In June of 2013, I moved from my home of Brazil to Denmark. Unsure of my job prospects in a new country, I created a blog called Denmarkbrazil.com. I wanted to use my unique knowledge of the Brazilian market and ability to make connections between people to position myself as an expert for bridging the knowledge gap of those in Denmark interested in entering the Brazilian market.
Three years later, not only is Denmarkbrazil.com going strong, but I have also built my own company, Biassa, helping companies around the world accelerate their sales and grow their business.
Content, in its various forms, has been a critical component of the success of both DenmarkBrazil and Biassa. Content has helped us gain visibility within our industry, catch the attention of other influencers and decision makers, and most importantly, to grow our business.
Using content effectively is challenging, but when done correctly, it is incredibly powerful. Developed through trial and error, the strategies below are how I have maximized the potential of digital content to help grow my businesses.
Strategy #1: Video Interviews & Content
If you are not currently publishing video content, I highly recommend that you start. I have seen first hand just how powerful video content can be for my own businesses, and if I were to start all over again, video content would central to my digital content strategy. Below is my experience with video content, and some of the benefits I have enjoyed from it.
The Power of Video
I’ve long been convinced that video content is a powerful tool for both personal and company branding. Recently, we experienced just how powerful video content can be first hand at Biassa.
Here’s what happened: we published a video interview with the founder of a fast-growing Danish startup and e-commerce solution provider. The interview was released both on our blog — denmarkbrazil.com — as well as on my LinkedIn profile.
Overnight, the CEO and founder of a well-renowned E-commerce company in LATAM sent me a direct message on LinkedIn and invited my business partner and I to visit his new office in the U.K and have a conversation with him. We couldn’t believe it: in less than 24 hours our video interview had landed us a major business opportunity.
We left the U.K that day with what would become the most important deal of our lives until that moment.
Of course, you could say: “Carlos, this is just dumb luck!” And in a way, that is true. We were not looking to engage in a conversation directly with that particular CEO. However, we knew the potential impact and added value we were providing our audience because we tirelessly test and refine the way we develop and share our content to maximize its impact. We know our content is relevant to our network. We know we are providing the insights that potential clients are looking for. We know our content packs a punch.
I would never guarantee anyone that the CEO of a specific company will reach out to you after watching your video or reading a post you have written. But I can guarantee that the more content you publish, the greater the chances are that you catch the eye of someone important.
And with content, getting yourself in front of important and influential eyes is the ultimate goal.
Benefits of Interviewing other Professionals
Interviewing other professionals has a multitude of benefits aside from just publishing more content. An interview can provide a real boost to your business. It helps you establish important relationships, increases your network exponentially, and reach audiences you wouldn’t otherwise reach. Here are a few of the benefits I have found in publishing interviews:
Benefit # 1: Connect with Leaders on a Deeper Level
When you interview someone with the intention of showing their work or ideas to the world, you are giving yourself an opportunity to connect with another human being at a deeper level. Decision makers and leaders are often too busy to take time to reflect on their journey or bigger-picture issues not related directly to their business. Our video interviews provide them a unique sounding board and an opportunity to discuss topics that they may not have a chance to meditate on during a typical work day.
Benefit #2: Help Others Spread Their Message
Over time I’ve learned that decision makers are keen on showing what they know to the world. It is human nature: if you are working on something cool and meaningful, you want other people to know about it and be as excited about it as you are!
The issue is, it can be difficult (and costly) to get your message heard by new audiences and networks. Lacking endorsements or relationships in a network means you are far more likely to be ignored.
Through our video interviews, we have been able to offer decisions makers an easy way to share and spread their ideas to new audiences and networks they may not otherwise share their ideas with. Our network may not know the person we are interviewing, but our network knows us, and that gives our interviewee additional credibility within our network. Social validation in that way is critical and can increase the chances of our leader’s message being heard.
Benefit # 3: Amplify your reach
Accessing new audiences applies to both parties. In the same way the leaders you interview will have their message heard by your audience, you also get access to their network when they share the content on their social media platforms. In my experience, almost 90% of the time the people I interview share the content with their network without me having to ask. In the rare instance that they don’t, I make sure to politely ask them to share the interview, noting that it will help both of us.
The result is that your content is seen by a different network and audience than you otherwise would have access to, and that means more opportunities for new connections, relationships, and potentially new business.
Strategy #2: Play the Long Game & Build Solid Relationships
Whether you are developing blog posts, video interviews or podcasts, reaching out to business leaders and asking for their time can be intimidating.
I certainly felt that way. When I started Denmarkbrazil.com, I didn’t have a fancy title or an established professional identity in Denmark. If I asked a CEO for an interview and they asked me who I was, I didn’t feel like I had a very impressive answer.
Eventually, I made a few connections, and from there, my confidence grew. Nowadays, I’m much more comfortable asking people for their time. Here are a few strategies I have used to make connections even before I had an established brand or business.
Build Rapport (Especially When Starting Out)
Image Source: Linkedin, Gary V ( adapted)
Gary Vaynerchuck famously calls this strategy “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” and it is a great approach, especially when you are starting out and don’t have an established brand yet. The basic idea is to get yourself on someone’s radar through micro-interactions (Jabs) before asking them for an interview or endorsement or business meeting (Right Hook). Another sales leader I follow, Jack Kosokawlski, has a similar take which he calls “5x value ask”. Jack preaches that in order to speak with a buyer ( it could be an employer as well) you gotta earn this right. In order to earn this right, you should provide “5 x value” and then ask what you want.
How do you initiate micro-interactions? Social media is a great place to start. Retweet their Tweets, suggest an article to them on Facebook, like their Instagram posts, or leave valuable comments on blog posts they have posted on Linkedin. If you are really good, you might even exchange a few pleasantries from time to time.
Once you feel that they are aware of you and, even better, know a little about your brand or business, you can ask for a meeting or interview or guest blog post. This is your right hook, and because you have prepared for it with jabs, you are much more likely to land the punch.
Organically providing leaders some previous knowledge about you or having a few interactions they can reference can really increase the chances you get a positive response when you finally make your big ask. It is a long-game strategy, but it is an effective one.
Do Your Homework
Image Source: Pablo by buffer
I always learn everything I can about a person I’m trying to reach out to. What is their role in their company or industry? What industry niches are they interested in? What specific questions do I have that only they can answer? What personal connections do I have with them that I can leverage (i.e. they faced a business problem in the past that I am facing now).
While it takes a bit of effort, doing your homework helps you come off as genuine. It proves that you are not just sending a mass email to 100 people, but that you want to talk to this specific person about this specific topic. Doing your homework helps them feel valued and lets them know you really care about what they have to say. You would be surprised how willing people are to help you if your approach is genuine.
Be Specific About What You Want
Image source: fontriver.com
Business leaders, influencers and decision makers are busy people. They don’t have the time or effort available to read your mind and figure out what you want from them.
When you make a request of a leader, it is critical to be specific and explicit. In the case of requesting an interview, tell them exactly what you want to do (an interview), how you would like to do it (in person/on camera), how long you think it will take, and give them some idea of what you would like to interview them about. This makes it much easier for them to schedule, as well as increase their confidence that you are not wasting their time.
If they know you would like to chat on camera for a 30-minute interview about immigration in Denmark and its effects on the job market, you can bet you are more likely to get a yes than asking to “chat about jobs in Denmark.” Know what you want, be explicit in asking for it, and you will get more yes’s than you might expect.
Strategy #3. Help Others Out
Image Source: Pablo by buffer
Several of the accounts we have today in our business came because we helped others out. We happily helped get the word out about a business announcement or shared news about a new product or helped someone fill a job vacancy. And while it doesn’t always result in new business, a few times those little favors have bloomed into full-fledged business relationships.
Why help people out without the guarantee of the favor being returned? For one, it is a nice thing to do. I appreciate when people help promote our content by liking, commenting and reposting, so it is only right to help support other people by doing the same.
Helping others out is also another easy way to get on the radar of industry leaders. If they see you consistently sharing their links and commenting on their content, you may just peek their interest enough for them to want to know who you are. And that can be a gateway to conversations and business opportunities.
Strategy #4. Always Be Connecting & Producing Content
Image Source: Pablo by Buffer
Successfully using digital content to grow your network or business is a bit of a numbers game. There are millions of articles, videos, podcast episodes and blog posts. This makes consistency a critical aspect of using content effectively.
One-off blog posts or random video interviews is not going to cut it. You need to be reaching out, making connections, starting conversations and publishing fresh, relevant and interesting content constantly. It is not enough to demonstrate you can provide value one time. You want to establish yourself in your industry and network as a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
When people want to hear important voices talking about relevant issues and topics, they need to think of you first. And to build that reputation, you need to provide value to your network and audience as consistently as possible.
Content can be an incredibly powerful tool for making connections, establishing relationships and building a business. But it isn’t easy, and that is why few are able to do it effectively. It requires a patience and an understanding that it may require six months or a year before you begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor. For those who do it well, the potential power of content is limitless, but it takes time to harness it and utilize it effectively. The payoff is that, once those fruits come to fruition, they can be invaluable.
My name is Carlos Monteiro. I’m the CEO and founder of www.biassa.com
We work as an extension of the innovation team of large brands and retailers all over the Globe.
I’m also a regultar contributor to the Copenhagen Post a newspaper dedicated to internationals in Denmark. If you ever would like to read some of my columns and have a peek on how I believe internationals can stand out in such a noisy World, just visit The Copenhagen Post
I’m always opened to a new conversation. If you’d like to contact me just ping me on LinkedIn or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org