There are two facts that are zooming toward business owners that most are ignoring.
Fact one: One-to-many, top-down marketing and advertising are not as effective as one-to-one contact. The latter is made possible thanks to existing and emerging technology, and its overlap with real-life social circles.
Fact two: Copyright is evolving — for the better, and for greater reach.
Business owners who are ignorant of these facts will be surprised when the “big bus of reality” crushes their best-laid, “traditional marketing” plans.
So, what works? What is most effective, when you have a limited amount of money to spend on marketing, advertising, and lead generation?
There are two solutions. First, create meaningful content. Second, create content that can be freely shared without violating copyright.
Content, Content, Content
The new reality is that you must compete using content. People search for information that solves problems. So, you need to create useful content. What do people want to read about?
As blogger Aarin Elizabeth writes:
It kills me when I see a poor realtor’s face on some bus bench knowing that [traditional advertising is dead]. All the money he spent on that billboard should have gone to hire writers and SEO experts. If he had just written a few optimized articles about the status quo of real estate in his town, targeted customers would have found him instantly online, cash in hand, now and years to come.
At SixEstate, we advocate Newsblogging, a process that provides useful content for your audience. An added benefit for business owners is that a Newsblog gives you ownership of content available for use in any other formats, too. This is necessary if you’re executing a content marketing plan.
Aarin later writes:
Just like commercials have taken the path of the dodo bird, a stingy copyright mentality is destined for the same fate.
Copyright is shifting positively thanks to the work of Creative Commons, which aims to make copyright accessible for all and open what otherwise blocks creative innovation.
Our process appropriately credits and links back to image content creators, building a personal brand platform of sharable work. Contributing writers are paid a competitive wage to release rights to SixEstate clients. The end result is that SixEstate clients own copyright to all of their content — and enjoy the sharable flexibility crucial to content marketing efforts.
Katie McCaskey is SixEstate's content director. She tests real-world application of content marketing techniques using the specialty grocery she co-owns as a laboratory. She was Tech Editor of Chief Content Officer, 2010-2011, and contributes to the Content Marketing Institute. Connect with her on Google+ or @KatieMcCaskey.