Content marketing is the process of providing relevant, valuable and impartial resources to your audience on the subject of your business.
Why would I want to do that, you might ask?
Well, these days customers are clever. They research. And they want the best products or services, for the best price. Content marketing is the platform that proves your knowledge and expertise in your field. You can’t just claim to be an authoritative source – you have to earn respect and credibility. And you do that through the content resources that you create and share.
But this takes time, and you’re just one person…
You don’t have a content editor, a graphic designer, a technical support team, an SEO specialist, and a videographer to hand. So, keep it simple and do what you can.
You already have the most important expertise – the knowledge of your product and service. And you know your customers, and what your potential customers might be interested in. All you need to do is demonstrate and communicate that expertise to your audience.
Here’s some ideas to help get you started:
Create a content calendar
Get a piece of paper and write down 12 topics that your customers will be interested in. That gives you enough blog ideas for the next three months if you do one a week – plenty for a small business.
Set a tweet schedule
Once a day is a good frequency for a very small business getting started on Twitter. Having a structure to work to will help you think of ideas. Mine could be:
Monday Web hero or zero – my most or least favourite site of the week and what they are doing well (or badly)
Tuesday Share something special – an infographic or video which relates to digital marketing
Wednesday Webtip – a useful idea or suggestion that readers can use on their own site
Thursday What am I working on? A glimpse behind the scenes at the good, the bad or the ugly of my working day
Friday My weekly blog – share new web content
You’ll have other possibilities depending on your line of work, like special offers, photos of staff (very shareable), customer feedback or industry news. Use your experiences during the day for inspiration, and remember you don’t have to use it straight away!
Play to your strengths
Web content can take many forms – blog posts, infographics, videos and images. And each of these can be used for different types of content – how-to articles, interviews, product or technology reviews, case studies and comparisons are just some examples. If you like to write then blogging will come naturally, but perhaps you are like most people and feel terrified by the sight of a blank piece of paper? Don’t panic, because photos and videos are highly shareable, gaining twice as many retweets as text only tweets.
What about ‘before-and-after’ shots of something you’ve improved, or a ‘what-not-to-do’ photo of some terrible gaff. Try to avoid embarrassing your clients of course! A video blog of how to do something commonly misunderstood would be a great one, especially if it’s a type of work you don’t particularly want.
Don’t worry that by sharing your expertise you will do yourself out of business. Research has shown that if you publish an article explaining exactly how to do the thing you do, a step by step description with diagrams and illustrations, customers are still not inclined to go and do it themselves, but conversely become more convinced of your knowledge and expertise in the area and are more, not less likely to use you for that service.
Use curation as well as creation
Good content marketing doesn’t mean you have to create all the resources yourself. Sometimes its enough just to share other people’s content that relates well to your business. The name of the game is to become known as the go-to guy for problems in your field – and you can do this just as well by republishing great content. Make sure you credit the source though – we are not talking plagiarism here!
Content marketing is the new marketing and your content is what search engines are looking for, so if ranking well in Google is important to you, then you need to be embracing content marketing.
SEO is dead; long live content marketing.