In 2009 Michael Stelzner (@mike_stelzner) decided to run an experiment. He wanted to see if he could repeat his previous success in a new industry. That experiment led to the launch of Social Media Examiner in October of that same year. Michael had been well known in the whitepaper industry and joked “I went from the king of whitepapers to the joker of social media.”
I really appreciated Michael’s insight into today’s customers and the need for change in an industry that is constantly evolving. Below I’ve provided some highlights from what I learned from Michael Stelzner at the 2012 Online Marketing Summit.
In the World of Marketing Change is Essential
As industries advance, ideas begin to expand, products morph, and customers move on. With this change comes a series of questions:
- Will my business survive?
- Have I set the right trajectory?
- What is coming?
- Am I ready?
In the rapidly evolving Social Media Marketing industry there is one thing that is constant that business often overlook. People are the constant; at their core people don’t change. They will always be looking for great insight, access to great people, and recognition. If you can keep focused on people and their desires then half of your mission, as a content marketer is complete.
What is Wrong with Marketing Today?
One of the analogies that Stelzner shared is that we often treat our customers like fish. In order to better target these customers we must create better offerings and promotions than our competitors in order to get our customers to bite. Marketers should also keep the following tips in mind when creating a content strategy:
- Don’t focus strictly on yourself, products and services
- Instead shine the spotlight on others such as outside experts or successful peers
- When you lift others up, they’ll return the favor
Channel Overload Syndrome
As customers receive marketing messages from multiple sources on a daily basis they begin to tune out and seek a sense of refuge from the marketing bombardment. If you are able to create a sense of trust between your company and your customers it is one of the biggest assets that you have working for you.
Customers as a rule will typically distrust companies. If you can manage to solve your customers initial problems at no cost you open up the possibility that they will look to you to solve their larger issues which could lead to increased revenue for your organization.
What is the Formula for Growth?
According to Stelzner the formula for a great and engaging marketing plan is:
Great Content + People – Marketing Messages = Growth
- Great content is that stuff that everyone wants.
- Other people, means it’s designed not for your purposes but for others.
- When you throw your marketing messages out the window completely in relation to content marketing you can grow quickly.
Creating Great Content
Instead of investing your marketing dollars in ad space consider investing in the creation of quality content. That content will include personal experience and gathering information about topics customers care about, and identifying where they are spending time looking for answers. Stelzner also identified two types of content that marketers should be creating which includes:
Primary Content: The type of content that people consume on a daily basis that brings them back for more on a regular basis.
Nuclear Content: This type of content is harder to produce and includes things like industry reports and contests. Nuclear content can have a larger impact and draws people to your organization and can get you noticed as an industry leader.
What Have We Learned?
There are many elements to creating a great content marketing plan. First and foremost we must always remember who this content is for, what their preferences are, and what problems we are trying to help our audience solve. I also really enjoyed hearing Stelzner’s take on different types of content, when to create them, and the anticipated results when executed properly. What are your thoughts on adding “primary” and “nuclear” content to your online marketing strategy?
Be sure to tune in this afternoon to Social Media Examiner’s Small Business Summit with Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, Joe Pulizzi from Junta42, Brian Clark from Copyblogger Media and TopRank CEO Lee Odden as they discuss blogging and small business success.