Pretty much every small business understands the value of content creation. But if you don’t have the resource, it can be a drain on your time, and eventually leaving you resenting the actual thing you’re good at – your business!
I know, it can be worrying when you see that your competitors or those you follow are posting a world of content, from infographics, videos, animations and stories.
This blog post is written with one goal – to help you simplify your content needs.
Let’s get back to basics.
Are you on LinkedIn because your competitor is? Or are you on LinkedIn because that’s where your customers are? Are you essentially doing it keep up with the Jones? For every project you launch, you have to have a strategy, so let’s start there.
This Content Strategy is going to be your blueprint that’s going to;
Inform you of the content you need to create
How you're going to create it
How you’re going to share it
and, best of all, use it to improve your business’s goals
1. Decide Your Contents Goal
Why? Why are you making this content? Start here. Think about your answers. Is it to get new followers? Is it for new leads? Sales? Education?
If you don’t know why you’re creating the content, you will fail.
Understand your goals early. This will make sure what you create and design has a purpose and a clear, defined outcome.
The ultimate goal is what you define your core business as being. Whether that’s a service or product, you need to sell it, a charity needs to raise money or you’re educating o shift behaviours – the goal of the content is to get to that point.
Some content will be direct and to the point, and that’s fine; you need to get to the point. But some content, in fact as much as 90% of it, will be engaging your audience by telling stories, entertaining and humanising your business.
Why would I entertain people? I sell hotdogs.
It really doesn’t matter what you sell or what you do. We live in a world where people buy into people, not brands. When you tell your story, and I don’t mean where you were born and bought up. I mean that day, that product, its development, the fun you have doing it, the people involved. Everything! When people see your passion, they see your value.
People buy value and talk about who they got it from, not the shop's decoration or the colour palette of the branding.
2. Research and Understand Your Audience
So, you have an idea of some goals. Now, where to shoot?
You should have realised that your content probably answers the questions about the products or services you offer. Great! But who needs them answering?
Create some personas. It sounds difficult but it’s really not. You can have some fun here too! Think about demographics; age, gender, location, job title, etc. For example, you might say your content should resonate with couples aged 30-45.
In our example, we could go a step further and say that our content speaks to men and women who want to take their hobby to the next level but can't find a way.
Let’s Create Some Personas
A general representation of your ideal customer. You can have many different personas, but limit it to say three or four. For this blog, we’ll create just one.
The idea is for you to recognise them as real people. Once you do, you can recognise how your service or product can fix the problem they have! Let’s pretend we’re a wedding coordinator agency and we’re looking for new business.
· Lives in a semi-affluent area
· Employed full-time – maybe a professional
Grab a picture off of Unsplash and think of a name. Let’s call her Ellie and let’s describe her day.
My name is Ellie, I’m 28 and I work for a retail company as the team leader/manager. I live in my 2 bedroom home with my fiancée Ryan. Works pretty stressful, so when I get home I like to unwind during the week with a Netflix series, a glass of wine and something simple and easy to eat. But the weekend is when the girls and I get together and let our hair down and go out for a pizza and a good gossip. Ryan has recently asked me to marry him, so I’m quietly looking at venues and dresses – I’m so excited!
What does your content need to do? How are they going to see it?
Let’s look at the evidence.
Female, aged 28 who is excited about a wedding. Her wedding! Oh my god!!!
So, what are her problems? Let’s bullet them.
Money – it’s going to cost a lot!
Don’t know where to start.
No venue – overwhelmed by choice!
Where are they searching for the answers? Is it Google or is it social media? Sites like Quora are a great resource to find answers and Pinterest is a very visual way to get inspiration. So, two places where they may be! What about Facebook – 28 years old? Possibly, but is this where you should be focussing most of your effort? What about Instagram or TikTok? Where will ads work?
Be present where your audience already exists.
Remember you can have more than one audience. But don’t spread yourself, or resources too thinly.
3. Have a website? Great! If not – get one. NOW!
Or at least get a blog.
This is a practical step you may need support with, as understanding what you need will require real thought.
I say get a website because generally, all businesses see the benefit of having one, but you may not have the resources to deal with a project of that scale. There are great resources out there you can maximise, like WIX and Squarespace, that offer good deals on hosting packages and easy drag and drop functions, but it’s still going to take time and effort.
But there’s one thing you must have, and that’s a blog.
Why? I don’t want to write about what I had for breakfast and show the world!
And I don’t want to read it either.
The purpose of a blog is web presence. It allows you to host your content somewhere because let’s face it, social media won’t do everything you need it to do – a blog you make your own.
You can use it to tell your story, host how-to guides, publish professional articles, open up to third party ads, create landing pages – build your community.
Let’s stick with our wedding coordinator example.
You have followed step one and identified your goals. You want to get leads. You have created a persona – Ellie. So, you want to get leads from a whole bunch of Ellies! Her problem is that she doesn’t know where to start and she’s Googling for answers. She gets a hit and it’s your blog titled ‘Just got engaged and don’t know where to start? Here are 10 things you should do’.
Ellie reads the blog, loves what you have had to say and sees your CTA (call to action) ‘Want to know more’ and acts – you receive the notification and make the callback. You have a lead.
It doesn’t end here. This is blog post is designed to give you a start. There is so much more to a full content strategy, such as;
SEO management such as Link building and keyword research
Branding/Tone of voice
The list can go on and on, but if you focus on these three tips first, the rest will come with experience.