One of the most common conversations we have with our clients is on this question:
How can I write this content piece in a way that is educational but also kinda promotes us?
The short answer is: any content that is actually educational for your readers will kinda promote you.
While it won’t directly promote your service, if the content offers actionable insight, it will elevate your thought leadership which, in turn, puts your business in a positive light and can result in real leads.
The conundrum is one of creating a content strategy that balances thought leadership such as educational blogs and industry analysis with content that promotes your products or services outright.
The latter is quantifiable: it’s easy to count and track how many directly promotional content pieces you publish.
It’s not so easy to quantify how educational content aimed at bolstering thought leadership benefits your business. Although, 37% of business decision-makers and 41% of C-suite executives said they invited an organization to an RFP after seeing its thought leadership, according to this research.
So, as a telecom marketing manager, how do you balance the need to educate your audience for thought leadership’s sake, and the desire to make your services front and center?
One way to think about how to approach this line is to consider what you like reading.
Are you disappointed when you’re reading a LinkedIn post that starts off relevant to you and then quickly devolves into a promo for the publisher’s business?
As the digital savviness of the online/social world grows, so do the discerning eyes of readers across B2B content. They are increasingly put off of content that is ill-disguised as educational when it is full of company product mentions or peppered with nudges to sponsored services.
You don’t like when promotional content is thinly masked as informative. So don’t put your audience through it.
Just because a blog or content piece isn’t directly related to your services doesn’t mean it won’t be valuable and informative for your readers.
The most successful brand is the one that encompasses a broad scope of topics in its content strategy because the more topics on which you write, the more readers you reach.
Let’s say you’re a company that sells SD-WAN, and you’re in the “MPLS-killer” camp. Even though you don’t want to promote content on MPLS (unless it’s something about how it’s dying), it is still a topic that leads readers to SD-WAN. Recognize that many readers are still interested in MPLS, and may be led to your services through Googling the current state of MPLS.
Be open to creating content on technologies or topics that surround your primary services to draw in readers who may end up exploring your site once they’ve found what’s relevant to them. It won’t be promoting SD-WAN directly, but it will attract an audience through a different avenue that could develop an interest in SD-WAN.
Distinguish by content type.
There is a time and a place for self-promo stuff in telecom marketing. Some content is ready-made for promotional value, such as:
- Case studies
- Landing pages
Some content can straddle the line:
- Infographics (rarely)
And some content should never be promotional:
- White papers
- Research reports
This last category is perhaps the most important because, even if your promotional items are more educational, that’s better than turning off readers who expect purely informative content and get ads instead.
Want to refine your content strategy for a more sophisticated approach to thought leadership in telecom marketing? Get in touch with us today.