Connecting the dots: Using journalistic/writing research to build relationships — and content

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Josh Boyle of Orbit Media Studios in Chicago has provided clues about a marketing approach suitable for business-to-business marketers with long sales cycles and sometimes multiple decision-makers and influencers. It is one that cuts close to the journalistic/writing mind-set (hey, that sounds a fair bit like me) but it still requires quite a bit of effort. As you might expect, in the B2B world, while sometimes major sales happen quickly, usually the process is indirect and convoluted — the steps you take to get order can trace through months and years, and your initial marketing action that helped develop the lead may seem long-gone by the time the purchase order is signed.

He made his suggestions at the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) convention in Indianapolis.

Boyle’s approach starts from the premise that if you create really powerful content for your website, you’ll enhance your business credibility and of course your search engine optimization. And that content should be material that both shows your expertise and truly answers questions relevant to your area of interest.

That’s straightforward enough, but the key to pulling things off in Boyle’s view, is your research model.

You engage with your industry partners and potential clients to interview and explain the answers. These “reach out” calls help you build your connections and relationships (people will be more likely to want to talk to you when you are researching an article rather than selling them something). And, once you write the piece and mention them in it, they are much more likely to link it to their websites and social media accounts.

The end result: You have built relationships and connections, developed your expertise reputation and because of the interest/support and links to your “answer” post, your SEO will go through the roof and you’ll of course set the stage for plenty of inbound inquiries along with the possibility of doing business with the folks you interviewed to write the story.

What questions should you answer?

“Ask yourself what is frequently asserted but never supported (by data) in my industry,” he says. “Find the missing statistic, and you’ll win the Internet for the day.”

Like most good ideas, this is simple, and rather easy to understand, but you’ll still have some work to do. Research for substantive content can take plenty of time and effort — but at least as you research, you’ll be adding to your connections and of course that means you’ll be winning the marketing battle long before the story is complete.

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