Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Read This Carefully: Your Competitive Advantage Is What You Give Away Free

Answer the question at the end of this post – and you could win a free copy of Launch!

In today’s highly competitive and technology-driven marketplace, leaders wonder how their businesses can stand out. On a daily basis, leaders ask their sales and marketing teams to sell and promote products and services, they ask their R&D teams to develop the latest and greatest products, they ask their finance teams to accomplish more with fewer employees and smaller budgets, and they ask their IT teams to develop systems and infrastructure to handle business objectives with smaller budgets. So, it’s not surprising that customer focus can, and does, easily get lost. But thanks to Mike Stelzner’s latest book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, the secret for standing out is easy.

Mike’s book describes the secret as the “other people” component. What he means by this term is that other people who are experts bring their insights to YOUR audience. “It’s a great way to develop relationships with people, an outstanding way to provide really interesting insights for your audience, and it’s another form of content that is written with perspectives and opinions other than your own.”

What makes this content different than everything else on your corporate website is that it is “minus marketing messages.” According to Mike, most businesses surround the content on their websites with advertising – this can include testimonials, collateral, media news, etc. Instead, Mike suggests, provide “other people” content:

  • Comprehensive how-to articles.
  • Expert interviews.
  • Reviews of books, products, and websites.
  • Case studies.
  • News stories.
  • Contrarian stories.
  • Reports based on surveys – infrequently.
  • Top 10 contests – infrequently.
  • White papers – infrequently.
  • Micro events (webinars, social media events, video broadcasts) – infrequently.

When you focus your content on helping people to solve their problems, your company will experience growth. Visitors will check out your site even if they don’t want to purchase your product or service now, but they will remember you for the value you provide. Your company’s focus shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” Soon, people think of your company and your website as THE PLACE to go for help. Who wouldn’t want an increase in web traffic?

Here are the reasons that “other people” content is so important:

  • People will become return visitors to your site to check out the latest content.
  • People will recommend your content to others.
  • People will reach out to you – unsolicited – to provide feedback and offer content.
  • You will be received as an authoritative source.
  • You will inspire deep loyalty.
  • Experts will want to work with you.
  • When you decide to decide to sell something, readers will buy – because you will have proven yourself as trustworthy and knowledgeable.

According to Mike, “The result: You no longer need to sell! Instead, you demonstrate your expertise by the content you produce, the ideas you showcase, the stories you share, and the people you attract…You can become the center of your industry, niche, or local market. And when that happens, you’re launched on an unstoppable trajectory that will take you places you never imagined possible…Everyone wants access to great insight and great people, before they want great products and services. When outstanding content is coupled with great people and decoupled from marketing messages, your business can quickly attract a larger base, more partnership opportunities, and significantly more sales.”

Want a free copy of the book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition? The person who submits the most creative response to the following question in 100 words or less will win a free copy: Mike talks about creating an “idea vault” for finding ideas for blog posts and interviews. Where do you find content for YOUR idea vault? Chime in below in the comments section with your response – and be sure to include your name and email address.

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