Making your customer the star: Using interviews for content marketing Part 3

Photo Credit: edenpictures via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: edenpictures via Compfight cc

In this final installment of my series of posts about using customer interviews or profiles (see part 1 and part 2), I’ll discuss using this content to maximum effect.

There’s no shortage of ways to use this content in your content marketing efforts.

Post it and tie to social media

The first step is to get the customer article up on your site as a searchable piece of content – either as a blog post or a stand-alone article page. By all means be sure (even if not using a blog with easy social plug-ins) to include plenty of social links to the article.

You should also encourage the interview subject or the subject’s company to make full use of these links and their own social networks. I recall doing one article that resulted in a fairly big count of social endorsements – all started when then subject of the interview used his Twitter and LinkedIn account to promote the article. A little self-promotion can go a long way. This is important too: Always include a picture of the subject whether it is blog or article post.

If posting as an article rather than a blog post, make sure the content sits on its own page – don’t “paste” it into a page of other existing copy. A new subdirectory on your site (/customer profiles/ for example) is also recommended if you’re doing a series.

The next step is to redistribute the posted article via all of your company’s social media outlets. Profiles tend to do especially well on Facebook, perhaps because of the more-personal format. Don’t just paste the link, either, on outlets like LinkedIn or Facebook — say something interesting about the profile subject in the update box before linking to it.

Email

Another key step is to distribute the profile by incorporating into existing email campaigns. There are many ways to do this:

  • For companies with existing blogs, there’s a good chance they also have an auto-generated RSS-based email promoting the most recent articles.
  • For companies that don’t have a blog promoted by email (and why don’t you?), use an existing company email to promote the interview. However, this actually is not my favorite option because adding a type of content to an existing email often means it’s an afterthought – and sometimes not highlighted well enough.
  • I fully recommend doing a single-purpose email to your company list promoting the interview. If you are committed to doing more interviews, this really justifies setting up a new email campaign promoting solely the interviews alone.

More onsite uses

None of this, of course, precludes you company from promoting these interviews/stories throughout your site in many other ways. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Have a page listing your clients? Create a sidebar promoting the profile or profiles that link to the article or blog post.
  • Have a rotating box of feature content on your home page (an increasingly popular design)? Post the interviews there too.
  • Have an FAQ about your services or product? Here too adding a sidebar promoting the article will help give what’s usually fairly sterile information some personality.

Sales collateral

And finally, if you’ve really been energetic and committed to producing several of these customer interviews/profiles, you can put all of them into a well-designed PDF to use as an additional piece of sales collateral to be given or emailed to new prospects. This is not direct “word of mouth” endorsement of course, but it is akin to it – and it adds personality and color to collateral (which can be dry and impersonal).

You may find, however, that there are some intangible benefits to profiling a customer. It does act as a kind of endorsement, so expect the interview subjects company to make a lot of hay of the interview/profile. That’s all to the positive side of the ledger.

However, this does make it important when you’re choosing a profile/interview subject to be sure you are choosing someone your company does, basically, endorse.

In any event, you’ll find a lot of upside to this idea – and by adding a touch of “color” and humanity to your content marketing, you help position your company better in the eyes of potential customers.

Found Friday: 3 posts on how to use social media for branding

Branding ideasThis Friday’s “Found Friday” items are a grab bag in three areas, but they all deal with using social media to get real-world results for your company, your brand, yourself (or all three). Enjoy

9 Tips For Building, Branding and Maximizing Your Profile And Exposure on LinkedIn

This post from Stephanie Frasco on Social Media Examiner is a very thorough and concise guide on how to spruce up your LinkedIn profile to make it as friendly as possible and easy-to-find by peers, prospects, clients.

HOW TO: Get Tweetable Moments from Your Presentations

Found on Mashable, this post by HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella is another great idea from this walking research laboratory. Here Dan talks about a great way to get people to Tweet from your presentations.

Facebook Pages Become Customer Support Centers

Everyone repeat after me: Don’t blink, Facebook changes every day. And here is a short post from Mashable about a new app for Facebook from Parature that turns Facebook Pages (business accounts) into customer support centers. The new app interfaces with Facebook to create a user-friendly “Support” tab which features monitoring tools for admins. How great is that? Think this will help people remember your Facebook page? You betcha.

LinkedIn to get more Facebook-y

As reported by Mashable, LinkedIn will be rolling out new features that enhance the discussion and interaction part of LinkedIn.

Apparently it needs improvement. A new “publish” box will be included (kind of like Facebook’s top-of-page “What’s on your mind” box) and there will be “Likes” “Pass” and “Comment” features. You can also “follow” conversations and people you’re not linked to via connections too.

So you can probably see where this is going: A dash of Facebook, a dash of Twitter. The vid explains some of the new features.