One of today’s top online marketing trends has to be content marketing and it’s not just big businesses that can get in on the action. Small businesses can also use the story telling methods of content marketing to help share their brand message online. In this two part series we’ll explore what types of content you should be sharing and will discuss the content you can utilise to generate engagement, build brand and drive new leads. Starting with the cornerstone of a solid content marketing program, in this post we cover blogging, videos and ebooks.
1) Blog Posts
Running a blog serves two key functions for your business; as well as highlighting your expertise in your industry, it will enable you to optimise online content around your business name, products and services, so you can be found in search engine results.
a) Informational Posts
Prove to your customers and prospects that your business is an expert in its field but posting about your industry. By writing informational content using targeted keywords, you’ll be able to improve you blog’s visibility online, which in turn will increase brand awareness, credibility and your online reputation.
b) Educational & How-To Posts
Blog posts that educate or teach consumers about your products and services are useful for building interest. Writing about a business-related process is a practical idea. For example if you own a hairdressing salon you could post a step-by-step guide on how to tame unruly hair. Or if you run a bakery, you could offer tips on what different types of flours are best used for. These are great tactics to help your existing customers enjoy the most out of your products or services.
c) Special Offers & Event Posts
A useful way to build a loyal following on your blog is to regularly post special offers or deals for your products or services. Blogs should never be overly promotional, but giving your subscribers incentives every now and then will boost awareness and engagement. If you’re involved with any charities or community events then your business blog is a great place to announce these and provide readers a wrap up after the event.
Video is fast becoming one of the top forms of content distribution. YouTube alone received 12,900,000 unique views from Australia in July 2014. Of course many of those views are for the viral type of entertainment video, however videos featuring products or services are a handy way for brands to encourage consumers to buy, with 6 out of 10 Australians saying that a video will influence their purchasing decision.
a) Customer Reviews
If you have happy customers who would be willing to share their positive experiences with your business, why not ask them to record a short video talking about the benefits of choosing your products or services? Share these testimonials on social media, your blog and website in order to build brand credibility with your prospects.
If your products are best represented in action then a video demonstration will deliver an easy to understand message. To get the most out of all your videos they should be short yet informative. These demonstration videos can also be included in blog posts on the same topic.
c) Company Culture
To reach your prospects on a more personal level a great idea is to create videos that show the human side of your business. These would work well on the ‘About Us’ section of your company website. Connect with local consumers for example by featuring a video showing your business participating in a local event. Or you could record on film the story of how your business began.
If your business wants to present a larger amount of written content, imagery or information then an ebook is a clever way to do so. Generally ebooks will need to be downloaded, so this can be a useful method of generating new leads and collecting important information from prospects via a web form. From a lead generation perspective it’s crucial any ebooks you create are of high quality, well designed and branded, plus include a conversion method such as a tracking phone number.
a) Thought Leadership & Expertise
If you’re an expert on a process, system or topic related to your industry then this would be a fantastic subject for an ebook because typically they’d include a volume of information too long to cover in a blog post or video. Always select topics that you have a genuine expertise in so consumers see you as a trusted source.
Creating an ebook is also a great way to bring together a collection of similar tutorial topics. Detailed descriptions, tips, multiple images and step-by-step instructions can be combined into a comprehensive guide booklet for prospects interested in your business industry.
c) Product Benefits
If you stock a range of variations on the same type of product or service then an ebook that describes the common uses and key benefits of these will be very handy for consumers. A fantastic way to show the diversity of your offering, whilst giving prospects a detailed comparison between products, ebooks will equip the reader with all the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
By providing your future customers with detailed information in the form of blog posts, videos and ebooks you can demonstrate expertise in your field and drive new leads!
What kinds of content have you created for your business? Let us know in a comment the types of blog posts, videos and ebooks you have included in your content marketing strategy and how they’ve worked for you!