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A more personal approach to content marketing

One of the great advantages small businesses have over large corporations is the way their size makes a personalized customer experience so much easier to offer. Gone are the layers of bureaucracy and policies “from the home office in Milwaukee.”

So it’s surprising that many firms – large and small – overlook the personal approach in the content marketing. Large firms maintain their corporate social media accounts because, well, what else would they do? Small firms try to hide behind their company name in email campaigns in an effort to look larger.

The only businesses that go in the other direction tend to be solopreneurs, and that’s because they don’t have any choice. They’re the ones who have it right.

Your clients, even if you’re a B2B company, are people. That’s hardly news to any of us. What’s lost in the lip service paid to this idea is that people like talking to other people. That’s true in face-to-face meetings and it’s true in digital marketing interactions. Your audience would rather here from you and picture your face while they’re reading that email.

There are a number of ways you can take advantage of this, ranging from building a brand personality around a principal in the firm (particularly if that executive has established some thought leadership) to creating a much broader initiative where content is published under the bylines of as many customer-facing employees as you can draft for the effort.

The former can be more powerful in that you’re building a brand around a single personality (or small handful of personalities) that is easily identified with the firm. The downside is planning for retirement or the face of your brand leaving for a competitor.

A broader approach guards against that and, particularly in high-touch service industries, can help strengthen the overall brand tremendously. (How many professional services firms tout their people as their most powerful asset?)

And a hybrid can work even better. In this model, you publish content under the banner of a small handful of lead personalities and augment that with more personalized content from your complete staff of salespeople, marketers, project managers, and other front-line employees, each of whom puts their spin on broader themes that fit your firm’s brand.

The importance of making sure your content is consistent in staying within your brand personality is critical, but you have to give your team the leeway to make content their own and to use that content to connect with your existing and potential customers.

Next time around we’ll talk about the other side of this coin – why it’s important to think about your target audience in very personal terms.

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on Biznology.com, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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