By Joanne Gore
As print professionals, we are in a unique position when it comes to content. We are (or at least should be) a part of the decision-making process when it comes to selecting stock, ink colours, finishing, and even distribution. And whether or not we are fully involved, or simply filling a job request, our expertise in print is unwavering.
But what about in the online world? More and more, companies are supplementing, and in some cases replacing, their print materials with downloadable .pdfs. And, in addition to that, organizations are generating a larger variety of content including webinars, podcasts, and promotional videos. For the purposes of this series, I will focus on B2B organizations, and the sales and marketing collateral typically produced. This includes: Datasheets/sell sheets, whitepapers, case studies and direct mail. However the core concepts can certainly apply to any business of any size.
In this first article, I will address the following question:
As print professionals, how can we add value to the production of materials that may or may not end up as ink on paper?
All companies are struggling in the current economy and being creative with their sales and marketing materials. They are trying to do the most with limited resources, budget and time. So whereas in the past you could typically count on a steady stream of printed collateral to keep the presses busy, today it is a trickle. However it is not difficult to capitalize on your expertise and educate your customers on the value of content marketing.
In its most simplistic form, content marketing literally means taking your content and marketing it. But in addition to repurposing content, it’s critical to understand the buying patterns of your potential customer. Consider these questions:
- How do they like to consume content?
- Are they looking for technical “speeds and feeds” or more of a business overview?
- Where are they at in the buying cycle?
- How long is the sales cycle?
In addition to knowing the answers for your own prospects, these are all key questions that you should be discussing with your client. Help your client understand the difference between a full-colour glossy datasheet and a straightforward whitepaper. Teach them the value of a well-printed piece, vs a cheap throwaway, and in which instances each might be used. Demonstrate how they can benefit from supplementing their online email campaigns with a print campaign. Teach them the value of strong calls-to-action that drive prospects to a landing page that has yet another clear call-to-action. Improve conversion rates by supplementing downloaded content with an additional takeaway. For example, if a prospect registers for a webinar, thank them by sending them a case study.
When you go the extra mile with your client, when you can demonstrate the value-add that you deliver, when you can show them how both print and online are worlds that need to co-exist in order to be truly successful, not only will your customer’s loyalty increase, but they will not hesitate to refer you to their network. And in turn, you now have your very own case study to market for yourself.
In part 2 of this series, I will address ways to leverage a variety of content to increase revenue. The final article will explore outlets for repurposed content.
About Joanne Gore
Joanne Gore has nearly twenty years of marketing and communications experience, including corporate and small office environments. She is a talented and creative marketing professional, always positive and able to see the big picture. She possesses the organization/prioritization skills which allow her to manage multiple projects from inception to implementation, meeting deadline demands and budgetary constraints.
A true mentor, Joanne marries her passion for marketing with clear, creative feedback and inspiration. Joanne develops lead generation and conversion programs, re-brands product lines, implements social media strategies, manages PR and media relations campaigns, overhauls websites, develops highly targeted marketing campaigns, and delivers results.
Joanne graduated as a Graphic Designer and, prior to joining the corporate world, worked in the print industry as an art director, typesetter, and printing consultant. Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.