How to Get More Referrals with Content Marketing [Content Marketing Podcast 222]
Find out how content marketing helps us stay on the radars of our best referral sources.
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Welcome to Episode 222 of the Content Marketing Podcast!
If you joined us for last week’s podcast, you’ll recall we welcomed Dave Mastovich of MASSolutions and The No B******t Marketing Podcast to share his insights on market segmentation for content marketers. (Need to get caught up?)
Today we look at the benefits of content marketing from a new angle — as a powerful tool in our quest to get more referrals.
Give today’s episode a listen to hear:
- Houston peeps, take note: Early bird registration for the MarTech Conference ends in just a couple of days. Who wants to join me there?
- How to grab your copy of our complimentary e-book “Ninja Secrets of B2B Blogging“
- Our latest News Feed segment:
- Facebook is testing split-screen, two-person Live Video (click here to learn more)
- Google confirms the “Fred” update — here’s what you need to know (click here to learn more)
- Content Hit of the Week: “Constant Content: The Silver Bullet for Failing Content Marketing Strategy” by Simon Penson on the Moz blog
- As Dave Mastovich told us last week, whom you market to is not whom you sell to
- Why we need to include referral sources in our target audiences
- 3 ways content marketing helps our referral initiatives
- 6 ways to make sure you stay on the radars of your best referral sources
- Tip of the Week: How to keep the buzz going on those e-books, white papers, and other long-form content resources
Please remember that this podcast is about you — your questions, your frustrations, your hopes and dreams for your content marketing program. So please take a moment to send me your feedback, questions, or comments via email, on our Facebook Page, or via Twitter.
Today’s Video Transcript
Content Marketing Podcast 222: How to Get More Referrals with Content Marketing
April 13, 2017
Hello, and welcome to the Content Marketing Podcast. This is the show where we help you grow your tribe and your bottom line through insanely good content. I am your host, Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing, and today is April 13th, 2017.
Hello, hello, or as we say in Texas, “howdy,” and thank you for joining us for today’s episode of the Content Marketing Podcast. First of all, a special invitation to my Houston peeps, on May 25 I will have the honor of presenting at MarTech Houston, a fantastic one-day conference focused on the latest marketing strategies for small and medium-sized businesses, and I would love to see you there! For more information, visit bit.ly/MARTECHHOUSTON. Early bird pricing is available but only through April 15th, which is a couple of days away so grab your spot asap.
Also a reminder This podcast is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music, so if you like what you hear, please click on over and subscribe.
I also invite you to download our complimentary e-book, “Ninja Secrets of B2B Blogging“. Download today to learn the secrets that every “B2B blogging ninja” knows and you can do that at contentmarketinggift.com.
Last week we welcomed a special guest to the show, Dave Mastovich of the No BS Marketing Podcast stopped by to share his insights on how to segment our audiences. If you happened to miss that episode, feel free to check it out on iTunes or via the RSS feed.
Today we’re talking about how content marketing can help you get more referrals for your business. But first, it’s time to check in with our News Feed for this week’s rundown of news you can use.
Well, Facebook is just blowing and going these days. More news out of Facebook headquarters: we got word that Facebook is slowly rolling out a split-screen format for two-person Live Video broadcasts.
This is currently limited to select personal profiles on Facebook’s iOS mobile app for iPhone. So again, that’s profiles only, and just a select group of those. It’s not yet available for pages, and not yet available on Android, or desktop. Select users can go live from their personal profiles and then invite one other iOS user to participate in the broadcast as he or she begins watching. So I know couple of the guys from Social Media Examiner took it for a test drive this week and that video is out, if you want to see how that works. But this is going to be terrific for things like live interviews and for co-hosted webcasts, so let’s all stay tuned and see how the rollout progresses.
Okay new out of Google, well, sort of out of Google. As you know Google is constantly updating its algorithm — hardly a day goes by when they don’t update something — but once in a while an update comes along that’s name-worthy. Yes it’s kind of like hurricanes that way, but the latest is being called “Fred,” and the experts are saying it rolled out around March 8, and actually a gentlemen from Google named Gary Illyes confirmed the update in an AMA session at the XMS West event just this week, so there has been a major update and you know how these updates work: The experts see some changes and eventually Google confirms it. So with this update some sites have been seeing as much as a 90 percent drop in traffic. Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land, which is a great resource for all these things always, you can always trust what they put out there.
In this post he says he spent an entire weekend collecting sample URLs of webmasters who claimed to have been hit by this update, who had their traffic dramatically declined and he says, “After reviewing now upward of a100 different sites, I believe this update targets low-value content sites that put revenue above helping their users.” So you know my take on that is if you are doing web content right, if you are doing content marketing right, focusing on serving your audience, you should not have anything to worry about. But if you’ve seen a drop in your traffic or if you’re otherwise concerned about the “Fred” update, I will provide the link to this Search Engine Land article in the blog post for this episode where you can get more details on that.
Content Hit of the Week:
Okay our Content Hit of the Week is “Constant Content: The Silver Bullet for Failing Content Marketing Strategy” by Simon Penson on the Moz blog — we love Moz, don’t we?
So it starts off referring to the results of a recent survey called the “State of Content Marketing Survey,” and in this survey the biggest pain point cited by respondents was, and I quote here, “Producing engaging content, consistently.” And what Simon does in this post is, he goes into what’s really behind this pain point that everyone is citing, and what we can do about it and why we have to do something about it. And I love this quote he says, “Investment in content is a waste of money if you don’t have a well-designed plan to deliver constant content.” And he goes into how we’re still — we’re marketers, right, we think in “campaign mode” and when some companies approach their content marketing they think campaign, campaign, campaign, with long periods of inactivity in between.
Well, that’s not how Content Marketing works. So he goes on to show you how to create what he calls the “Constant Content Plan.” It’s a very good read and I will of course provide the link in the blog post for this episode (https://moz.com/blog/constant-content).
Okay that’s it for this week’s update — if you stumble across something you think might be of interest to your fellow content marketers, please tweet it to me at @rachparker so that we can share.
Now it’s time for this week’s spotlight segment: How to Get More Referrals with Content Marketing
As I mentioned last week, we were delighted to welcome Dave Mastovich, who joined us for an interview on the last episode, and I love one thing that he said, that has really stuck with me, he said that remember that “whom you market to is different from whom you sell to,” and that really got me thinking about how we approach content marketing, because when we think about our audiences we want to go straight to the decision makers. To the people who can sign the checks, sign the requisition, and allocate the budget dollars, what have you, and what happens is that we tend to neglect the network of sources around the decision makers who could be influencing those decisions, and one of those groups is our preferred referral sources. And then to drive the point home, one of my buddies texted me a link to an MSNBC interview with a small business consultant, this was a gentleman named Barry Moltz, and he talked about how Content Marketing is the key to getting referrals, and it was a one minute interview, but he really, really hit the nail on the head.
So the traditional way of getting referrals is we deliver the product, we deliver the service, the client is very happy, we hit them up while they’re happy and we say “By the way I know you are delighted with the results of what we did for you, do you know anyone, or whom do you know who would also benefit from our help?”
Now is there anything wrong with that? No, absolutely not. Makes perfect sense, hit them up now, the customers happy and as my business coach tells me, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” So we definitely have to do that here’s the problem: your question is limited to a specific point in time, so what we’re doing is we’re taking a gamble that, at that very specific moment the perfect person pops up in their mind whom they can send to us, and the odds of those stars aligning are very, very small. We’re giving them a few seconds to scroll through the virtual contact list in their heads and come up with the perfect referral, again what are the odds? So they key is we’ve got to stay top of mind with these folks, we’ve got to stay on their radar, these men and women who are willing and able to send new customers our way.
So, let’s see, what do we know that can help us stay top of mind without annoying people? Hmm let me think; let me think — oh, I know, content marketing, right! That’s what content marketing is all about, and content marketing can really amp up your referral game and get more referrals for your business.
- Reason number one why it helps referrals is it speaks directly to your target market. So when those referral sources see your content rolling out week after week, month after month, they will gradually get a very clear picture of who your target market is, because sometimes people don’t refer business to us because they don’t know who our ideal client is. They don’t know if we’re serving solopreneurs or small businesses, or huge enterprises, or multinational organizations, but if they are seeing out content, then that information is slowly filtering in, and they can gradually paint a very clear picture of who you are, whom you want to work with, and that helps them get a better framework for referring clients to us.
- The second reason it helps your referral game is it reinforces the value that you deliver. So you know you are not constantly calling people — “Hey any referrals yet? How about now? How about now? How about now?” but we’re getting in front of these referral sources and reminding them of the value that we deliver to our clients and prospects. We’re reminding them of our expertise, we’re reminding them of our thought leadership, we’re reminding them why we are the go-to brand for solving this particular problem, and again every little drip is a reinforcement in their mind that helps them better refer people to us.
- And then the third reason why it helps the referral game — this is really powerful. It gives referrers something of value to share, so when they think of that perfect referral, when it pops up in their mind, or when someone asks them “Hey! Can you refer someone who can perform XYZ or deliver XYZ product or service?” instead of just saying “Oh yeah I know these folks they do a great job; here, go to their website.” Instead they can say something like this – “Oh yeah, my financial advisor wrote a great article on just what you’re talking about; let me go ahead and send it to you.” And then here’s the kicker, if that referral turns into an actual conversation with the prospect, you’ve already given him or her something of value, they already have a valuable piece of content in their hands that has come from you, and as everyone who has read Robert Cialdini’s book Influence knows, reciprocity is a powerful motivator.
So those are the main reasons why content marketing is such a valuable asset in building referrals for our businesses. So, how do we do that, how do we make sure that we stay on the radars of our referral sources?
- The first thing we can do is get those referral sources in our circles: we can ask them to follow us on social media, we can get them on our email lists, we can share content on a one-to-one basis. If there is a client that, or if there is a referral source that we’ve had several conversations with about a particular issue, we can send them links to our blog post saying, “Hey! We were talking about this issue recently, I thought you might be interested in this blog post, or this video, or this podcast episode that we just put out there.” But get those referral sources in our circles to make sure that our content is getting in front of them on a regular basis.
- The second thing, and this should be a no-brainer, make your content easy to share. Make sure that every blog post, every video, every podcast episode you have social share buttons in place. Make sure they work, I am so appalled by how many times I go to share something and the social buttons are broken, they don’t work. So make sure the social share buttons are there and a share via email button, make sure that your content is just, as my husband says “duck soup easy” to share.
- The third thing we can do is, speaking of reciprocity, we can engage with the content that our referral sources produce. So they may be publishing content on their own, they may be blogging, they may be sharing great links on social media, so we can stay on their radar by engaging with their content, by liking their Facebook posts, maybe commenting on their blog posts, and sharing things that they have out there that also resonate with our audience, and again going back to the Cialdini rule, reciprocity is a very powerful motivator. When we do nice things for them, they want to do good things for us as well.
- Think about boosting selected posts on social media, and what that’s going to do is increase your visibility. Now we all know that organic reach has taken a huge hit over the last couple of years, and you know those Facebook posts may be showing single digits in your reach. So for key posts that you think will really resonate with those referral sources, think about boosting them, think about boosting them on Facebook, maybe also on LinkedIn. I know LinkedIn is a little pricey, but if there is something that would really deliver value if you got it in front of more people, think about boosting those posts.
- Another thing we can do to stay on the radar of our referral sources is think about getting clever with, or targeting promoted content — so what if for example you did a promoted Facebook post that targeted your prime referral sources, instead of your target audience maybe, or your target market think about targeting those prime referral sources and it could be, say, a blog post that refers to one of your client success stories. Think about getting very strategic with that promoted content, and then finally make sure to include a call to action in your newsletter in all of your emails and encourage forwarding. Encourage people: “Hey! If you enjoy what you’ve read here, if you think it might be helpful please feel free to forward it,” and most email marketing systems will have an automatic link that comes up, that just says “Forward this,” and it formats the email and everything.
- Include a call to action, remind people, and you don’t want to hit them on the head with this, but remind people that you do accept referrals, and you do appreciate referrals. You know sometimes people will talk to me and say “Oh I have found a great client for you, a few months ago, but you were always talking about how busy you were so I assumed that you weren’t taking new clients.” Agh! No, I’m always happy to talk to potential new clients, so make sure that people know you’re open to speaking to any referrals that they might choose to send your way.
Okay, that is the quick and dirty rundown of how to get more referrals with your content marketing. If you have any questions or if you have your own secrets of getting referrals with content I would love to hear from you, and feel free to tweet me at @rachparker. Now it’s time for our Content Marketing Tip of the Week.
Tip of the Week
For this week’s tip, I want to share an initiative that I’m working on with a current client of mine. This client is in the technology industry and they’ve spent a tremendous amount of time, effort, and yes, money on some very meaty, in-depth custom research reports.
So they partner actually with companies like Aberdeen to conduct these research reports and the results are truly outstanding. This is tremendous research its wonderful, useful data. Now the problem is, their modus operandi has been to release the study, link to it via a blog post, so give a quick summary, and then link to it from the blog and then promote it through social media for a few weeks, and then just kind of file it away on their Resources page, and go onto the next thing.
So what I’m talking about with them is not only extending the timeframe for promoting these resources, but also being more strategic and chopping them up into more appetizer-sized content bits. So what we’re looking at, for example, taking a section of the report and turning it into an infographic, or maybe taking some specific outcomes and having one of their experts share his or her take on that outcome via video. There is an endless array of opportunities for you to take something that is very meaty, it’s very — it delivers a lot of value — and repurposing it, and when we repurpose it, of course we link back to the original source.
So if you’re creating long-form content — whether that’s research reports, white papers, e-books, training courses, whatever it is you’ve got going on — see how you can keep the buzz going by sharing appetizer-sized excerpts on a consistent basis.
OK campers, that is it for me today — hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you like what you’ve heard today, please feel free to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play Music or via our RSS feed. And if you REALLY like what you’ve heard, please leave us a quick review on iTunes.
Also, remember that my new book, The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and Win, is now available in book and Kindle format on Amazon. To learn more about the book and to snag your copy, visit contentmarketingcoachbook.com.
As you know, I always like to leave you with a quote, and today we shift from basketball to baseball in honor of the start of the MLB season. Babe Ruth once said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” Again, this is Rachel Parker with Resonance Content Marketing. Thank you again for listeningandwe will see you again next week. Take care!
Remember to snag your copy of The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN! — now available on Amazon!
- Find out how to connect and convert with content marketing.
- Learn to cut through the clutter with intelligent content that resonates with your specific target audience.
- Get the secrets for turning followers into customers … and customers into evangelists.
About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!
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