Being Bruce -: Relationship Marketing Tip #14 - Contacts as Content

Friday, September 18, 2009

Relationship Marketing Tip #14 - Contacts as Content

Write about and promote your clients and contacts in your newsletter or e-zine, on your website or blog. By helping them directly, you'll build your relationship and help yourself.

This strategy can be very powerful for you and helpful to others, but it comes with some cautions. If your contacts are in business, they may very much appreciate your promoting their business; it's sort of like free advertising and your implied endorsement would most likely be seen as a good thing (as long as your own public image is positive).

There are some professions that regulate public mention tightly, licensed financial and investment advisors come to mind, so you might ask if it's okay before you write about someone in those fields. Possibly, though, even for those folks as long as you create the content and didn't do it at their request, it may be okay -- but check.

Another point of caution is when you write about or publish personal, non-business related content, particulary photos of people or their families. Many of us are used to freely posting photos on Facebook, blogs, and other social media but some people would rather you not post photos of them. This issue is particularly sensitive concerning posting photos of children -- many parents don't want photos of their kids on the Internet, no matter how well-intentioned the poster. Bottom line, check before posting or publishing personal photos.

If you focus just on business promotion, that is, promoting your clients' and contacts' businesses, there are many ways you can be helpful to others and it can also pay back pretty quickly.

A widely known "secret" about getting comments on your blog is to comment freely and frequently on others' blogs. Comments on blogs are significant because they increase Web rankings for by most search engines, possibly a lot more than just having links to your website or blog on others' sites. Also, if you comment on others' blogs they'll be more likely to post on yours, so you both win a little in the SEO game.

If you are going to promote others, for sure you want to mean it and provide extra content than just a company listing and web site link. For example, my good friend Star Sosa, the owner of Spectrum Art & Jewelry Gallery is a joy to write about. Star, whose given name is a wonderful slight secret, is a jewelry designer and gallery owner who holds monthly parties (oooops, I mean art events) at her gallery in the Forum Shoppes in Wilmington, NC. Star promotes the artists whose work she exhibits. While of course her efforts and business are about marketing and selling art and jewelry, Star's writing and postings ring true with appreciation for the artists themselves as well as for their work. Star is an avid athlete and enthusiastically embraces social and conventional media to communicate to the world about her gallery, her artists, and their work. Star is a poster child of positive promotion of others.

If you do promote your contacts, be sure to let them know. While that may seem like pretty blatant self-promotion, the fact is that people appreciate knowing about your mentions of them and also often would like the heads up in case someone gets in touch and mentions your writing about them. Another reality I've found is when I write about someone in a blog but make errors or mention something they'd rather not have public, it's a lot cooler if they have the chance to let me know early on about the mistake or preference so I can fix or remove it.

I do encourage that you be selective. If you promote everyone you meet and consistently go to hyperbolic levels of praise, you'll dilute the benefit.

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