Content marketing, as defined by some of the masters of the subject, is “the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” That’s very wide open, but where do you start? Just like you start anything: simple. Below are the 5 building blocks of content marketing. Each has dozens of variations and choices of providers, but if your small business (or enterprise!) don’t have each of these basic tactical components, then your content marketing efforts will not get optimum results.
Who doesn’t have a website these days? Believe it or not, lots of small businesses. Some even wear their lack of digital footprint like a badge of honor. It’s not. Building a website used to be firmly in the hands of “the techies”, the nerds, the geeks, the programmers. No more. The website belongs to the marketer now. If you own a small business, you are the marketer. I prefer WordPress, but Wix or SquareSpace are probably a little easier if you’re doing it yourself. WordPress is deeper and more flexible.
A website doesn’t come to life until you fill it with your images and words. This step is extremely important, and many small businesses make critical mistakes here. Your website is not your sales person. It most certainly is your first digital impression. Do you want your first impression to talk nonstop for 7 minutes about stuff nobody cares about? Of course not. Web copy must be brief, to the point, and cause the visitor to want to know more. Then you point your visitors to more stuff to read, watch, or listen to.
Your blog is the new “About” section. Yes, you’ll still have an “About” page, but it’s static. Your business is not static. It’s constantly learning, growing, changing, and adding people and skills to serve your customers. That’s what your blog is for. You should blog monthly at the very least, and preferably weekly or more. What do you blog about? Keep it simple: teach your audience (prospects) something of value. Do not just toot your horn constantly. Give them something they can’t get anywhere else. Gary Vaynerchuk explains it better than I can in “Give, give, give, then ask.”
Believe it or not, some people do not visit your website. What?!? It’s not bookmarked in their browser. They don’t go there every morning to see what you’ve done lately. No, you have to tell them. That means email. Again, it’s not a sales call. It’s a touch base to tell them “We just published something on our blog that we think you will really learn from.” If you just rolled out a new product, yes, you should tell your audience about that product via email. But tell them WHY you’re telling them about this new thing.
People – especially people under 40 – get their information, recommendations, preferences, ideas, and solutions from social media. “Social” in this case means that someone they know and trust is recommending (or at least retweeting) something they need. Is that you? Not if you’re not on the right social network(s). You have to find where your audience is, and then share your website content (blog) with them on a regular, but not too regular, basis. If someone follows you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., it’s because they want to hear from you. So, just like your blog, give them something they can’t get anywhere else. What makes you unique?
These 5 tactics are the basics. You will discover much, much more as you do these five, but you have to start with the basics to make progress.