In an environment that’s overloaded with marketing messages, content marketing could help you stand out from the crowd. So what is it and how might you use it?
Stop trying to interrupt
Everywhere we go we’re surrounded by marketing messages. As well as the traditional ads on TV, billboards, radio and in the press, we’re now marketed to on toilet doors, shopping trolleys and even on our mobile phones.
Increasingly, people are ignoring these attempts to get their attention by interrupting whatever it is they’re thinking about, and this is creating a big shift in the way small businesses should market themselves. It’s time to stop trying to interrupt, and instead engage with your customers by helping them.
Providing useful web content is the ideal way to help solve your customers’ problems. You give them great information and advice, and in doing so you earn the right to their attention.
Ideas to help you develop your content marketing strategy
Before starting to generate bucketloads of content, think about your ideal customer. You’ll need to develop a content marketing strategy that’s based on engaging with and assisting those people. Consider the problems they face and the ways you might help them. Here are some ideas and examples to get you started
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Be clear about your purpose: I really like Scott Pape’s content strategy. He has a website and podcast called the Barefoot Investor. By creating great investor tips and content in a user-friendly format he helps his audience trust him and like him, and in return they give him permission to enter into conversation with them. From this platform he uses social media tools to share his content, and in doing so has built a community of 12,000 followers on Facebook. He is obviously doing a lot right, not least of which is being very clear that his focus is on solving the problems of every day people with a practical approach to personal finance.
Put together a checklist: Closer to home, my husband’s website includes a checklist to help you understand how to work with an architect. This tool helps people thinking about engaging an architect know what to expect and at the same time gives them an idea of how Mark works. After completing the checklist they can also contact him for more info, so it helps him build his database too.
Offer calculators and tools: I love tools, especially if they’re free! The more valuable they are to your audience the more they’ll help you build up a list of loyal followers, fans and clients. To see some excellent examples of this check out the online marketing company HubSpot.
Provide case studies: Case studies are a great way of showing your prospective customers how you solve problems.
Establish yourself as an expert: Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t be seen as an expert. Consider sites like taste.com.au and MoneySmart.gov.au. These sites provide information and advice that’s practical and easy to follow. The same concept could help a small business establish themselves as an expert in the minds of consumers. What kind of advice, tips and tricks could you offer to your audience?
Are you using website content marketing to promote your small business? How is it working for you, and what writing tips do you have to share?