Content marketing – it really works!

The marketers

I am not a marketing guy. I am always keen on picking up new ideas of course, but I defer to others in advising businesses on marketing, and as you know, I know a lot of people who have different niches in business advice.

I write from my own experience here. There are many people who will tell you that content marketing is a real winner including some I respect greatly . I just know that it is absolutely true. The more you give your readers, the more they will be attracted.

My bit

A large chunk of my business is tax-related, and I have been dealing with tax issues for a long time. Of course experience is not all we need, and certainly I never stop learning either through general reading in my area, or because I am getting my hands dirty with a new problem.

I have been developing a particular niche in tax, which is related to property, or real estate if you prefer. I have written a number of articles which I hope are very informative to the many property investors and small-time developers out there, quite a few of which have despaired having had their pensions ruined and decided to make an effort to take control of their own destiny. That’s just like all of us, running a small business.

The tax articles do not cover every aspect of each subject of course. How could they? However they do give a lot of useful information for the lay person. Of course people may read my material and go away armed with it somewhere else. Very often, though, they will inquire as to whether I can help them, which of course I can.

The niche aspect is important. People may click through from the titles in the sidebar on this blog, and they do. Writing in a particular niche, though, does make my material available more immediately though searches on Google and the other engines. That is because people with a particular issue will be quite specific in their searches, and will be drawn to my quite specific articles.

No tricks needed?

SEO people call the niche searches the “long tail” but my take is that there is no need to think about your key words in the article itself. They will occur naturally as you write. Of course you can put in your tags etc. (I am certainly not an SEO expert), but mostly the traffic seems to be organic from the article.

You don’t have to write articles every day or even every week. You need to keep your site updated regularly and a slow stream of informative material that will interest your potential clients enough to come to you is all you need. They are already aware that you know what you are talking about and they are willing to buy that expertise. That’s great news, isn’t it?

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Thank you for the music!

I have had a very enjoyable year writing this blog and my other ones. If the truth be known, I mainly write these days because I enjoy it and because I hope the odd nugget might be useful.

I suppose I started blogging partly to raise my profile, and for the Google effect; as a marketing tool. I soon found that I enjoyed writing, unexpectedly it was good for my ego to have a voice. I also find it useful in my general thought process and even relaxing. Although the marketing matters to me, a very welcome side effect is the therapeutic value is in crystallising my thought and getting new ideas. Seth Godin has written about this.

I have learned a huge amount from others and I am sure there is a lot more to discover. We can never know enough about anything which excites us. Apart from Seth, there are others who have helped me a great deal, whether they know it or not, although I know they all set out to help. That’s what good bloggers do; it is not about selling, though any business which comes along is very welcome. I hope I am helping too.

It is difficult knowing whom to thank because some deserving people will be left out. If you feel left out, don’t worry because I do appreciate you. So aside from thanking my wife, my family, my agent and our cats I wish to pay tribute to those from whom I have learned:

Chris Brogan, and I recommend this

Jim Connolly

Su Butcher

Andrew Lock whose video blog Help! My Business Sucks makes me laugh as well as having some useful reminders

Sarah Arrow who allowed me to guest post on Birds on the Blog

You would have been disappointed if with the title above I hadn’t given you this too so as it is so appropriate:


PS. Actually I don’t have an agent yet.


Confidence in our business strategy


Photo by Peter Hires Images


I have been writing recently about making assumptions about our business and our clients which may be unwarranted. In the business process, whether we are selling goods or services, we do need to understand those who may buy from us, and what they are looking for when they do buy, whether from us or our competitors. That means that research is essential to ensure that we do know what we are talking about. Of course we will still not know what we don’t know, but the more we do know by asking the right questions, the better position we will be in to meet the expectations of our market, or to be specific, our customers and prospects, because they all have their individual needs.

So as long as we are prepared to keep testing our marketing strategy and our business approach, then we are probably doing our best, but no complacency is allowed! We should always listen to our peers and colleagues of course; it is essential. They have a collective knowledge which is a huge resource.

Of course, we may not always get the right advice, though, and sometimes our own experience may tell us more than what we hear from our friends and colleagues. Recently, someone said that blogging was not very effective in marketing. Well, I wouldn’t say that blogging should be the only marketing we do, but I know from personal experience that it works for me; it does bring in significant new business and that is a big plus for me because at the same time I really enjoy the writing.

We should always listen to advice freely offered, and often we should take paid-for professional advice on marketing and other strategies. However, if we already know that something works for us we should stick to our guns; if someone thinks it shouldn’t work they may not understand our niche. I believe in always listening but being confident in what we believe works for us. Every business is unique and needs its own strategies to take it forward.

What are your thoughts?

© Jon Stow 2010

Why employment is the other side of the fence

I was talking recently to a senior manager of a major financial institution. She is by any measure a successful person, well paid and valued by her employer. She is a person whom one would describe as a serious IT techie as well as a manager of others. She knows how things work in the virtual world.

I was explaining to her about my blogging activities; how often I do it (which is quite often as you know), how I get inspiration and how I manage to blog regularly. Of course I explained a few of the tricks; how one should take advantage of “purple patches” to write a string of posts, how I schedule posts ahead as most serious bloggers do to take off the pressure of readers’ expectation that they will hear from me if they have such expectation. At the same time I can still write about a topical matter fresh in the public domain and slip it in to the stream. This part is perhaps for another post.

The senior manager said to me “I don’t know how you have the time”. Well, firstly, it is about time management, and secondly I write for pleasure to a large extent so some of the pieces are written in my leisure time. Mainly of course, I blog for the market, which means my market, my reputation, and my networking as well as for my friends. It is about marketing to people, and if there is a Google effect, all well and good, and there generally is.

The Googleplex welcome sign

What struck me though was the difference between the perception of a senior employee, driven by the work that comes in, and someone in business on their own account who has to drive the business to make money, to take the business forward and build a future, and of course have some fun along the way. It is the difference between being reactive as an employee and proactive as a business person. It is the difference between being bound by others and being free to make our own decisions.

What do you think?

© Jon Stow 2010

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