• Karl Schmieder

What Happens When Your Piece of Kick-Ass Content Takes Over Your Business (A Must-Read For You)

Imagine you had written an article or blog post, or had recorded podcast or video that answered the most pressing issue in your industry.

Your audience would read, listen, or watch, and would understand your solution.

Their questions would be answered.

That piece of content would turn your potential customers, investors and partners into True Fans. They’d subscribe. Buy. Invest. Share. And you’d be on your way to making the world a better place.

I’ve written content like that. For both clients and messagingLAB.

It’s called cornerstone content. And it’s one of the first pieces of content we recommend to new clients.

I’ve been writing this series on storytelling with one article in mind. An article I wrote a few years ago. But before I tell you about it, I wanted you to understand the importance of storytelling and how to BFF your audience. Because this story illustrates how that effort can pay off.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to brainstorm articles with the editors of Life Science Leader.

The editors wanted to do a piece on clinical development.

At that point, I knew enough about how to move a drug through the clinical trial process, but I wondered aloud how biopharmaceutical companies were using

technology to transforming the process. Were they using digital tools? Which ones?

The editors liked the direction and we formed a thesis: Innovation in clinical development had moved from the big pharmaceutical companies to clinical research organizations (CROs).

To write the article, I started calling the public relations reps at top ten CROs. I put a call for sources on Help a Reporter Out. I interviewed CEOs of CROs and wrote the article. Life Science Leader published the piece.

And, truthfully, I thought that was that. On to the next article.

But something funny and unexpected happened.

A PR person from a CRO called asking if I had ever worked on the messaging for a company merger. I had. They hired me to develop the messages for their executives.

Again, I didn’t think much of that but mentioned it to a friend who had a friend running communications at a CRO. She made the introduction and a year later, that CRO became a client.

During the course of six years, I researched and wrote pieces on recruiting patients, phases of clinical trials, data collection methods, changing regulatory requirements, pharmacovigilance, supply chains, therapeutic-specific trials, gene and cell therapy, and obscure (to me) processes that only those in the field could love.

In addition, that one article for Life Science Leader allowed me to sell strategy, marketing, and thought leadership programs into CROs and related companies.

(BTW, it’s worth mentioning that what I learned from working with CROs has been invaluable to all of my clients. Start-ups benefit from the knowledge gained. And every big company I work with wants to know what startups in biotech and synbio are doing.)

That one article resulted in one-third of my business over the course of eight years. It continues to pay dividends today.

To me, that’s the best example of what cornerstone content can do for your business.

This story also illustrates some of the principles I’ve been hammering on in recent posts.

Just in case they’re not yet top-of-mind, I’ll repeat them here:.

  1. Know your audience. I spent the last two emails talking about the importance of audience because it really, really matters. You can’t change the world if your story doesn’t resonate with the people it needs to. You can’t change the world unless you know who you’re speaking with and what they respond to. You do that by listening. In the above example, I listened to editors, then also to corporate leaders.

  2. Share your ideas. I was lucky that the editors of Life Science Leader were willing to brainstorm and let me run with the idea. But I had to go out and share my thesis with people I didn’t know. People who were actually running companies that were in the trenches. I presented a story they wanted to tell in a way that previously hadn’t been articulated. This is the equivalent of sharing (and testing!) your idea with potential clients, partners, or investors. Sharing gives you feedback and makes you a better storyteller.

  3. Be flexible. Once I realized the article had opened doors, I started telling the story and using it to expand my business. You can do the same thing.

  4. In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to close up this series with pieces on content strategy, thought leadership marketing, and a mini-podcast series.

This series is my way of sharing my ideas. I’d love to know whether you find them valuable.