Content marketing is a great way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your field to current and potential clients. Plus, it’s a very helpful marketing strategy to help you get known as well as to help your site’s search engine rankings. We looked at this in more detail in my recent What Is Content Marketing And Why Should You Do It? article.
You can use content marketing in all manner of ways, such as via articles or blogs on your site, in magazines or via a newsletter. Another suggestion is to create tip or informational videos for sites like YouTube. Of course, all this can be integrated into your social media marketing too.
When you provide this service to people who might be interested in your product or service, you can create loyalty, drive readers to your site, all while increasing awareness of your business. However, while content marketing is an easy and inexpensive way to increase sales, it’s essential to create and share quality content regularly.
One problem that many business owners seem to have trouble with is coming up with fresh ideas for content. This is something that can stump everyone at one time or another, even the most creative of people.
So here are some suggestions for ways to keep a constant stream of new content ideas flowing in:
Commenting on a news article that is relevant to your customers or your industry is a great way to publish fresh content. Even if you simply provide a link to a news story with a note that you thought the article might be of interest to your readers, you can remind your customers of your presence.
In addition to traditional news, industry magazines and websites can offer great content ideas. Not as a way to copy their content – you should NEVER copy others’ content – but as a way to keep up-to-date on what’s happening and get ideas for your own content.
For example, refer to an article you read recently on such-and-such topic on XYZ site, include a link to the original article, and then write about your views on this topic.
This is another great way to come up with content ideas that will help your customers. After all, if people are talking about it, you can write about it.
This might be with employees, colleagues, others in your industry or even just by yourself.
Make the activity fun, perhaps by having it over lunch or dinner. You may find out there are things of interest you didn’t even know about.
One of my clients owns a local retail business. Twice a year they hold a VIP night where they invite their best customers to spend the evening with them, previewing new products in advance and sharing in canapes and a drink or two. They use this time to gather feedback from their customers, including what they’d like to know more about, relevant to that industry.
Another client has a quarterly lunch date with 3 friends who also manage their own businesses. They use this session to brainstorm ideas for their marketing, including content marketing topics.
NOTE: I’m not sure if this is considered a tax deductible expense – it depends on where you’re located and on your personal situation. But it’s worth checking with your accountant.
Personally, I brainstorm ideas at my favourite ‘time out’ location … sitting on a quiet, secluded headland overlooking the ocean and hopefully watching dolphins playing in the waves below.
Don’t just announce advancements … let customers know how these advancements might affect them.
In many businesses, there are topics that come up every season. If this applies to your industry, keep an archive of articles on those seasonal topics.
Each year, bring one out, freshen it up with more current information and publish it again.
Do you get asked questions from your customers, members, subscribers or social media contacts?
If so – and most business owners would do – keep track of these and they can become the foundations of not only good content, but information your customers are opening telling you they want to know more about.
Once you’re in the habit of using content marketing, you’ll find that you regularly keep your ears and eyes open for ideas. As you hear of new items, keep a running list of topics so that you can create an article, blog or video about it.
When creating content, I find it best to “batch” it. That is, write several articles, blog posts or whatever I’m doing all in one go. These can be scheduled to be published on specific dates in the future and frees up your time.
If you’re outsourcing your content creation, ask your writer to write 10 or even 20 blog posts at once. Or you can get a “batch” of videos created. Send your freelancer a list of 10-20 topics and away they go.
I’ll cover more details of how to create and share your content another time, but in the meantime, go ahead and make your list of content ideas.
Do you have any other strategies to help you come up with content ideas? If so, please share them in the Comments section below.
Did you know that content marketing is a very effective part of an overall marketing strategy?
Sadly, many people not only aren’t using this strategy to help grow their business, but don’t even know what it is. Or worse … they spend hard-earned money and time on content marketing but are doing it wrong!
Here’s a run-down on the basics of content marketing, what it is and how it can help you grow your business.
Content marketing is simply the act of providing valuable information to customers and potential customers. You can provide content marketing via your website, publications, social media, pictures, audio, podcasts, webinars and video.
The idea behind content marketing is simple. You provide knowledge and information to people who might be interested in the product or service you provide, without this content being directly sales related.
Content marketing helps to establish you as an authority in your field of expertise, which in turn has many benefits. One major benefit is that it gives people confidence to trust and buy from you. In addition, you make it easy for others to want to share links to your content and recommend you to their contacts. In turn, this may boost your site in the search engine rankings too.
A simple example of content marketing is a plant and seed website that provides articles on their site explaining how to grow vegetables and flowers. If you have questions about how to grow tomatoes, for example, and a website answers those questions and sells tomato plants, you are more likely to buy your tomato plants from that site.
That’s a very basic, straight-forward example, but there’s so much more you can do too.
Good content marketing is not an advertisement for people to buy your products. It is separate from advertising or sales calls to action you might create. Rather, it is helpful information that would appeal to a likely customer of yours.
If you have a website, content marketing is easy to start. Creating a blog on your website or a section for “how to” articles or tips is a great way to begin. If you don’t have a website, creating a customer newsletter is another way to begin. (But you should still get a website up-and-running a.s.a.p.!)
To begin, make a list of ideas of topics that might be of interest to people who use your product or service, whether or not they currently buy from you. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, begin by thinking of the most common topics you get questions about. (Relevant to your niche, of course).
Then create your content. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have time to write the content yourself – or if good writing is simply not your forte – don’t do it yourself. It’s easy to find a professional content writer who can write the content for you. The cost of good content and a great strategy are usually outweighed by the benefits and higher profits you’ll experience.
There are essentially two types of content. The first is “forever” content, meaning that it never gets old or needs to be removed. Those articles on how to grow tomatoes are a good example of forever content. New people will continue to seek out that information. Okay, so they may not last “forever” … but the information within them doesn’t change too much over time.
The second type of content is the type that needs to constantly be “fresh”. This content includes seasonal information and tips as well as articles that might be related to items in the news that are of interest to your target market. Since this content goes stale it must be replaced regularly.
You can choose to use one or both types on your site. Just keep in mind that if you choose to use content that goes stale, it is important to update it regularly. A mix of the two types of content works well for most businesses and is my preferred style.
Once you’ve got your content ready, it’s important for people to know it’s out there. Post links to blogs or articles via social media to drive traffic to your site. Also, make use of keyword rich content to increase your rankings in the search engines. Announce your blog or articles via any correspondence with current customers or advertisements.
Next, encourage your customers, subscribers, social media contacts, colleagues and team members to share links to your content too.
Content marketing allows you to provide valuable information to people who are likely to use products and services. It is also one of the most inexpensive and valuable marketing tools in your toolbox. So if you don’t already use strategy this within your small business, make sure you get onto it soon.
If you use social media marketing for business you may already know the importance of incorporating images within your social media posts. Preferably gorgeous, unique, professional looking images.
What’s more, visual content is more likely to be shared by others.
For those who like to create their own images but lack the design skills and software to do so, the solution is an online program called Canva. I must admit, I just adore Canva and find it so easy to create amazing graphics, however it did take me a little while to figure out not just how to use it but also what sort of creations I could come up with.
So to help you save time in learning this and making all the beginner’s mistakes like I did, I’ve arranged for my good friend and Social Media Marketer, Ingrid Cliff, to take you through the wonderful world of Canva.
We’re holding a free live training webinar – so you can watch it from the comfort of your own home – and Ingrid will give you not only an introduction to Canva, she’s also going to show you:
This webinar is now over but you can watch the reply via the button below: