Today, we’re talking about a topic near and dear to any writer’s heart: content marketing. Get those pencils sharpened; we’re going to write some great content.
Content marketing is the planning, creating, production, sharing and measurement of content that is designed to appeal to a distinct audience that a business wants to attain (and retain) as a customer.
That’s a mouthful of words to say that content is important because it has a deep reach. An ad is direct. It says, “Buy this thing.” But content marketing can offer more: it says, “Here is a recipe” or “Why don’t you watch this video on shaping your abs?” or “Download this free checklist about moving tips.”
Content marketing, whether it’s from a blog, video, a paper handout, social media or a website creates a tight relationship between a business and consumers. We’re more likely to buy from a business where we have established a relationship through content marketing.
Image courtesy of Contently.com
But you’re a local business owner with limited time, resources and time (we think we should mention that again!) So, we’ll give you a jumpstart to your content marketing strategy. Let’s call you an “expert” in your small business arena. Now, here’s what to do:
1. Pick your expertise
This should take about five seconds. You’re an expert in auto repair. Or yoga. Or counseling for anxious teens. You are successful because you know your “thing” inside and out.
2. Choose a platform to express your expertise
These days, it’s better to own your content platform rather than a social media network that can hold your fans hostage (sound familiar?). So, where possible, publish content to your own online space. This could be a website, blog or even a plug-in community you invest in for your business.
Ideas for content can include email newsletters; “ask the expert” advice emails; blog posts; guest posts by other experts; and quick videos made on your phone or with simple video editing software.
A recent Buzzfeed and Fractl survey across three generations found that the top content consumed in each age group was blog posts, followed by images and then online comments.
3. Invite customers to subscribe
Writing is lonely enough without any readers to cheer you along. When you launch your new blog or add a new article to your website under “Resources,” make sure that you tell people about it. Collect email addresses to build a customer list. Ask in-store customers to sign up for emails at point-of-sale. Remember, no one except for your mother will remember that you crank out great content. You’ll need to send it to everyone else.
4. Publish consistently
Select a schedule that fits the way you live. If writing is difficult for you, schedule time to sketch out blog post ideas. Don’t overdo it; once per week is great to start. Perhaps you have an employee who oozes writing talent? Ask them if they would like to contribute to your publishing efforts.
Don’t forget that images are a great way for small businesses to grow on Instagram; people love Q&A’s and downloadable resources such as calendars or checklists; how-to videos are always helpful; and encouraging posts that lift up (rather than put down) build your credibility as an expert.
What content marketing tips do you practice? Tell us in the comments!
Jennifer is a Content Strategist for Connectivity.