Of all the subjects in high school, English was the one that I most got stuck into.
As someone interested in all kinds of writing, English was the subject that seemed most likely to prepare me for a career.
But not everyone felt the same way. Those whose bent was more manual, mathematical or scientific found English nothing more than a distraction to what they really wanted to do for a crust.
Nowadays, though, SME operators that did pay attention in English class are reaping the benefits as the world of ‘content marketing’ creates unprecedented opportunities to generate new business leads.
The old content marketing
Those of you who have read this blog before might know of my cynicism around content marketing. But that doubt isn’t around its effectiveness. Promoting your business by creating and distributing well-written content is a proven means of generating qualified leads.
My beef is with those that consider this a new phenomenon. Anyone who has been around business and marketing long enough will know that content marketing – originally by way of magazine articles or printed newsletters has been around since the printing press was invented.
A well-written and, in turn, distributed article about your field of endeavour has always been able to position you as an expert in your field, or as more recent business consultants would say, ‘thought leader’.
What is new though, is the quite astonishing ‘viral’ benefits the internet can now give this content.
Initially, the internet was seen as simply a good way to save on the cost of the traditional means of producing and distributing this content, namely printing and postage expenses.
But this is just the tip of the business benefit iceberg.
As illustrated below, the web weaves its magic well beyond print and postage savings.
First, by adding your article to your website, search engine robots and spiders do their thing in finding your content and bringing it to the attention of anyone searching for material of that subject matter.
This alone can bring hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to your website and, in turn, to your phone or email inbox.
Feeding your content funnel
Next, emailing that article to your list of existing and prospective customers helps promote your expertise and keeps you top of mind when they are next considering the product or service you provide. Better still is that such an email is easy for your readers to forward to others that might be interested.
Finally, using social media – in particular the Groups that reside in them – to announce, discuss and point to the article on your website really multiplies your audience well beyond those you call Friends.
Groups can contain thousands of potential customers. Starting a conversation about your topic within these groups can expose you to many of them over time, often inspiring them to contact you to assist them.
By using these techniques, this here blog for example has at times been responsible for up to 80% of my new business.
And those English classes?
So what has all of this got to do with studying English?
As it turns out, plenty.
Because all of these ‘viral’ marketing benefits stem from a well-written article (or video or podcast). And if you aren’t much of a wordsmith, you are going to need to pay a professional to do it for you.
And given the cost of running a business today, the more you can save on outsourced services like these, the more profitable you will become.
Sure, you have to find time to come up with something relatively valuable and compelling on a regular basis, but doing it yourself will save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
And as someone wise once told me, a dollar saved is a dollar gained.
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.