Through hard work and careful planning, you’ve mastered content marketing to position yourself as a thought leader. Other people in your field look to you for inspiration and guidance, your blog has a devoted readership, and you build productive relationships through various social media networks. Congratulations!
But don’t rest on your laurels. You haven’t won the race yet—you just happen to be leading the pack as you pass a milepost on the road to success. If you glance over your shoulder, you’ll see your competition hot on your heels. And they’re gaining ground because they, too, have mastered online marketing.
It’s time to employ new strategies to sprint ahead. Here are some ways to increase your content marketing presence in the offline world:
- Speak at conferences and meetings. What organizations do your clients and prospects belong to? There’s a good chance they’d be interested in having you give a presentation at one of their meetings. Professional organizations of all sizes (ranging from the national Society for Human Resource Management to local chambers of commerce) are always looking for new speakers for their events. These sorts of public presentation opportunities let you network within your field, gain knowledge of use to your business, and engage with both current and potential clients.
- Write a book. In the September 18, 2012, issue of Fast Company, Ryan Holiday described books as “the ultimate new business card.” Holiday points out that experts who publish books are doing so as part of a branding process—one that can lead to speaking engagements, consulting gigs, and other opportunities that generate both income and clients. If you think publishing a book is something beyond your reach, think again. You’ve probably already written plenty of material that could form the backbone of a book: blog posts, white papers, presentations, etc. And if an established publisher doesn’t readily snap up your title, use a service such as Xlibris or Lulu to self-publish your work.
- Become a magazine contributor. Magazine articles and columns are terrific outlets for thought leaders to reach out to interested parties. Both general and specialized publications offer opportunities for you to demonstrate your expertise—and increase your personal exposure. Figure out which magazines are relevant to your field, then contact their editors and offer your services as a contributor. Whether you write a one-time article or a regular column, you’ll be connecting with people who already have some interest (after all, they’ve chosen to read a magazine on your subject) in what you have to say.
- Expand a blog post into a white paper. A white paper is a well-established tool used in marketing and sales to demonstrate the value of a particular service or product. Whereas a blog post is usually just a short treatise on a subject, a white paper offers expanded content and uses detailed facts and figures to build the case that what you have to offer is top notch. Once you write up a white paper, get it professionally laid out by a graphic designer, then use it as a mailing to follow up on a sales meeting or conversation.
- Connect with your local media. The newspaper, radio, and television journalists in your area are always looking for a good story. So why not give them one? Reach out to the reporters who cover your area of expertise and ask if they’d like to do an interview with an authority (you) in that field—or perhaps together you can brainstorm other ideas for articles or radio and television segments.
As you can see, there are plenty of offline opportunities to market yourself and your knowledge. You’ve managed to attract a diverse and engaged online audience. Now it’s time to reach out to offline communities as well. Offline interactions (either in person or via tangible assets) do a great deal to facilitate more personal connections with your audience, and through these new connections, you can augment your knowledge, your reputation—and your client base.