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      Digital marketing is the most effective way to grow your business. But it can be time consuming, complicated and costly. Hi, I'm Derek Little. I help  busy entrepreneurs succeed at content marketing with less time, cost and effort. Further, I feature people, trends and news about blockchain technology in my free newsletter, the Enterprise Blockchain Insider.

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    How to Succeed with Content Marketing

    Grow your business to a new level with these content marketing strategies and techniques.

    4 Ways Case Studies Help You Win More Top Clients

    January 21, 2019
    Whenever I’m asked if Case Studies help software firms win top clients, I’m reminded how they helped me acquire the third largest mass transit system in North America as a customer – in only a few days. Earlier in my career I was hired as a contract Marketing Director (and Salesperson) for a small software firm trying to attract enterprise customers. After a successful tradeshow effort, I still needed a way to generate leads throughout the year. So, I convinced our CEO to increase our marketing budget and create a modern website. My plan was to include the Case Studies I’d written. The Toronto Transit Commission contacted me only a few days after the site was launched. Not only did they make a large purchase, their decision-maker commented on how the Case Studies had helped. Now I specialize in writing case studies for technology firms. You can hear me tell the full story here. (Please Note: The previous name of my company was “Predictable Results.”) Why Case Studies are the Most Effective Sales Content Did you know case studies have an 83% completion rate compared to all others? DocSend conducted a study where they tracked 34 million interactions with content. They learned that professional case studies are the most popular type of content – by a long shot. Further, the Content Marketing Institute found they are the most effective type of content at the buying stage (see below chart). If you haven’t used Case Studies before may not understand their hidden value. This article describes four ways they help you win more top clients. 1. Standing Out From the Crowd A case study is a business-oriented “before-and-after story.” It explains how your product helped a client succeed and is read by an executive or managerial decision-maker. This is different than a use case, which is a scenario of how a product could possibly be used. A client story helps a decision-maker see how someone else has successfully used your product. Decision makers need proof and must do their own due diligence before engaging a salesperson. “Prospects are wary about any claims or promises you make. They are most interested in what your customers are willing to go on record saying about their results.” – Derek Little, CEO, Trailblazer Writing Besides acting as a record of proof, success stories let you stand out from the crowd. There are so many variables involved in a success story there’s no way someone could copy or imitate you. And since they’re written like a news story they don’t look like a marketing piece at all. 2. Engaging Your Readers’ Emotions Research shows stories are the key to persuasion. If your content doesn’t engage a readers emotions it will have little impact. Further, almost everyone today has a mobile device and a short attention span. This is why storytelling is such an effective way to sell your products and ideas. A good story synchronizes the reader’s brain with the storyteller. Storytelling activates more parts of the brain

    5 Powerful Ghostwriting Techniques to Build Your Personal Brand

    December 28, 2018
    As a leader you are constantly under pressure to perform at your best. When you write an article, a book or give a speech you could be judged on it for a long time to come. So you want to get it right. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave one of the greatest speeches ever. The words he used are some of the most inspiring words ever spoken. I’m sure you’ve heard them. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” ― John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. President What you may not know is he didn’t write these words himself. Ted Sorensen, his ghostwriter wrote them. If you’re a leader you can understand the pressure Kennedy was under to be at the top of his game. He knew he had to get it right and hired a ghostwriter to help him. It was obviously a smart decision because he inspired a nation. While his speech was only 1,366 words in length, it took months to write. As a presidential candidate Kennedy never would have had time to create it himself. Imagine how inspirational words like Kennedy’s could help you grow your business. You might even get a bit famous. But do you have time to research and craft carefully worded content? There’s nothing stopping you from hiring your own ghostwriter. It worked for Kennedy, it can work for you. Here’s how ghostwriting can help you succeed. 5 Ways Ghostwriting Can Help You Succeed The internet may have leveled the playing field for small businesses, but now you must learn how to write. Or else, hire a ghostwriter. There’s so much content on the web you’d think it was easy. It’s surprising how challenging it is, and writing is the least of the work. Most of the work in writing is thinking, re-thinking and re-writing your thoughts. Before you can begin you must decide who your audience is and your specific business goals for the piece. Here are five ways a Ghostwriter can help you get your content written and establish your authority in front of the right audience. 1. Using a Proven Writing Process Beginning writers may not realize writing is more like solving a puzzle, than writing. And it’s easy to go off track. So, experienced writers follow a sequential process. A Ghostwriter can help you manage this process and do part, or all the work. Here’s the 7-step Writing Process 10% – planning 10% – research 10% – outlining 10% – story development 15% – writing 50% – revising 5% – copy editing 2. Developing Great Content Ideas Do you feel the urge to pitch your products or services in your writing? Your product may be great, but people want information to solve their problems. Editors want original ideas that build value for their readers. There are two parts to planning great content: Your goals and your audience’s goals. Your audience wants to solve a

    5 Content Marketing Best Practices I Learned from Cold Calling

    December 21, 2018
    Frustrating, isn’t it? You struggled to succeed with content marketing. But you’re still not getting the results you hoped for. What’s happening with your content? Are people reading it? What are you doing wrong? At least with cold calling you can pick up the phone and call someone. Even if they hang up on you then you know where you stand. Old school tactics like cold calling may be stressful but they’re not all bad. In fact, I once earned $30,000 in a single month thanks to cold calling. Let me share some outbound content marketing best practices that can improve your inbound blogging. Best Practice 1 – Master Your Target Market You’d have to be crazy to call someone without knowing who they are. You’d look like a fool. When I cold called in the past I used a targeted prospect list that saved me time and made each call more effective. Further, I wrote each prospect name on a 3′ x 5′ card so I had important information about them right in front of me. It may seem obvious, but when you phone someone they know that your message is intended for them. This is not the case with blogging. While blogging lets you reach a mass audience, your prospects may not realize your blogs are for them. And your ROI could end up being worse than cold calling. Instead, start with a buyer persona. Then you can imagine you’re talking to a prospect on the phone when you create your blogs. To make your blogs even better, you could imagine they’ll hang up on you if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say. RELATED: 3 Powerful Customer Research Questions for Better Blogging Best Practice 2 – Make the Greatest Impact A cold calling script helped me stay laser focused on a prospect’s problem when I was speaking. I’d often use stories to illustrate my points and got instant feedback on what worked. And I was able to improve my script with each call. But this is difficult to do with blogging. There’s usually no feedback at all. Most content is a guess at what the audience wants. Then marketers work backwards from traffic stats to see what worked. In addition to a buyer persona, telling stories will improve your blog’s impact. Stories about your company and customers or even personal stories will make your messages more interesting. Stories are how people make sense of things. You may not get direct feedback from blog readers, but there are steps you can take to make your blogs more effective. Best Practice 3 – Follow a Repeatable Process I used my calling cards to collect customer research. This included writing down names, best times to call back and telephone extension numbers. By the end of the month I’d collected a ton of a valuable research. I used this on my follow-up calls the next month. A blog development process can help you in the same way. Collecting and curating research as

    3 Powerful Customer Research Questions for Better Blogging

    December 21, 2018
    “Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves.” ― Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute This quote by Joe Pulizzi says it all. You can only attract customers if you know what’s on their mind. If you know what compulsions drive them you can touch your prospects at the core of their being. If not, you’re missing opportunities. You need customer research. Let me share a hard lesson I learned about what happens if you don’t know your customer. Avoid This Content Marketing Mistake Early in my career I took a job in industrial sales where learned how important it is to know your customer. My job was to pitch welding products to industrial companies. My employer taught me how I should a perform a weld cost analysis and use logic to make the sale. But the prospects I met with could care less. After several months of rejection I felt like giving up. To my great relief a senior salesperson in our company decided to help out. He told me something about our customers that ended my suffering. He reached in his pocket and gave me a handful of welding caps. He said I should hand these out to prospects. Welders use the caps to keep weld spatter out of their hair while they’re welding. Since the caps get dirty fast, new ones are always in short supply. Welding managers liked to give them out as rewards and this gave them an edge for managing employees. Further, it helped welders get their work done. This simple customer insight resulted in more presentations and sales. If Your Customers Were Starring in a Movie, What Role Would Your Product Play? It’s not uncommon to see blockchain companies posting blogs that are product-centered rather than customer-centered. While the purpose of your website is to showcase your products, the purpose of your blog is to help your prospects through their buyer’s journey. RELATED: The 4 Content Marketing Types in the Buyer’s Journey As Joe Pulizzi points, people don’t care about your products. They care only about solving their problems. If your blog isn’t focused on your customer’s problems they’ll have a hard time relating. To best way to create content people care about is to use a buyer persona. This is a composite sketch of your most probable customer that can guide your copywriters to create effective content. To get started, choose your most profitable group of customers and start collecting information about them. Here are three powerful questions that can help. Keep in mind your persona will always be a work in progress. Question 1 – How can I find my most profitable customers? Demographics and Firmographics are the two most common types of business information that can help you identify prospects. Once you have this kind of information about existing customers, finding new customers will be much easier. Demographics are pieces of personal information used for marketing to consumers. They include age, gender, education
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