Writer and communications strategist Claire Propsting gives advice on small business communications strategy in our four-part blog series. We talked social media and what it can do for your small business last time. Now, let’s dive into content and content marketing.
Depending on who you ask, “content marketing” is either a dying fad or a new name for what great marketers have been doing for decades. In case you’re still blurry on the details of content marketing, I’ll clarify: content marketing is distributing relevant content that gets your audience to engage. It can take many forms, from videos and blog posts to articles and infographics, but if you do it right, it elevates how people see your brand and increases business.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a Pulitzer-worthy writer or videographer to create great content; you just have to know your product and, more importantly, your audience. In short: marketing used to be about telling people how great you are; content marketing is about getting your customers and potential customers to say it themselves.
Your Brand is your Audience
A lot of marketing consultants will tell you to think about your brand as a person, and that your brand voice should align with that personality. I agree that that’s a great way to think about your brand when trying to hone your voice, but my advice is to start one step back and give your audience a personality.
You should certainly break down your audience by demographics if you can: How old is your typical customer? What’s the ratio of men to women? And what’s their annual household income?
Once you answer these basics, dig a little deeper. Think about your typical customer again, but try to get into their heads. What state of mind is she in when she turns to your business? What are his goals? What information does she need to make a decision? Taking the time to thoughtfully answer these questions will give you a valuable list of messages and will help you channel your precious marketing dollars where you can make the most impact.
The Nitty Gritty
Once upon a time, small business marketing consisted of getting a logo printed on some pens, running a few newspaper ads and calling it a day. Here’s the truth: traditional marketing for both B2B and B2C businesses has been losing effectiveness for years.
Even though times have changed, you still have to get your message out there.
Video is one of the most powerful ways to start content marketing. It’s visual, it’s instant and it works: four times as many people would rather watch a video about a product than read a description and 70% of marketers say that videos lead to more conversations and create more leads than any other type of content. Platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope, and Instagram Stories now make it easier than ever to channel your inner Spielberg. Casual, in-the-moment video content is having major influence right now, so it’s the perfect time to start creating videos for your company.
Your company blog is another ideal place to incorporate your content marketing efforts. Just by virtue of having a blog, you’ll increase your SEO rating. If you use it as a platform to get your ideas and other engaging content out to the world, all the better.
Whatever medium you use, make sure to utilize your social media channels and email newsletters to distribute your content and drive traffic back to your blog and website.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how to integrate traditional media into your overall communications strategy.
Following stints in London, Edinburgh and Dubai, Claire Propsting now lives in Washington, D.C. and has been working as a writer, editor and communications strategist for the last seven years. Her work has appeared in The Times, Retail & Leisure International magazine and The Buzz magazine. Visit www.clairepropsting.com for more information.