Learn from Mel Lester: our Golden Valuable Content Award winner for 2011

Sonja Jefferson

Golden rule of company social media

The Valuable Content Awards launched just over a year ago and we’ve uncovered some real content heroes in that time. To win an award your website needs to be packed with helpful, authentic content, written with passion, presented with the user in mind. We only verify content that is genuinely useful to web users: content that gets business results.

vc_award_badge_gold11.gifThis month and for the first time we’re handing out a golden Valuable Content Award to the business whose content we feel is the most valuable of them all. And our award for 2011 goes to consultant Mel Lester and his company The Business Edge.

Mel won our first ever Valuable Content award back in October 2009 and for good reason. As he clearly states on the home page of his website, in terms of value he sets his sights pretty high:

“Mel Lester (aka The Business Edge) is pleased to offer this website as a valuable source of “how-to-get-things-done” information and tools. I set out with an ambitious goal: to create the best internet resource for helping managers of architectural, engineering, and environmental consulting firms succeed, both corporately and personally.”

With his website, blog articles, seriously valuable newsletter and veritable library of free resources (check out his ‘Consultant’s Toolbox‘) we think he delivers, and it’s getting him remarkable business results. Well done Mel! Gold Valuable Content award badge on its way.

Mel Lester’s minimalist marketing approach

Mel is a Practice Management Consultant in Virginia, US. He’s a one man band firmly focused on helping businesses in the Architecture and Engineering field to get things done. Mel is a busy guy, constantly in demand in his industry, with not a lot of time on his hands. He has to make sure he only invests in marketing actions that get him the best results.

Marketing for Mel is all about putting great content out there; making yourself useful; serving your clients, whether it’s in marketing or delivery. Here’s what Mel has to say about his marketing approach.

“One of the biggest challenges for a one-man firm is finding time to develop new business. Come to think of it, that’s the same challenge many of my clients face, even though they may have large staffs. When we’re busy, there’s little time to do anything but serve our clients. There’s also the problem of timing: prospective clients don’t have a constant need for our services, so our sales calls often don’t coincide with when the client has an imminent need.

That’s why marketing is so important. It’s not just about building your brand or increasing name recognition. It’s about being in front of clients—at least in a virtual sense—when the need arises. The one marketing metric that matters most to me is how often prospective clients call in response to my marketing.

“Content marketing is the most effective approach to generating new business.”

But not just any marketing inspires people to contact you. Client respond to content of value, content that helps them better diagnose and solve pressing problems. Several studies confirm that content marketing is the most effective approach in helping generate new business. So why aren’t more professional service firms producing such content?

My clients complain that they don’t have the time and resources to produce it. But I manage to get good traction with my “minimalist marketer” approach (about 70% of my new clients come through marketing). This includes:

  • Write one blog post a week
  • Market blog postings to multiple publishers looking for content
  • Occasionally draw from blog postings to create articles for magazines, journals, etc.
  • Search the internet for other people’s good content (usually as part of a paid consulting assignment!)
  • Use select Twitter contributors to help keep me supplied with good content
  • Draw from all of the above to produce a monthly ezine (newsletter)
  • Speak at conferences when I can (invite people to join my mailing list)
  • Promote content via Twitter and Facebook
  • Share the best material on my content-rich website

All that takes less time than most would imagine, maybe 3-5 hours per week. Besides marketing, I use this content to provide additional insights to current clients, keep in touch with prospective or past clients, and follow up with participants in my training workshops.

If you don’t much time to market, the important thing is to do the few things that work best.”

Congratulations again on all the great content Mel! A worthy gold award winner for 2011 as I’m sure you’ll agree, and hopefully an inspiration to others to get marketing and do the right stuff.

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1 Comment

  1. Congratulations, Mel. This award is well-deserved.
    Lately you’ve been caught in my spam filter and I’m trying to fix that.

    Reply

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