VerticalResponse Blog

Giant pencilThis article by VerticalResponse CEO and founder Janine Popick originally appeared on Inc.com.

Content is a huge driver for acquiring and keeping customers these days, especially in the B2B world. The ability to be a thought leader, write or shoot a video and get it out to the shareable world is all businesses are thinking about. The more content you publish, the more you help your customers, the more the search engines will pick you up and in the end, hopefully the more business you’ll get.

At VerticalResponse, we publish a lot of content. We do this even though I didn’t go to school for writing and neither did many people on my team who produce fabulous marketing guides about using PR, email marketing and even social media to help businesses grow. What I do know is that we get thousands of downloads per month for all of our great content, and the opportunity to engage with people who are interested in what we say.

How did it begin? I started the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog for Small Businesses back in 2005 after I attended a Blogging for Business conference and got inspired. I was a little nervous because I really wanted to “write like I speak” and every marketing tip had told me that being uberly professional is how one should write. One of my first posts was titled “How Often Should You Email?“and one of the paragraphs read:

Over-mailing your recipients is a very effective way to … hello … lose subscribers! An annoyed recipient is one step away from becoming an unsubscribe and you really don’t want to alienate your subscribers.

It actually felt liberating to be myself and not some stodgy, tech-speak, brochure-like writer. After that, all of our marketing materials started to relax a bit, from our website to the datasheets we produce, to even our “on hold” messaging when a customer calls us.

I want our customers to do business with someone like them because that’s who we are – a small business constantly on the lookout to grow. In later years when other employees started to write for our blog, I found myself editing them quite a bit until they “learned” how to relax with their writing style. Now all of our blog contributors chill out and write exactly like they’d talk to a colleague or a customer. (I must admit I have found myself killing off a curse word here and there.)

I found our voice because I wanted to relate to our small business customers and the triumphs and tribulations they have. So, choose your own voice. Listen to how you speak to your customers and analyze if that’s reflected in how you write. And if you’ve found your company “voice,” let me know in the comments section how you did it; we’d love to hear.

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • Sarah James

    I am going to have to agree with Dominik. Producing content is super time consuming, and quite often it is so hard to find the time to do it.
    Any tips on content creation time management?

  • John

    Janine- Hi. Thank you for the insight. We are in the B2B world and find it to be a lot of work as well, while dealing with other day to day business issues. We do know it needs to be done these days in growing and established businesses.

  • Pawel Grabowski

    I think content marketing is a pet peeve for many business. And, I can see why.
    It’s time consuming
    It does not offer immediate results
    It’s resources heavy
    And lastly, there are way too many myths around content marketing that probably scare small business owners away (just like it used to be with social media 2-3 years ago).
    This I believe will slowly be changing, especially once we stop being subjected to the word MUST in relation to content marketing.
    It’s not must but should (i.e. you don’t have to post regularly, you should but it’s not a must. You can create great content once a week or so that will rank well and drive a lot of traffic to your site).

  • Dominik

    Yes, I know, you’re right.
    But it’s so much work and it’s hard for us to find the time needed!

  • Ayaz

    Hi Jannie!
    I agree with you on the point of posting content regularly but I believe that if you publishing content that is not have anything with your readers needs and requirement than that’s you have wasting your time and effort.
    To produce content atleast once in a week can do much if you produce quality and problem solving content for your readers.
    That’s not only helps you getting more business as well as ranks well you on google search engine.

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