For ambition laden, bootstrapping small businesses, the world of online content marketing has been a boon! All you need is a laptop, a website, some (mostly) free applications and a handful of social media accounts. Suddenly you’re attracting new clients left right and center – or not.
And if you’re not – then the first place you look is your social media strategy, right? Because with all these tools at your disposal surely you only need to try a new app, adjust a posting schedule here, a publish date there…
… nope – it’s still not working.
The reason your content strategy probably isn’t working is two-fold.
1) Check your focus
The first reason is if all your online marketing is based around selling your product or service and NOT showing your audience what is in it for them.
Clients are notoriously self-obsessed (and we mean this in the nicest possible way), they have a need, and they are looking for someone to help them.
But if you are not listening to to your clients, then you are probably not helping them.
- You know what client needs you are able to help with (and which you can’t).
- Create content that responds to these needs
- Share content that adds to what you’ve created (and doesn’t distract or contradict)
2) Make it a priority
The second reason is bigger and harder to solve. Consistently creating original content that resonates with your audience IS HARD. It takes time, effort, and research. It requires that you do things you may not be entirely comfortable doing – writing, or speaking to a camera for example. And it is relentless – new content has to be created, old content re-packaged, new ideas tested and adjusted. When you incorporate content creation into your overall marketing strategy it needs to become part of your work-flow.
To make it easy:
Create a content foundation
Understand who you are ‘speaking’ to with your content and what THEY want to hear. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how you can respond to your clients needs, then you are throwing darts in the dark and hoping to hit a bulls-eye.
Create a plan
Businesses who are doing well with social media are the ones who dedicate time and resources to the task of creating original content. They don’t simply share other peoples content and buy ‘likes’ on Facebook. They chart 6 to 12 months of content in as much detail as possible. They tie their content into events such as Easter or the change of seasons, or they create buzz around a new product or service. Content is released strategically, with purpose and intent.
Social media and content creation is no longer an add-on task for an employee. It requires skills and knowledge specifically around content creation, content strategy and social media. The ability to post to FaceBook and Instagram are not enough.
Check and measure
So many businesses try blogging for a few months, don’t become an overnight success, and give up. Blogging for your business is not a sales tool. It is not advertising and it won’t give you big, fast results in a few months. However, over 12 months or more blogging becomes one of the most effective online relationship builders available. And in today’s online environment, relationships are becoming increasingly important. Increases in comments, shares and views on your content are all important indicators that your content is working.
Nobody sets out to reach a destination only to stop before the halfway mark and declare the journey a failure. Set your content destination, and go the distance.