So here’s the thing… content matters.
We discussed this not so long ago in the first of our content marketing series posts.
Most of us know that content matters and we want to ensure that the content we are putting out is valuable.
There’s just one problem.
Coming up with new content ideas can be tough. Finding the time to invest in content marketing can *seem* like a challenge too. That in itself is a whole other conversation but the point for now is that creating content consistently has it’s challenges.
When small business owners face these challenges it’s usually when they get to a point where they’re rushing around to post something on the spot or they leave their accounts to go stagnant.
Can you relate?
Content marketing is really a habit and like any habit, getting started is the hardest part. That’s why I put together the ‘5-Point Content Strategy.’
It’s not perfect but it’s a great template to follow when you have limited resources and need to start building consistency in the content you are putting out there.
What is the 5 Point Content Strategy?
This is basically a way of categorising your content into 5 core buckets based on purpose, intention and customer needs. There are really 5 core reasons we want to create content:
- To Inform
- To Educate
- To Inspire
- To Entertain
- To Promote
If you can break your content down into these 5 buckets, it becomes a whole lot easier to decided how much of what type of content to post and when.
So let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail.
Naturally you want to keep your community up to date with information that affects them and potentially their buying decision. It’s also important to raise awareness for your industry and what you do.
While you might be posting these kind of updates on your website, not everyone is going to check that. It’s is 100% your responsibility to go to your audience, where and when they want to share this information.
If there’s something important they should know about then there’s an expectation that they’ll receive that communication in their news feed.
You can share informative content in many different ways depending on your industry and target audience.
- Company Updates
- Industry News
- Informative articles
- Newsworthy information
- Case Studies
Example in action: Chris Marr, The Content Marketing Academy
This is a great example of a content piece that informs an audience and could definitely influence community members decision to purchase their own ticket for this event. Ultimately it’s social proof. Suddenly, almost all these tickets have sold so the mindset of someone who might have been sitting on the fence could very much be:
“Oh em lemon squeezy, I am suddenly experience the sudden fear of missing out right now. I have to be at this event!”
There’s a sense of urgency. The reason I picked this example is that it could be seen as promotional and in some way, that is of course the intention. However, it’s informing rather than selling. There’s no real call to action here but simply through informing his audience, Chris has potentially taken his community from a social mindset into a transactional mindset.
Educate your community. They are potential customers.
If you want them to take a particular action, they need to know and understand what that action is. It’s not enough to say you provide value, you need to show your community what that value is and why it even matters. Take this opportunity to give your community a taste of the value you can provide so they can see the benefits without the initial risk investment. Build that trust.
You can also use this opportunity to help customers understand all that goes into doing what you do. Answer their questions. Help them to understand.
We all have that bad habit of moaning when a customer grumbles at the price or the fact they can’t get a refund or that they take too much of our time. We often get caught up thinking it’s their problem when in fact it’s ours. We haven’t set clear expectations and managed those relationships to the best of our abilities. It’s our role to be a teacher and help them to understand why things are the way they are. That comes through education.
- Addressing FAQ’s
- Blog Posts /Videos/ Podcasts etc.
- Other People’s Content (adding your own view)
- Sharing ideas and thoughts
Example in action: Coach Flo, Connect Coaching
Flo has done a great job of providing actionable value and explanation. As a result, Flo’s community, entrepreneurs of the dental and medical world, are going to be left feeling smarter and in a place where they can enhance their own business through the advice shared. Nice one Flo!
Everyone envisions an ‘ideal lifestyle’ they would like to lead that is often a little (or a lot) different from the one they are currently leading.
Our job is to to understand ‘where they are now’ and ‘where they want to be’ then use that information to show them:
- a) That ideal lifestyle.
- b) How what we do will help them get to where they want to be.
We want to connect our brand to that lifestyle because that’s something they want to be part of. Never forget that people buy with emotion and then justify with logic.
You aren’t selling a product/service. You are selling a solution. If you can show your community how you can make their lives as individuals better then they will be inspired to take action.
Now before I share some examples, I want to address the whole ‘quote love’ thing we see on social right now. Quotes are amazing and inspiration but when you are just sharing the same quotes as everyone else, it’s not really providing value. It’s just regurgitated noise that often doesn’t tie to your brand and what it is you are trying to accomplish.
When you do share these quotes, make sure you tie them to your brand adding additional value. Better yet, share your own quotes speaking directly to and with your audience. This way, you are inspiring with purpose and intention in a way that will build relationships with the exact people you are trying to reach.
- Before / Afters
- Customer Stories
- Quotes (Relevant)
- Inspirational Lifestyle Images
Example in action: Pam Laird, Fin and Co.
I mean, can we talk hair goals for a second? This is a perfect example of inspiring your ideal target audience. Every girl is going to look at this and think ‘I want that!’ It inspires girls to look good and feel good about themselves. At the same time, it is completely related to the company and the value proposition they are putting forward. They don’t need to ‘sell, sell, sell’ because these stunning pictures do it for them.
Social media is meant to be, well, social. Let’s face it. The mass user doesn’t jump on Facebook or Twitter to be sold to. They jump on to connect with friends, relax and enjoy fun conversations. As business owners, this is something we really have to understand and respect. After all, we’re marketing on rented land. We don’t set the rules but we should work with them because using a social media platform the way it’s supposed to be used is how you will get people to connect, engage and convert. If you’re not funny, you don’t have to be. Entertainment can come in many forms. You don’t even have to create your own content, you can curate other peoples. This means taking someone else’s content and adding your own twist so that it’s highly relevant for your specific audience. Really, it just comes down to being a user.Take time to enjoy these platforms. When you understand what it means to be a social media user, it becomes so much easier to align the content that you put as a business with the interests of your audience. I’ve shared some examples but what I would say, just as a consideration, don’t try too hard. As I said, be a user. Engage.
- Questions (Good market research too!)
- Entertaining stories
- Personal Insights (People want to know you)
Example in action: Cara Mackay, Gillies and Mackay
Love this video! It’s real, its human, it’s entertaining and it ties to the business. Ultimately, it builds a huge amount of trust because customers will see Cara and her team as people they know, like and can relate to. The other great thing about this piece of content is that it also informs and educates their community too.
Promotion might seem like an obvious part of your content strategy but often business owners can get caught in either one of two extremes:
- Sell. Sell. Sell. Buy My Stuff. <– Obnoxious in your face promotion
- Free. Free. Free. Here’s everything. <– Providing so much value that you forget/ feel guilty about promotion.
Neither one works. When is that last time were you excited to receive a cold call or direct mail? Exactly. If you don’t like it as a user, neither with your customers. They deserve more. It’s about serving rather than selling. On the other hand, if you give away everything and don’t promote ever then you condition your audience to believing you are there to provide free resources. When it comes to asking for a sale, they become reluctant because they don’t want to pay after getting all this free stuff. It’s about balance. You do want to offer value up front but you are also a business which means you need to make money. Customers really don’t mind paying for your products/service if that expectation is made up front. In fact, if you get the mix right then they often want to pay you money because they trust that the return on that investment will be huge.
As our good friend @GaryVee says:
” Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.”
Example in action: Julie Christie, Tea Break Tog
Julie has done a great job of putting out a very clear call to action. Her audience know exactly what she is promoting, how it is going to benefit them and how to take the next step.
This is just to get you started on your journey in content marketing. Like I said in the beginning, it’s a habit and the more consistent you are with it, the easier it will get and the more traction you will see. After all, reps build muscle.
I truly hope you have found this valuable. If you have any questions at all, you know I’m always here to help.
Much love from my heart to yours.