We all know that content marketing is the name of the game for businesses large and small. Content is king and all that. But how does a small business create enough good content to reach their marketing goals? That’s the question.
The answer, as it turns out, is easy. All you need is a primer with ideas that you can use in multiple ways to create content. That’s what I’ll do here — break down simple content ideas that you can use (and reuse) to grow your business.
Let’s start with content that comes from a section you probably already have on your website: Frequently Asked Questions.
If you’re like most companies, you have FAQs with short, snappy answers. I’m willing to bet that in most cases, you could flesh those questions out with additional information and suggestions to provide detailed and actionable content for your clients.
I suggest reviewing your FAQ’s and picking out questions where there’s room to elaborate. Then, think about the best way to expand on the question. It might be a blog post, a short video, or an infographic. Whatever it is, you can share it to provide your customers with the kind of authority content they crave.
Behind the Scenes
How do your products get made? You might think that people aren’t interested, but there’s a reason that shows like “How It’s Made” are popular.
Think about your process and what makes it unique. Is there an element of your product that’s handmade? Do you have a shortcut that you created? Once you’ve identified a behind the scenes story, you can break it down into a slideshow, video, or photo array to share on your website and social media Alternatively, you could do behind the scenes videos introducing your staff!
You won’t be shocked to hear that product demonstrations are a kind of content you can create cheaply, but you might not realize the possibilities for content creation that are locked inside the products you sell.
Beyond the simple introductory product demo, you can show your customers the potential for other uses of your product. Even a product that doesn’t require a demo can be highlighted in a demonstration video.
For example, a clothing boutique that sells scarves could put together a demonstration video showing 10 different ways to wear a scarf. A kitchen supply company could show multiple uses for a utensil or condiment.
Not every piece of content you post needs to be original. A big part of social media marketing is content curation, where you find content that’s relevant to your audience and share it with them.
The key here is not to simply share the content as is. Instead, you should find a way to add some authority or a unique twist or perspective to it.
For example, you might find an article in your local paper or an industry publication with a list of… whatever. Instead of simply posting the list, share it and point out which item is your favorite and why. Alternatively, you could mention something that wasn’t included in the list that you think should have been.
Customer Testimonials and Stories
Happy customers are your best ambassadors and you should be featuring them in your content. While reviews are important, testimonials offer a more in-depth, story-oriented way to share the benefits of your products or services with your target audience.
The wide availability and affordability of video means that it’s easy and inexpensive to film customer testimonials. You can even do them on Boast, Zoom or Loom (one of our favorite Chrome extensions)!
To make your customer testimonials effective, it may be useful to map out an outline based on the customer’s story. That way, you can share the kind of journey that will resonate deeply with people and help them to make an emotional connection with your product.
Have you noticed that podcasts are suddenly everywhere? There’s a good reason for that. They’re relatively easy and inexpensive to produce, and for some businesses, they feel less intimidating than video. Experts predict that podcast advertising will be worth $1.33 billion by 2022!
From a marketing standpoint, the best thing about podcasts is that they feel personal and engaging. People can download them and listen when they’re in their cars or cleaning the house. They offer a way for you to connect directly with your audience and share insights they can’t get anywhere else.
Your Brand Story
Differentiating yourself from your competitors is a must and content marketing provides the ideal way to do it. No matter what industry or niche you’re in, your brand has a unique story that is yours to tell.
Whether you do it in a series of blog posts, a video, or on your Instagram Story, tell the people in your target audience what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. Make sure to include the specific things that make you unique, whether it’s a proprietary manufacturing process, personalized attention, or innovative products that deliver the solutions your customers need.
It’s always a good idea to create evergreen content because it has a long shelf life and will likely be as relevant two years from now as it is today. However, not all content needs to be timeless.
Seasonal content can be highly useful to your customers and entertaining at the same time. Chances are that you’ve found yourself looking for content related to a holiday or time of year — so why not provide seasonal content for your audience?
Finally, don’t assume that older content you’ve created is no good to you now. Instead, take an inventory of old blog posts, videos and graphics and see if there’s an opportunity to update or improve them.
If there’s information that could clarify or expand your existing content, add it and repost it. Take old video footage and intercut it with new footage. You could even break an old piece of content into parts. For example, you could take a long blog post and transform it into a series of short videos.
I hope you get the idea. Your focus should always be on providing value and entertainment to your audience. You don’t need to have a huge content marketing budget to create the kind of content that your audience will love — and be eager to share.
Linda Musselwhite is an author, speaker and co-owner of Musselwhite Marketing (est 2009). Linda’s previous positions as Human Resources Administrator. Combined with extraordinary customer service makes her the obvious choice of day to day operations for Musselwhite Marketing.
Connect with Linda on LinkedIn.