Why Content Marketing & 4 Itty Bitty Tips
Content marketing is all the rage these days. But if you really think about it, it’s something that, unlike other marketing trends, it’s something that small business operators should continuously endeavour to do. Sure, dancing cats and singing hedgehogs are hilarious and attract a lot of eyes, but it’s like eating marshmallows as your main course. It’s high in sugar and fat, without any substance or nutrition. There are tonnes of lists out there touting the benefits of content marketing and there are people telling you how to write for SEO and how it will help your website rank better on Google and all that good stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all very important. I’m really not trying to put these benefits down. But if you strip it all back, forget platforms and forget tactics and strategies for a moment. What’s the function of marketing? I’m not talking about sales here. What is the function of marketing? Peeling back all the layers, marketing is in its most simplest form, effective communication.
What marketing does then, in its essence, is putting strategies and tactics in place to let people know who you are, what you do, and why they should choose you and your company to do it. Marketing isn’t sales. Let’s not conflate the two. But putting together a good marketing strategy helps sales. When you’re selling and/or pitching, the potential client that you’re talking to has probably already taken steps to ensure that your team is a potential supplier for them. Otherwise, out of all your competitors, why are they taking time out to speak with you? There’s got to be at least a handful of people that do what you do, and this potential client really isn’t about to waste their time to speak with all of them right?
So it’s likely that the potential client has already gone through some sort of a vetting process to get to this stage. And really, that’s what marketing is. Executing strategies and tactics that help potential clients to vet you, your organisation, and your offerings. So what better way than to do that than content marketing? Content marketing maximises an acronym that I saw in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines a while ago, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, or, E.A.T. Pardoning the pun, it simply means, have you established that your offerings are good enough to eat? What should a small business operator be doing in terms of content marketing and what should you focus on?
What is your brand identity? What is your brand message? Any content that you put out there should reflect this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Branding happens at every point of contact. Let’s go back to that dentist. If you know a dentist, and every time you see them, they are drunk off their rear ends. Are you very likely going to go see this dentist when it comes time for you to have a root canal? Similarly, if the content you’re providing is off brand, you create a disconnect to that brand. So regardless of the content that you’re providing, make sure that the look, feel, and voice is in line with your brand.
What Platform(s) Will You Be Using?
What platform(s) you should use depends on what you’re offering and what you’re offering it to. It also depends on your content and how you plan on presenting the content. Even though they’re both video-based platforms, the video that you’re putting on to TikTok, is likely going to be different than your video on Linkedin. The video that you put on to Linkedin, is likely going to be different than your video on Youtube. Not only are you likely communicating with differing age groups on the various platforms, you’re also likely dealing with differing priorities and purposes as to why your audience is on the different platforms. But this doesn’t only pertain to social media platforms. It also relates to books, blogs, podcasts, and email marketing as well. So how do you decide?
Consider what type of an audience you want to reach. Are you B2B? Are you B2C? Are you more focused on lifestyle? Are you selling a widget? Just as a quick example, if you’re selling a rubber duckie, how much content do you think you’ll be able to put out there in the form of a blog or a podcast? Consider in depth what demographic your target audience is in. Think about age, income, lifestyle, interests, and geography. Think about where your audience is in their lives, what they’re doing. How the content that you’re providing them impacts their lives. Think about where you want to be reaching them. Are you trying to reach them at work? Are you trying to reach them at home? Or maybe, you’re trying to reach them while they’re bored out of their minds engaging in an activity with their significant other?
Think about who you are, where your comfort zone is, and what areas you want to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Marketing is about effective communication. So what medium works best for you to communicate effectively? Personally, I hate cameras. I see that red blinking light that tells me that there’s a video camera on and I don’t know what to say, where to look, how to act. I was once interviewed for an event that I was participating in and I happened to know the person producing the video segments. After the post production was done, he came up to me and said, “you weren’t kidding about not being great on camera. Yours was the most difficult segment that we had to edit”. And while I understand that there are courses and coaches that can help me with this, I don’t’ think that at this particular moment in time, that it’s the most effective use of my time as there are other options for me. To be honest, starting a podcast was pretty out of my comfort zone. But it’s a medium that I think is slightly more comfortable for me than video… and well, we’ll never grow if we never push ourselves right?
Another thing that you need to consider in terms of content marketing, is consistency. For content marketing to be effective, this is something that you need to consider. How often are you going to be able to blog? How often are you going to be able to record a podcast? Make videos? And how long will you be doing this for? Are you going for a couple of weeks? A few months? Or is this a long term thing that you want to do in perpetuity for the foreseeable future? And how often are you going to be putting content out there during this period? Are you aiming to put something out there multiple times a day? A couple times a week? Once a month? Quarterly? Annually?
Remember, the point of content marketing is to establish your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. If you put out there that they should expect something from you every day, and after 2 weeks, you stop doing that, what’s that saying about your trustworthiness?
Another thing to keep in mind with regard to consistency, is the content that you’re providing. Your audience is coming to you for something specific. So make sure that the content you’re putting out there is relevant. If you’re a dentist, showing a video of a dancing cat, while entertaining, is probably not relevant to your dental practice, unless of course, maybe you have a dancing cat mascot at your office. See? It all depends.
If you’re engaging in email marketing, please treat your email list as gold. These are people that have chosen to opt-in and hear from you. Don’t hound them incessantly. And pro tip? Learn to segment your email list so that the content you’re providing is targeted.
Anytime you’re putting content out there, before you hit publish, ask yourself one question. If I’m the audience for this content. Why should I care? Think about that dancing cat.
You might decide to publish on multiple channels. Make sure that the content you’re providing is appropriate for that platform.
Engage, engage, engage. So make sure that you are also allotting appropriate time for the social media platform(s). Has someone liked or shared content that you’ve published? Find out why, start a communication with them; maybe they might be your next client.