It takes too much time and effort.
If owners or managers are not on board with a plan, it will never work.
That there’s too much hype on this very topic … content marketing, that is.
Yadda, yadda, yadda …
It does take time and effort.
The client has to be on board.
And, yes, there’s a ton of hype, but so f*cking what.
If you’re a designer or marketer working with small clients and you go in with this attitude, how in the world are you going to help them?
Listen, in my former life I was a graphic designer. (god how I hate that term). It’s too general and doesn’t begin to describe the mechanics that go into building a rock-solid online presence – one built on great content.
The Golden Mix: Branding & Content Marketing
A few short years ago, I was NOT doing what I should have been doing all along; enlightening clients on the virtues of golden content.
Basically a complete, cohesive and magnetic online presence that’s a mix of …
1. Strategic design;
2. A social media presence and;
3. A rock-solid content plan that drives everything and;
4. Let’s not forget a little Search Engine Optimization (SEO);
THIS is how it’s done these days. If your focus is on design and copywriting only, you are missing out. So …
How Does a Small Business Start Using Content Marketing?
And more importantly … why does your average small business need a content marketing / social media plan?
Well, let’s start with my list. A list that says building an online presence, the right way, will change everything …
1. Content Marketing will Redefine Your Business
How? You create your own amazing “Blog Soup.” This will change all.
I’m not saying your business will morph into something unrecognizable, but I am saying you WILL discover new and amazing things that could shift direction, bring new services, or help you find new clients.
At the beginning of any project I recommend asking questions. But I think you should keep asking questions and never stop.
Research is also an important first step. Research competitors, former clients, current customers, your very own people … what makes them tick.
So, step one is a combination of research and interviewing – employees, partners, clients. And when you talk to these people, think about the following …
– What does your audience really care about? The more you dig, the more these important questions will come to the fore.
– Who in your organization has their own story?
– What keeps your customers awake at night? What is hindering their progress?
– What other services could you offer to advance them further?
– Is there something truly unique about your organization? Your employees?
– How can you humanize your brand?
– And I’ll repeat this … How can you humanize your brand?
– And… think like your ideal customer. Keep going back to what type of questions they will ask.
… I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
So, if your small company wants to blog, but you’re not sure where to start, the above will give you a head start and more.
Content Marketing Will Rock Your Brand, and then some …
Once you dig in and do the work, you’ll soon have an arsenal that will help you …
– Brand or re-brand your business.
– Build a sustainable marketing plan.
– Actually have something to say on social media … and
– You’ll start to create the foundational content needed for a practice like blogging.
This foundation, something I like to call “blog soup” will do the following …
Make it easier to craft laser-focused copy that also tells a story, about your company, your employees, your partners and your clients.
… and …
You’ll have a growing repository of amazing content ideas, based on the most important components of your business and crafted in the language of your ideal clients, which brings us to …
2. This “Content Stew” Will Help You Laser-In on Your Ideal Client
I often have companies write a concise statement about what they do and what makes them special (it’s part of a complete branding process). It’s built on who they want to work with … their ideal client.
With the soup mentioned above, that will soon be spilling over (if you ask, ask, ask), you’ll start to notice …
… that “ideal client” becomes rather obvious.
Great questions bring answers that have the power to guide your business, and find those you really want to work with.
If your business is firmly established, you’ll discover new things about your former and current clients; their traits, wants, and that nagging pain they must get past.
My favorite questions to ask clients …
a. What was your biggest fear before hiring Company X?
b. Did it come true, and if not, what happened instead?
c. What would be your top 1-3 questions before you would start another job with them?
Trust me, based on experience, this brings golden results. Results that will propel your content marketing plan, your brand, and your overall marketing.
Many will tell you to build detailed “client personas,” but I’ve never done this.
Why? I interview people … this helps in every way.
If you haven’t done this yet, you must.
If you’re building a new website and it’s not clear who you are targeting, STOP the design process and start asking questions.
3. It Will Improve Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Many bloggers tell you to focus on long-tail keywords and I agree.
This forces you to focus on crafting keyword rich phrases written the way prospects search for products or services.
I don’t want to try and reinvent the wheel here, so I’ll point you to this post by Marcus Sheridan, he’s the best at explaining this. Look at Point #3 in this post.
Joe Pulizzi also knows what he’s talking about when it comes to SEO and Content Marketing.
But let’s focus on the long-tail …
If you do this. Start to craft long-tail phrases, built on those beautiful answers that Sales Lion guy recommends. (if you follow step #1 above) you’ll soon have an epic list of topics built on the keywords potential clients are looking for …
Asking questions and focusing on these keyword-rich phrases will help you build content that both people and search engines will love.
Most clients know they have to put a few keywords in their site, but they don’t realize how ineffective this can be.
But if you take the approach of the content marketer and build keyword-rich phrases, based on your research and answers, you’ll have ideas and content for your blog, your brand, and pretty much everything you do marketing related.
4. It Will Create Renewed Excitement Around Your Brand.
And here is my big one …
As a branding guy, I LOVE the power of content done right, and here’s why …
If a company’s owners/partners decide they want to blog, start asking the right questions; keep asking questions; work to build up a library of topics based on research and questions; they will soon have laser-focused content that will help them …
– Craft a website that is truly built for the customers they serve, and are looking to work with;
– Revise a tagline so it’s more inline with what they actually do;
– Craft cohesive and magnetic content across all media, from print to social.
… and best of all … it makes it easy to build PR around your brand, because you have the language to connect with influencers and media, and tell them exactly what you do.
And most importantly, your customers will soon know everything about you
Building brand awareness will be so much easier than it was before, because of the magic of content marketing done right …
- Want to Change Your Life? (Let’s Start with 5 Regrets.) - September 3, 2014
- Why the Social Web Needs Thought Leaders - August 6, 2014
- Want to Be a Blog Writing Machine? (Give up on Perfection). - July 30, 2014
- Can Social Media Engagement Kill Your Business? - July 23, 2014
- 4 Big Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing Now - July 15, 2014
- Your 3 Step Process to Surviving and Thriving the Fickle Realm of Social Media - July 10, 2014
- How Do You Become a Successful Blogger? (4 Answers that Might Surprise You). - June 26, 2014
- The Beautiful, Empty Cup of Blogging - June 11, 2014
- Why Small Businesses Hate Content Marketing (and What to Do About It) - June 4, 2014
- My Breaking Out Mission (and Why I Need Your Help) - May 28, 2014