How To Use Content To Build Strong Business Relationships
Why is content king? Content is more than a free marketing tool. Your client's marketing content speaks for them and builds business relationships. Besides, in this marketing savvy world, no one wants to be directly marketed to. So, leave the direct marketing to the competitors.
Here are some ways to use content to build strong business relationships:
1. Share Information
The foundation of any business relationship is trust. Sharing information about your particular industry is one way to build a successful relationship with existing and potential clients. Think about a time when a stranger or business associate told you something that helped you grow your business. You may have trusted the person a little more because he or she didn’t have to tell you. Now, it’s your turn to help your clients do the same. You can help them tell the entire world.
Remember, this information should not include a sales pitch or product information. For instance, your clients may write about things people want to know about their industry. They can also use sharable content. Sharable content establishes them as an authority and builds relationships with readers and potential clients. Sharable media content includes:
• Posting images or videos
• How-to articles
• Breaking news
• Good news (about your industry)
Always include full disclosure. Your clients should explain who they are and what their business does at the bottom of any of your shared information. They want to establish themselves as an expert in their field.
2. Connect Through Content
Commenting on other people’s blogs, articles or forums may sound like a boring thing to do, but it works. Read some blogs, forums and message boards. This allows your clients to keep abreast of their industry and see what people are talking about.
Also, encourage your clients to build relationships with the blog owner and his or her readers. Once they're comfortable they can join the conversation. The key is to add value to the conversation. Your clients may be surprised by how many people will read the posts and comment on them. This opens the lines of communication.
3. Become a Guest Blogger
Becoming a guest blogger is different than commenting on other people’s blog posts. Commenting on blog post means you share your opinion. As a guest blogger, your clients are posting a high quality blog about a specific topic. Yes, you actually ask the blog owner to post an article on his or her site. The owner may give you a topic, but typically you come up with your own topic.
The guest blog is an avenue to build relationships. Your clients must:
• Answer all posted comments
• Keep in touch with the blog owner
4. Write Informative Content
Writing informative content requires some social listening. You read some forums, posts and social media content to find out what people are talking about regarding your industry. Write content to address those problems. This is a great way to create powerful relationships with readers and potential clients by being the expert problem solver.
Another way of writing informative content is content curation. Curation is akin like saying to your readers or clients, “Hey, check this out.” Content curation involves some research. You find the most relevant pieces on the Internet. Choose only high quality pieces. See what’s missing from the content. Did the writer fail to mention some information which would help the reader?
Your clients don’t have to write an entire article. Instead, they can add a couple of sentences. They want to show off their knowledge. This is better than just linking to content. Make sure to always cite sources of the content. Yes, if you find something the competitor did right, a mention is appropriate. It doesn’t mean your clients are promoting them. They are just keeping abreast of what they are doing.
Regardless of how they use marketing content, your clients are establishing their creditability. They are building a positive reputation online with people they don’t know and can’t talk to face-to-face in many cases. The more your client's name becomes associated with industry news, helpful information or shareable content, the more they become an expert. This momentum definitely builds successful business relationships.
Building successful business relationships isn’t an unreachable goal in a global market. It takes a little more writing than talking or traditional marketing. Think of content as networking during one of the largest office parties. No pressure. This is the fun part of building a successful business relationship.