Print and mail service providers understand they need to stay in contact with their current and future customers to keep the revenue flowing. I recommend reaching out about once a month, but that's a hard thing for most companies to manage.
Service providers don't publish as often as they should because they don't know what to say. Often they resort to overtly selling their services every time, which undermines their objective of staying top of mind. Constantly sending people only ads with no intrinsic value will cause them to stop reading the material.
The other popular approach I’ve observed is re-publishing news stories or posts from blogs, social media, or trade publications. There’s nothing wrong with this idea, but it’s nearly impossible to find enough content that is interesting or relevant to your audience. No surprise there, since the writers created the material for someone else’s followers. Besides the drawback of customers having already read the items elsewhere, relying on curated content means you aren’t connecting with your own readers like you should.
The best approach is to create your own content, aimed at your unique list of customers and prospects. Besides finding enough time to write the material, a big problem has always been deciding on topics. Coming up with something new to write about is frequently a challenge.
The inability to choose topics can cause content paralysis – a chronic condition that can last for months. Believe me, I’ve been there myself and I’ve talked with countless business owners and marketing people who have seen their brand awareness efforts falter and fail. They couldn’t come up with any ideas and before they knew it, their publishing activity ground to a halt.
Here are some suggestions for keeping you from getting stuck in the first place and a few others to help you get back on track.
PREVENT CONTENT PARALYSIS
1. Plan ahead – Spend time to make a list of topics relevant and interesting to your audience. Assign publication dates and then add reminders to your calendar, giving yourself enough time to research, write, and edit the material to meet the deadlines.
2. Serialize – By breaking content into several pieces you can cover the subject in depth. Adding a series to your content plan means you don’t have to come up with so many different topics. I find article series easier to write than independent posts.
3. Identify the main subjects you want to cover and keep writing about them. A print/mail service provider might choose mail piece design, multi-channel communications, and privacy as their themes, for example.
1. Comment on a study or survey – Find a study relevant to your audience’s interests and extract some highlights. Tell your audience about the study and why you think the points you included in your published piece are especially important.
2. Interview someone – Choose industry analysts, partners, authors, or customers. For short content like blog posts or newsletters, this doesn’t have to be an in-depth analysis, but you might use information you gather to also create longer, more comprehensive pieces. I’m all for repurposing your content.
3. Write a how-to article – These are always popular pieces, and easy to create. If you can’t write it yourself, find someone in your organization that has helpful information to share.
I’ve teamed with Mailing Systems Technology to provide you with more content creation suggestions. These ideas will help you achieve the goal of consistent and relevant content publication and keep your organization continuously in the consciousness of your customers and prospects. .
Mike Porter at PMC Content Services, a division of Print/Mail Consultants, creates custom content and individual content plans for service providers and vendors in the customer communications industry. Learn more about his services at . Follow on Twitter, or send him a connection request on .