Do I need content marketing?!?
There’s a lot of talk about content marketing. Even when the phrase isn’t used—every entrepreneur I talk to is concerned that they aren’t blogging or don’t have a regular newsletter or an ebook or whatever it is they are sure they need but don’t have. It’s similar to when Facebook became popular, causing panic among entrepreneurs that they must have a social media strategy. It’s simply not true.
Just because it’s become trendy in the corporate marketing world doesn’t mean it’s applicable to entrepreneurs. Everyone seems to be blogging, podcasting, tubing, and building a FB group—but should you be? Content marketing is more than the media we use to share it.
So what is it and do entrepreneurs need it? Really, it’s sharing educative or inspiring content about your industry, service or product with your customers in order to increase their awareness and trust of you, rather than only telling them what you can offer to them. Run a newspaper ad that says “Jill’s Landscaping: Lawn Maintenance & Designs — call now for a free estimate” and it’s advertising. Write an article for the same newspaper with “5 Tips for Caring for Your Lawn in Springtime” and it’s content marketing. It’s actually been around since the late 1800s…think Betty Crocker recipe books and John Deere farming tips, and you get the idea.
If it’s been around for so long, why has it become so important? Well, because whatever you want to call it—contribution, being of service, creating value—it’s the right thing to do. Customers shop in a new way and they go out of their way to ignore advertising. When you do content marketing, you create an attitude of enlightening, educating, entertaining, empowering and caring. Instead of selling, your focus is on creating value—which is usually more comfortable for purpose driven entrepreneurs.
Six steps for your content marketing:
- Focus on providing value. Create content based on what your ideal client needs and wants to know. During times you don’t have time to create new content, share other’s content that is pertinent or reuse some of your older content that still applies.
- Focus on what’s unique about your approach. Write in your style and be sure to bring your point of view to it. Remember your point of view is exactly why your customers come to you and not someone else.
- Connect it with your contribution. Tap into your big WHY or the reason that you think your work can make a difference to others. Coming from that place can make your content richer and more effective.
- Make sure it’s in support of you. Creating and sharing content, and the channel you use to do so, should support at least one of your top business goals. If your customers read your blog but never call, is it serving you?
- Identify the right channel. First, which type of media or channel is likely to reach the customers you are trying to inform. Do they love Facebook? Prefer videos? Follow blogs? Sign-up and read news updates? Once you know their preferences, be sure that you up for using that channel. It’s no fun creating content in a format that you personally don’t care for.
- Publish it. Sounds simple but this is often where folks choke up. Any fears of being seen, what others think of you, or if you know enough strangely enough rear their head at the moment you could actually put it out there. Breathe, shake it off, do it anyway, or get some support to move you past this phase if you experience this. It’s better to be imperfectly visible than never seen at all!
Don’t know what to write?
- Share your professional expertise to give answers, tips, and insights to your ideal clients.
- Share successes your work has created by drawing conclusions from a specific clients success or growth in ways that could apply to potential clients.
- Ask your clients or similar people what they want to know—and tell them!
- Be either entertaining, inspiring or informative. Content that gives one of these three things makes the most impact.
Linda believes that small business owners can step into a better version of their business when they embrace authenticity and become more fully themselves. Her 25-year marketing career has included Kimpton Hotels, Jamba Juice, and Disney helping her clients win awards and placements in publications like The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine, as well as on the front cover of WIRED magazine. You can visit her website here: lindabasso.com or join her FB conversation.