One of the most exciting (and, let’s be honest, terrifying) things about working at an SEO agency is working on clients in completely different industries. It’s not enough to be an expert in one client industry or target market – you have to be an expert in all of them.
But that’s also the beauty of it. By developing a deep understanding of so many different industries, you’re putting yourself in a position to become a more versatile marketer overall. Pick your preferred idiom – jack-of-all-trades, wearing many hats, etc. – the idea is that you should be well-versed in as many different industries as represent your clients.
But the obvious question is: How do you become proficient enough in your clients’ industries to be able to develop quality content marketing on their behalf?
Let’s take a deep dive into client industry immersion and walk through a few examples of how you can use it to better your content marketing strategy (i.e., give your content that extra oomph):
What Is Client Industry Immersion?
In a nutshell, client industry immersion is exactly what it sounds like: Immersing yourself in your clients’ industries.
There are many different ways to do this – follow key influencers on social media, interview subject matter experts, participate in LinkedIn Groups or forums to build relationships with industry experts – but my favorite tactic is to attend tradeshows or conferences on behalf of clients to connect with people face-to-face.
Here are a few reasons why in-person events are ideal for client industry immersion:
As we all know, getting eyeballs on the content you are producing involves writing about the types of things that actually matter to your audience.
Whether you are addressing customer pain points or building content around specific questions customers are asking, you need to be sure your content speaks to your audience – instead of just throwing ideas at a wall to see what sticks.
One of the best parts about attending client tradeshows and conferences is getting to hear, first-hand, what people are talking about and presenting on. It gives you an opportunity to sit in on keynotes from industry experts, live demos, training sessions, Q&As, etc.
In other words, you get a pulse on what’s happening in your clients’ industries, which allows you to tailor your content to these specific areas.
In addition to content discovery, in-person events also allow you to build relationships with thought leaders and experts in whatever industry you are targeting. You may use the opportunity to connect with your clients (to get their feedback on key areas to pay attention to during the event), or you may reach out to industry experts outside the organization to schedule interviews, attend specific sessions, etc.
For one of our clients in the manufacturing space, we attend an annual supply chain expo to connect with their vendors and other industry leaders.
Being on the show floor is advantageous for two reasons: 1) It allows us to strengthen relationships with vendors we have worked with previously, and 2) It gives us an opportunity to connect with industry experts we may not have been able to connect with in the past (through social media, third-party outreach, etc.).
This year’s show saw record attendance – nearly 25,000 key decision-makers in virtually all manufacturing, logistics, distribution and supply chain industries! – and we came away from it with dozens of interviews with industry leaders, in addition to several new third-party blogging opportunities.
Client & Customer Feedback
As mentioned earlier, in-person events allow you to get a sense of what’s happening in your clients’ industries. More specifically, they allow you to hear directly from clients and customers on key areas of focus – information you can use to align your content marketing assets with issues of priority for your audience.
Just last week, I attended a user conference on behalf of one of our clients in weather forecasting technology. On the first of this two-day event, the agenda more or less followed what had been mapped out in advance.
On day two, however, our client adjusted the schedule to include a keynote presentation focusing specifically on the impact of cognitive analytics in weather forecasting. After hearing from their customers that this was an area they wanted to know more about, they made it a point to address questions they heard from customers the previous day.
The point is this: Knowing that cognitive analytics is an area of priority for our client and their customers allows us to develop and execute content in that area in particular.
We may live in a digital age, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve lost the ability to communicate face-to-face!
By attending client tradeshows and conferences, you can discover what types of content people want to read about, build relationships with industry leaders, and create content that speaks directly to your audience.
What has been your experience with in-person events? Have you found they’ve helped with your content marketing strategy?