Tag Archives: middle market content marketing

How to use online content marketing to increase Middle-Market deal flow

Sophisticated content about the details of the Midmarket deal making process will generate more deal flow for Middle Market advisors, according to a webinar conducted by John Carvalho, President of Divestopedia and Stone Oak Capital Inc.

The webinar, entitled The Changing World of Private Equity Deal Sourcing, notes how the Middle market deal space is extremely crowded, but that great deal sourcing practices can significantly help middle market advisors source more deals.  

Online publishing complements traditional deal flow efforts

Notably, Carvalho details the tremendous cost and effort some Mid-Market advisors are currently making to source good deals.  In some cases, this deal sourcing requires travel of up to 30 weeks a year, with spends of between $450,000 to 1 million annually.

He explains how an online strategy would make these efforts more efficient and less costly.  A sophisticated online effort that strengthens your firm’s brand awareness would sit beside other sophisticated deal flow initiatives, including a carefully defined deal focus, more interaction with M&A intermediaries, and increased targeting of companies that might sell. Importantly, Carvalho explains that if more relevant and high quality deal flow finds you from this online effort, it’s succeeding.  

Carvalho also cites industry thought leader on the subject, David Teten, who has identified 5 best practices to generating more deal flow, which are the establishment of a specialised outbound origination program, via the deployment of a dedicated business development professional, creating opportunities instead of waiting for them, targeting companies that are flashing deal signals, installing a CRM system, and leveraging social media. Also important to note: Another industry leader in advocating social media use by Mid-Market advisors, Axial, in a survey of their members, found that 89% of CEOs research potential contacts online before doing anything else.

There’s scepticism about social media in the Middle Market, but it does work

Carvalho notes that there’s a lot of scepticism about social media among Mid-Market advisors, hence they’ve been slow adaptors. He explains that there’s a perception that deal flow found online may be low quality. And that Middle-Market dealmaking is seen as a relationship business, which social media will never replace.  Efficiencies can, however, be achieved, as Carvalho explains, by initiating connections online that become conduits to deals.

As a counter to the scepticism about social media, Carvalho notes that social media should be seen simply as a distribution channel to increase outreach. He cites in particular how:

  • Social media savvy Millennials already in corporate decision-making positions are increasingly turning to social media to find Middle-Market advisors  
  • Indirect online-generated relationships can be a significant source of deal opportunities.  
  • Educational content can build brand and build investment leads.  
  • Among the top reasons companies select a Middle-Market advisor is brand recognition and the firm’s demonstrated expertise (which online content marketing can amplify).
  • The Riverside Companies have said their brand recognition helps bring in more deals.

Designing a middle market focused social media strategy

Carvalho details how there should be 4 goals for an online social media strategy for a Middle-Market advisor: Build Brand; Drive Traffic; Demonstrate Expertise; and Generate Leads.

What type of content?

There’s an appetite from the C-Suite to learn more about the deal process. The most successful forms of content involve digging deeper into topics and issues for business owners to know about before doing transactions – things beyond the superficial. Middle-Market advisory firms, therefore, can create content from their experience in dealmaking, Carvalho explains. Case studies, videos, and articles about the process can be created from this experience. But most firms don’t have staff able to do this, he details (this is where firms can work with a social media savvy writer with knowledge of the Middle Market, to help them develop and distribute content)

Which distribution channels?

Deal sourcing platforms, your firm website, third party publications, and social media sites including LinkedIn and Twitter (the two prime sources for promoting midmarket content, with YouTube becoming more popular) are ideal as distribution channels for your online content, Carvalho detailed. He also suggests the possibility of using sites not often used by mid-market advisors as a means by which to generate even more exposure.  In a workplace increasingly composed of millenials (35% of the workforce by 2020), expanding the scope of your sophisticated online presence is an important long-term strategy to consider for expanding deal flow

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

Why it’s important for professional services firms to develop thought leadership

Companies are turning to online sources of information when seeking to be educated buyers of consulting services, according to an article by Braden Kelley.  It is vital, therefore, as Mark Clemente details, for firms to seek to maintain a sophisticated online presence.

Power has shifted to the buyers of professional services

The reasons for this, as Kelley detailed, are rooted in how the internet has changed the relationship between professional services firms and their corporate clients.  He explains that in the past — information “was scarce and external knowledge was valued by the client.”  But now as information is so readily available — corporate buyers of professional services are – via their own research — amassing data and information once held by their professional advisors.

Companies have, therefore, “become less open to being sold consulting services and instead more focused on becoming buyers of consulting services”.

Thought leadership requires commitment and discipline

But as Kelley details — professional services firms are “struggling to identify and provide the content necessary to help them maintain (and possibly extend) their success in this new environment.”  He argues that professional services firm tend to under-invest in thought leadership and consequently become vulnerable to competitors who do — missing out, therefore, on the revenue that would have resulted had that thought leadership been cultivated.

He argues that the value of thought leadership and those capable of creating it and facilitating the execution of a content marketing strategy — cannot be underestimated.  And specifically — to do it well — as Carter Hostelley details — “treat your blog like it’s important” – “think like a publisher” – “make it about your target audience” – “blog often but keep quality high” — and “get other experts to contribute”.

Sophisticated thought leadership distinguishes professional services firms

With this information in mind, professional services firms can seek to distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace of competitors by a commitment to carefully cultivating the best thought leadership posture they can.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

How social media is helping legacy media reach new heights

As Lucia Moses (@lmoses) reported today in DigiDay, The Washington Post recently surpassed the New York Times in online traffic via a strategy that includes increased social media engagement efforts, including:

Facebook

“Digital news outlets today can no longer assume readers will come to them, so they need a strong social distribution strategy to reach readers where they are”, as Moses reported.

In particular, “The Post has been aggressive in distributing its content far and wide, from Facebook Instant Articles to Apple News, and its numbers reflect that”.  And “(Two viral hits in June helped make [The Post] the 20th-most-engaging publisher on Facebook, according to Newswhip.)”.

Mobile

Moses detailed how: “The Post’s total audience grew 59 percent in the past year, according to comScore. But while the desktop audience grew just 6 percent, the mobile audience nearly doubled.” [emphasis added]

Viral

“The Post’s most popular stories show a traditional newsroom balancing the demand for viral hits with hard news coverage.”

Fast-paced blogs

“The Post also has been breathing new life into its fast-paced blogs, and that effort has paid off”, as Post executive editor Martin Baron (@PostBaron) told Moses.

Lessons for the corporate and professional services sectors

Corporate and professional services would be wise to emulate the success the Washington Post has achieved via a well-thought-out social strategy.  Substantive, well-written content combined with proactive social media engagement on the best platforms will generate more traffic.

Businesses need to be online

As Stephanie Sammons has outlined in WiredAdvisor:  More business are realizing “that they need to be self-publishing to attract and retain clients in the digital age.”  “You may think of yourself as being influential,” she writes, “but if you’re not blogging in the digital age, you’re likely not going to be influencing anyone online.”

Good Content + Effective Mobile/Social Engagement are key to success

Barbara McKinney explains in an article published on exploreB2B (citing Derek Miller): “With every content marketing shooting for ways to stand out from among the competition, one simply cannot settle with mediocrity. The only way to compete is to offer something quite unique, and rich-media content is the go-to “variety” that everyone is looking for.

“Mobile is becoming the default device of choice not the laptop”, writes Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullas) on his widely read blog about social media marketing.  “This device shift will be most prevalent in emerging nations including Asia and Africa as 3 billion more people go online on mobile devices. Not tethered personal computers.”  And “mobile marketing spend is predicted to hit $65 billion by 2019 in the US alone”, Bullas outlines.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click herefor more information or to arrange a discussion.

Good writers make complex businesses easier to understand

Good writers are integral to the B2B content marketing process, writes Radha Giri (@radhagiri) in Your Story last month.  Giri’s article, entitled:  7 traits to look for in B2B content marketersoutlines how content marketing has become “the backbone of most of marketing communications”, providing business with an opportunity “to create the image of being a knowledge partner” and “earn the respect and trust of the potential buyers.”

90% of organizations now marketing with content

Giri outlines that today, according to Demand Metric, “90% of organizations now market with content.”  And Thom Forbes reported yesterday in MediaPost (@mediapost) that a recent study found “global content marketing is expanding at a double-digit rate.”

Good writers integral to content marketing

Given the increasing importance of content as a component of the marketing process means writers must be central to this process.  Giri cites F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote:  “You don’t write because you want to say something….you write because you have something to say”.

“Good content writers live by [Fitzgerald’s] mantra”, she writes, “They don’t write for the sake of writing. They write insightful, entertaining, and useful content. Their words and style are their most cherished assets. Their writing serves the reader. They put their content in context, with the use of solid data, research and facts. Their content has logic and structure, which serves to clear the confusion from readers’ minds. Even if the business is complex, good writers make it simple and easy to understand.”

Good writers possess multiple skill sets

In today’s digital economy, Giri astutely observes the multiple skill sets good content writers must possess to be effective.  They include:

  • The ability to be a good story teller (echoed by Kevin Johnson recently)
  • The ability to understand and work with complex subject matters
  • Knowledge of social media
  • They are tech savvy

Looking ahead

Organizations seeking to market with content can use Giri’s advice as a guidepost when attempting to identify a good content writer.  The skill sets required for this mission-critical role are diverse and in-depth.  And those you might select to communicate your organization’s story — should possess all of them.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.