and tell their stories. For example, write a blog or shoot a video about how a customer used your product to increase sales and grow their business. This positions you as a publisher, gives your current customer more exposure and shows a potential customer insight into the benefit of your products. Everybody wins! Avoid buzzwords – I’ve tried to do it here, but sometimes it’s just unavoidable. But a more appropriate mission would be to try and make your content as easy-to-digest as possible. People don’t want to slog through a post filled with #branding and #marketingobjectives. Be transparent – Be upfront about what your company is all about and put a face to the name. The readers know you’re ultimately selling something at the end of the day, but make it clear that you also have a strong interest in making them smarter and happier. Be objective – While some may disagree with me on this, I’m a huge proponent of being objective within your industry. Some associations may frown on this, but if your industry is in disarray, who else is going to report on it? Odds are, the people in the industry already know it’s in disarray. So be upfront about it while positing solutions and questions at every step. There’s no hard and fast rule that guarantees your article, white paper or video will be shared thousands of times and people will flock to your website to learn more. But if you’re committed to doing it right time after time, good results will follow. X
  6. 6. B2B Connected Industry Newsletter © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 6 B2B Connected The Ultimate Buyers GuideB2B Connected. The 4-Step Plan Step 4: Get Into Their Inbox (and Social Feeds) I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret about the publishing industry. It wasn't until the past two or three years that they figured out how important email newsletters are to their readership. For an industry that built itself on getting the news directly to your doorstep, it took them nearly 20 years after the Internet exploded to realize that your email inbox is your digital doorstep. Think about it -- you check your email every single day, and it's a vital part of your day-to-day workflow. Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn are all nice tools that you check often. Add in the fact that 72% of U.S. online adults send or receive personal emails via smartphone at least weekly and you have more evidence that your newsletter will land in their pocket or nightstand or wherever they put their smartphone. That's why we've been doing email newsletters for our association partners for the past eight years. We recognized the impact and sustained success email has as a marketing tool and we developed a product that stressed editorial content over blasted marketing promotions.
  7. 7. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 7 B2B Connected Industry NewsletterB2B Connected The Ultimate Buyers GuideB2B Connected. The 4-Step Plan We've learned that people care about who creates the content in addition to who brings it to them. That's why you hear the term "influencer" so much these days. So become an influential publisher by crafting an email newsletter stocked with original and curated content and getting into the inboxes of your email list. Investing in email doesn't mean you can ignore the social media platforms your readers spend time on. It's still a crucial element in promoting your content and getting it in front of them. Post your original and curated content to your readership every day to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and wherever else your readership may be. You don't need to use every platform, just focus on the ones you know they're on. Just remember that at the end of the day, your company needs to have a voice in every conversation that's happening within your industry, so engage with them. Tweet compliments to them, listen to their perspectives and share their breakthroughs with the world. It's really as simple as diving in there and doing it. BLOG EMAIL FACEBOOK TWITTER LINKEDIN @
  8. 8. B2B Connected Industry Newsletter © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 8 B2B Connected The Ultimate Buyers GuideB2B Connected. The 4-Step Plan So I just wrote a lot about transforming your business from just a company that sells some- thing to a publisher who provides value to your industry. If you skipped the whole thing just to read this TL,DR (too long, didn’t read) I get it. All current and former journalists have an obsession with longform, so forgive me. Take this quick recap with you and chew on it over lunch or on your commute home. The barriers of entry into the publishing world have come crumbling to the ground, making it easier than ever to control your message and provide even more value than you could just 10 years ago. I can't wait to see how many companies take advantage of that. TL,DR: The Last Word About Content Visit us at multiview.com Learn more about customer strategy today 972.402.7070 solutions@multiview.com ● Don't corner yourself into just being a company that sells things or services. Be a resource to the industry by producing or curating news that will help the industry grow. ● Tell the story of your company and your readership. People love and respond to stories, so promote your favorite customers by telling the tale of how they came to be or how their product was inspired by something that happened to them. ● Participate in the industry-wide conversation on social media and talk to your readership as if you have just as much enthusiasm and concern that they do. Favorite them, reply to them, retweet them. ● Create an email newsletter with editorial content from you or other publications and send it directly to your readership's inbox. “Create once, use many” should be your new mantra. About Sam Morton As the Director of the Content Marketing Department, Sam Morton is inspired by his passion for journalism to make every client a leading publisher of industry insights by implementing an in-depth editorial process. He also covers local Dallas/Fort Worth area sports teams as a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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