Content Marketing Shortcuts for POS Resellers
This is part 2 of our content series “Adapt: Strong Advice for POS Resellers,” powered by Vend
If I devoted the next 1,000 words in this post to talking only about me, myself, and I, would you keep reading past this sentence? I doubt it. The primary goal of B2B content is to help the reader learn more about a topic they care about which will, in turn, make them see you as a trusted resource. Unfortunately, too many resellers only create content that is self-promotional and self-serving – or they don’t produce any content at all – losing mindshare to competitors who have cracked the content marketing code.
I understand you’re always under time and resource constraints, so your content marketing efforts often fall by the wayside. But there are ways to create quality content that will advance your sales and marketing goals without requiring you to ditch your day job to become J.K. Rowling. When planning content, also consider how you’ll get it in front of your existing and prospective merchants. An email newsletter is great for your customers because it’s easy for them to share with their network, giving you a referral channel. Other core content can be used as leave behinds when you visit a new or prospective merchant in store. Whether it’s a cheat sheet that helps make their day easier (maybe a store opening or closing checklist) or a white paper on best practices, make sure it’s useful and impactful for the merchant.
Let’s say your target audience of current customers and prospects are independent retailers. The time-consuming way to create content for them would be to stare at a blank sheet of paper and wax philosophical about the retail industry. Ugh – that would be painful to execute once or twice let alone long-term. Instead, embrace these three tactics that will put you on the fast track to quality content.
Shortcut #1: Link Journalism. That’s a modern-day term for creating a “news roundup” blog post summarizing online stories your audience cares about. Sticking with the retailer example, you can conduct a Google News search for “independent retailer” to see a collection of recent stories on that topic. Pick the two or three best, write an introductory paragraph (100-200 words), and then provide links and brief article summaries (50-75 words each) in the body of your blog post.
When I conducted that “independent retailer” news search just now, I immediately found a few on-topic stories that would make for an interesting news roundup post:
- 5 Ways Small Business Retailers Can Win Social Media via Business.com features advice on how independent retailers can connect with their customers through social media
- Ritani Launches Groundbreaking “Virtual Shelf” Technology via INSTORE details how one innovative jeweler now provides its customers a digital view into over 250,000 items
- How Retailers Are Tapping Into Mixed Use Spaces via Independent Retailer shares examples of retailers enhancing the customer experience by adding coworking spaces to their stores. (This story itself is an excellent example of link journalism.)
Legal notice: Summarize original articles and link back to them; don’t copy-and-paste any article (or significant portions of it) on your website or you will be violating the source’s copyright.
Link journalism is similar to emailing a group of like-minded friends saying, “I thought you might find this interesting.” Engage in this practice with enough frequency (2-3 times per month), and your audience will understand your company cares about the same issues they do.
Shortcut #2: Outsource. The gig economy – the growing trend of utilizing independent contractors for projects instead of hiring employees – is thriving in the content industry. Because authors can write anytime and anywhere, talented content creators around the world are available to help you generate quality blog posts, eBooks, lists, and white papers at very reasonable prices. I’ve personally used Upwork, but a Google search for “freelancer writers” will introduce you to multiple platforms that enable you to access experienced content creators who may even specialize in your industry. Additionally, you should reach out to friends and industry colleagues to ask if they know writers you could potentially partner with.
Set up an arrangement with a freelancer where you regularly share story ideas with them (via email or phone) before they conduct research and craft that information into a readable piece. In time, the writer will learn your company and industry in detail and will be able to create pieces on their own without you having to lift a finger. Understand you may have to churn through a few writers before you find the best fit, but it’s worth the investment. You’ll generate quality original content without having to budget a significant amount of cash or invest hours of administrative overhead.
Shortcut #3: Create (Then Disaggregate) Core Content. I saved this for last because I could have scared you off earlier throwing around the phrase “content disaggregation.” That’s a fancy way of saying you can maximize the impact of one central piece of content by repurposing it multiple times in different formats. For example, let’s say you hire a freelancer to create a 2,000-word white paper that you plan to email to prospects as a PDF attachment. You can then disaggregate the white paper to produce several spin-off pieces:
- Create a lead generation tool; post the white paper on your website behind a gate that requires visitors to share their name and email to access the piece
- Excerpt sections of the white paper to create two or three blog posts
- Pull key points and graphics from the white paper to create a webinar you can record and post to YouTube (and embed on your website)
- Post the slide deck from that webinar on LinkedIn’s SlideShare to gain exposure to more prospects
- Write, post, and distribute a press release that details key findings from the white paper
- Submit an article based on the white paper to your industry association(s) and/or community association(s) for them to include on their website
- Host an in-person lunch-and-learn in your community to share highlights of the content
- Pitch a content session to your local business association or regional organization where you can present your findings
- Pull key points and graphics from the white paper to create several social media posts linking back to the gated white paper (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- Create a podcast episode by recording audio of two of your employees discussing the content
- Print a one-page handout that includes the URL for the white paper
- Create a series of emails that share nuggets from the white paper
Those 12 ideas will help you generate new content essentially year-round just by repurposing portions of that one white paper. And don’t get me started if you choose to produce two, three, or dare I say four white papers in a year. You’ll have more content than you know what to do with. Once you have multiple pieces, you can start to embed the content into your existing activity to amplify their impact. If you typically obtain new customers through referrals, ask your current customers to share your content with their neighborhood. If you’re visiting merchants on-site, bring some physical copies to leave in-store and maybe even drop by neighboring stores. Helpful and interesting content can make for a more meaningful follow-up after a meeting, and an even stronger “reason to reach out” on a lead that may have gone cold.
Before you race out to execute on these ideas, I want to repeat for emphasis what I wrote in part 1 of our series: Your content will be most effective if it provides insights into issues your target audience cares about the most, challenges they’re facing, and uncovers their blind spots. Whatever form of content you create, the topic must be of paramount importance to your target audience. As they consume your content, the prospect will think to themselves, “They get it. This company understands me and my challenges. I think they can help me.”
Now go help yourself and embrace these content marketing shortcuts.
Adapt: Strong Advice for POS Resellers is powered by Vend. Used in over 25,000 stores around the world Vend is the point of sale of choice for inventory based retailers. Through our reseller program, we partner with ISOs, dealers, agents and merchant level salespeople to help our partners and merchants sell more, save more and make more. Learn more about our program.
Channel Business Advisor Jim Roddy works with high-initiative, growth-oriented point of sale VARs, ISVs, and MSPs to help them uncover their blind spots with customers, employees, and business best practices. Then he applies his 25+ years of business management experience, executive leadership, and retail IT industry expertise to help them get better. Jim can be reached at jim@JimRoddyCBA.com