Yesterday I talked about how sharing your knowledge establishes you as an authority, and why that makes good business sense – because people like to buy from suppliers they respect. Of course, ways of disseminating that information have changed over the years; you’re unlikely to be given a regular page in a trade magazine nowadays when so many issues only have about ten or twenty editorial pages. Like so much else, the way to establish that authority now is to publish it yourself. For this you’ll need a blog or an appropriate section of your website, a commitment to produce regular content, and the enthusiasm to generate some online awareness of what you’re producing. I’d recommend a simple “Q+A” format, answering one question at a time. Even if you get this ghost-written (and there are plenty of technical writers out there), it needn’t be expensive: it can comfortably be done on a regular basis for the same price as that half-page ad you’ve been thinking of stopping for ages. Credit each piece clearly to one or more real experts in the company – remember that the whole exercise is aimed at showing that your organisation is an authority in its market. And finally, resolve to generate one or two good links to each article as soon as it’s published, whether it means pulling in favours or finding good places out in that big old web which ought to link to what you’ve just written.
I won’t claim that an exercise like this is going to get you ten sales enquiries tomorrow. But the days of single-shot adverts being able to do that have all but disappeared anyway, so slow-burning initiatives which are going to produce much more in the long run are better value than they’ve ever been.