This is my last regular article on Contracting Business. Now don’t worry, I’ll still be around from time to time, but this is it as a regular columnist. As I’m transitioning more of my time to Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World , I’ve asked Chris Vaughn, Director of Content Marketing at DigitalSherpa/SocialTract , to carry the torch. I know you’ll enjoy his take.

So, for my swan song, I wanted to put a list of the key tips I’d like you to seriously think about for your 2013 marketing strategy. Here goes:

1. Brandscaping – This new book by Andrew Davis is truly revolutionary. The idea of brandscaping is how you can partner with non-competitive companies to create amazing content that will draw in your customers and prospects. It will change your business for the better.

2. Answer Your Customer’s Questions – Marcus Sheridan was a keynote presenter at this year’s Content Marketing World, which brought together 1,000 of the leading content marketers from around the world. Marcus told the story of how he created the most successful pool company in the world by simply answering all his customer’s questions online. Now, when anyone has a question about buying or installing a pool, they usually find Marcus and his company. Marcus now spends almost nothing on advertising while his company becomes an unstoppable online force.

3. Create More Bricks – There are two types of content: feathers (passing/common) and bricks (lasting/uncommon). Most contractor websites have lots of feathers, but not enough bricks. In 2013, concentrate on creating pieces of content that truly position your company as the thought leader in your industry. You can do that through consumer research, helpful “how-to” guides, video tutorials and more. Start thinking of yourself like a publisher and create must-have pieces of content that truly make an impact on your customers.

4. Be the Best at Something – Whether you have an amazing email newsletter to your customers, the go-to blog for your region, or in-person meetings that help your customers with their home comfort needs, focus on becoming the leader in something. Many contractors today are trying to be all things to all people. Don’t fall into that trap. Try experimenting with one or two channels, learn the ins and outs, and become THE resource. If you don’t have the expertise on staff, there are plenty of storytellers and freelance writers who can help you move in the right direction.

As I meet and talk with HVAC contractors, the more I realize that we’re at a tipping point. The leading contractors are starting to get it. They understand that they MUST develop one-on-one relationships with their customers, and that the best way to do that is by creating information that their customers love and cherish. It’s not difficult, but it does take a new way of thinking. Now is the time…become THE resource for your customers and, like Marcus, watch your business grow.