A necessary precondition for a knowledge-based economy is the existence of a market willing to purchase the knowledge being offered. Literally, nearly all activity in the knowledge-based economy can be thought of as knowledge-process outsourcing (KPO). Why? Because the market for knowledge only works if the cost or effort of developing the knowledge exceeds the cost of outsourcing. In this respect, knowledge-based economic activities provide value-added by allowing companies to off-book the fixed and variable costs associated with developing the knowledge-based services in-house.
One of the keys to becoming successful in the knowledge-based economy is to develop a reputation as a valued content or solution provider worthy of consideration when a perceived need arises for your services. In my opinion, the best strategy for accomplishing this is content marketing.
Content Marketing Defined
A good definition of content marketing is offered by Cleveland-based Junta42:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
10 Success Factors
Much like branding, building a reputation for being a value-added service provider through content marketing takes considerable time and effort. The list of success factors offered below is not exhaustive but rather merely provides a starting point for establishing your content marketing strategy.
1. Demonstrate expertise in one or more content domains (don’t be unidimensional)
2. Be prepared to dedicate the requisite time and effort to build credibility, readership and your network
3. Start with the premise that your content must provide value/utility to your target audience
4. Write for your target audience: quality of content is in the eye of the beholder
5. Understand that content providers are selected based on perceptions of expertise, qualifications, success, trust and personality. Demonstrate yours without alienating your audience.
6. Offering free services, software applications, games, etc. is a good hook as long as they’re used to build your network and/or lead list
7. Use your blog as the foundation for your other social media marketing activities
8. Develop and distribute white papers – research that is timely, informative and possesses utility but ask those downloading your research to provide basic contact information or for opt-in permission
9. Soft-sell knowledge/education/information with the long-term goal of developing business relationships
10. Foster top-of-mind awareness through multiple touch points (personalized e-mails, e-mail newsletters, social media, etc.) with the goal of becoming the go-to source for the service you’re providing
That you possess unique skills, content or expertise is assumed, as is your ability to effectively communicate and demonstrate your expertise via copy-writing, video or both. If this isn’t the case, then content marketing isn’t for you.
Keep in mind that content marketing is an inbound marketing technique. Providing free content that demonstrates your knowledge, skills and abilities serves as a magnet to build your network and attract business. Active management of the content marketing process is required.
The knowledge-based economy provides micro-enterprises with the ability to compete head-to-head with large corporations and succeed. Develop your network via content marketing and chart your own destiny.