Guest post by Lee KcKnight Jr., Vice President of Sales at RSW/US
We recently had a client come to us as they plan an internal review of their agency communications, and they asked several salient questions across categories and disciplines relating to new business.
One of those was a question I wanted to share, because agencies ask some version of it often:
“What blog post subjects seem to be getting the most traction?”
Essentially, the question usually revolves around some version of: what will really resonate with prospects?
My initial response was this: As far as topics, the seemingly cynical, but serious answer is, it doesn’t really matter what’s resonating overall, but — what’s resonating with your specific prospect audience? In other words, what’s resonating in the CPG world isn’t going to resonate in the pharma world (for the most part). So they should be focusing on thought leadership that resonates with the prospects they’re going after, regardless of what’s trending overall.
So while not really a secret, because many others have given it, here’s what I tell agencies: Write about what you know.
One word I never like to use when talking about new business is “easy”. There’s really nothing about sales that is-but, this is one area that is actually easy (relatively at least). You’re helping your clients solve challenges every day-that’s where your writing subjects need to come from.
Our Director of Marketing Communications, Miguel Trejo, also added to the conversation: Agencies should really continue speaking to what they know. Keep an eye on trends but only insofar as that helps to recontextualize their expertise.
If there is a shift in the marketplace, they should relate how that has affected their clients, how they’ve adapted to the shift to continue serving their clients, and how they see that shift affecting prospects in the future.
Timely content that comments on current events add a sense of urgency and the evergreen content provides a solid foundation that establishes the pillars of their thought leadership. This is a good approach for them to take with other “trending” topics as well.
So another “secret” (OK, this is not a secret either, but it’s where agencies often fall down) is not actually about writing content, but what happens after. Remember this: Prospects only read what’s in front of them. Writing solid thought leadership content is only half the battle, but I often see agencies stop there.
They tend to think if they write it, prospects will come to them, but unless you have a following, or you’re a known agency, that’s not the case. And thankfully, that’s another area where I’ll use the word “easy”.
Writing is the hard part, but making sure you share it, in at least 5 different ways, is the easy part. But you have to do it — post on LinkedIn and Medium, Tweet it out, include it in a biweekly newsletter, and don’t be afraid to share it again a few days later. And of course, this type of content is also an excellent reason to follow up with prospects.
Remember these two “secrets” and you’ll find thought leadership content helping, over time, to drive more new business your way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lee is the VP of Sales at RSW/US, specializing in working with marketing services firms to help drive and close new business. Lee earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky and JD from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. He began his career in the early stages of interactive healthcare marketing in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to joining RSW/US in 2007 as a New Business Director, Lee was engaged in the wholesale grocery industry, based in Cincinnati, OH, aiding wholesaler grocers on the general merchandise side with in-store marketing and logistics capabilities.