Is Content Marketing Right For Your Business?
If you are like most business owners, there are probably aspects of your business that you absolutely love – and some you absolutely don’t. Wouldn’t it be great if you only had to worry about doing the things you love? Of course, running a business doesn’t really work that way. You need to do a little bit of everything, and marketing is among the most important.
The latest hot topic that everyone is talking about is enough to send most small business owners running for the hills: content marketing. How’s your writing? And when’s the last time you spoke on video and or even recorded yourself on audio? That may sound intimidating, so start by asking yourself if it’s even right for your business. Usually, the answer is yes – but here’s the single best question to ask if you’re not sure:
Q: Do my customers ask me questions about my products or services to learn about what they are buying; and use it as a way to test my credibility and knowledge before buying from me?
If you answered yes, you should start thinking about content marketing. As you do, here are the three most important things to consider:
1. Understand Your Real Expertise. When you sell services it may be easy for you to pinpoint the expertise you’re selling. What you might not think about, though, is that you are ALWAYS selling expertise along with products. Walmart, for example, doesn’t just sell the products they carry in their store. They sell their expertise at convenience and cutting costs down to the lowest possible. So how do they promote that? Their latest series of ads encourages customers to bring in a receipt from a competitor grocery store, and they’ll calculate how much you would have saved by coming to Walmart instead. It is a powerful reminder that the most successful brands always remember the expertise they sell, and not just the products sitting on their shelves.
Bottom Line – Don’t focus on the products or services you sell, focus on what makes your business the best at selling them. When you focus on expertise instead of product, you will uncover the right foundation to use content marketing effectively.
2. Think About The Channels That Matter. Have you ever heard of someone selling a timeshare online? Of course not – because most of us would escape long before we even hear the pitch. That product is sold through detailed online seminars and in-person lengthy sales pitches. While the typical timeshare sales pitch may not be example people love – the fact is that they, like infomercial marketers, are masters at using a mix of content to sell an experience through appropriate channels. The lesson for your business is simple. If your customers do research online, you should consider writing a blog with relevant content to help you be found. If they watch videos, then you should consider that channel either in person or through online video.
Bottom Line: The key is to follow the channels your potential customers are likely to pay attention to, and focus on creating content there instead of just jumping into writing or shooting video with no plan in place.
3. Get The Right Partners. Just because you will focus on content marketing doesn’t mean you need to turn yourself into a writer or film producer overnight. We live in a time where there are plenty of creative freelance groups and individual experts you could work with to help create excellent content. And of course, you can always experiment on your own before engaging a group like that. When it comes to building great content, logical and useful are always better guiding principles than flashy and super creative. Remember, you’re not trying to win any advertising awards – you’re just trying to bring customers to your business by creating content that helps solve some kind of problem.
Bottom Line – You don’t need to be a professional content producer to get value out of content marketing – start by experimenting, and engage one of the excellent consultants who are listed as partners at the Content Marketing Institute if and when you are ready to get more serious about it.