We received a number of questions during the webcast that we did not have time to answer then. So let me answer a few of them now:
Q: How do you make your content valuable and worthy when there is so much amazing competing content out there?
This cannot be adequately answered in a short reply, and an entire chapter in my forthcoming book, The Content Marketing Handbook (Racom), will be devoted to making your content stand out in our age of information overload.
One solution is to strengthen not the content, but the source. The more you are considered a recognized expert in your field, the more your readers will seek out your content and eagerly devour it.
Mediocre content tells the reader what to do. Superior content either tells the reader how to do it, or even better, does it for them.
Example: a client of mine sold paid subscription newsletters on legal topics; for instance, legal tips for landlords.
Instead of just describing how to write a good lease, they would actually do it for the reader by providing model lease clauses, which the subscribers could easily plug into their existing leases.
Here's another tip: Good content either presents a new idea (which is difficult and rare), or else, more commonly, gives you a known idea but states it in a fresh and compelling way.
If what you are saying has already been said a thousand times in pretty much the way you said it, don't publish it.
Q: Can I use free in the subject line of B-to-B email?
Yes. Extensive testing shows that, despite the existence of spam filters, using free in the subject line in fact increases click-through rates.
Reason: the depression in open rates caused when free triggers spam filters is more than offset by the list in response the word produces.
Q: What is a cost-effective way of getting people outside of your current database onto your content landing page, other than social and Web advertising?
There are at least a dozen tactics for driving traffic to any Web page including content landing pages.
One technique I have repeatedly used with success is postcards driving clicks to a personalized URLs; a recent campaign generated a 20:1 ROI.
Advertising free content offers in e-newsletters is another effective way to drive traffic to a landing page.
I ran an ad in the Target Marketing daily e-newsletter offering a free marketing e-book. In just one week, we had over a hundred content downloads at a cost of around ten dollars a lead.
Where can you find good e-zines in which to advertise? Go to the leading print magazine serving your market. These days the vast majority of magazines have supplemental e-newsletters, either daily or weekly. You will get the best ROI with those.
Rental email lists can also work for promoting free content offers. But sending an email marketing message to a rented list rarely works for direct selling.
Q: What is the most effective way to select a topic to build an information product around? What market research technique should one use?
Be an active participant in your niche markets, and you will know without having to do any market research what the hot buttons are. If you are not an active participant, ask someone who is this question: "What's keeping your prospects up nights with worry?"
Q: Do you have tips for decreasing the drop-off rate on the content landing page and getting people to actually fill out and submit the form?
The most important is this rule of thumb: the more fields you require prospects to fill in to get your content, the fewer of them that will ask for it.
Therefore, make mandatory only those fields that give you the information you absolutely need at this juncture in the sales cycle. Other fields should be optional.
Q: What free content format is best?
While there is no "best" free content offer, today free e-books are popular and working well. These e-books are downloadable PDFs.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.