For those smaller businesses or SMEs just waking up to the power and necessity of content, it can be a hugely daunting prospect. Whether it is a law firm, solar energy supplier or company selling all types of batteries, just where do you start and what can be done?
For too many SMEs, the journey starts with contracts with web design companies, an SEO expert and possibly external marketing help. Everyone wants to help, but all too often the approach is fragmented. What use is a blunt tool that delivers erratic results? Everyone wants to stand out from the crowd, but just how do you do it? Get the content right and your website visitors will soon become your customers.
If planning is started from the perspective of the desired results and then mapped along the customer journey and back through the organisation it will be possible for SMEs to identify the activities and content that will make an impact.
And it doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need to become a professional journalist, you just need to learn how to use a blog to communicate your expertise in ways that customers find useful. Forget about the buzz words of inbound marketing, content marketing or content strategy. Instead focus on building a blog and sharing that content across social media channels. Think customers, and discover what questions they need answered.
And if the words blog and blogging fill you with dread, stop. It can be fun and done properly it will be rewarding, both personally and for your business. And who benefits most? Your customers, because you are empowering them, you are helping them make the right decisions, avoid mistakes, and save money. For SMEs it is a crowded market, and your blog can help you be unique.
Six tips to plan and produce content that works.
- What is the business goal? A simple question, but all too often it is ignored when it comes to defining what content will do to help achieve the required results. For even the smallest SMEs, content should not be an after-thought, it needs to be planned with a very clear goal in mind. Think about what types of content will help the business reach its targets.
- Understand your customer. You know what you want to sell, and you know the volume you have to sell. You have identified your adwords, and sales leads are being generated. But you know you don’t have enough of the right sales leads. Problem is, once people arrive at your website they’re not sticking around. What information does your potential customer need? What can you offer them that helps them make a decision and then engage with your products or services?
- Be unique. Create unique ideas that resonate with your customers. Make sure your blog is thinking like your customer and not like a business owner. Put yourself in the position of a customer.
- Empower customers. No matter how dry, practical or uninteresting your products, it doesn’t mean your content has to be equally boring. If you help people avoid mistakes, save money and get great value you will be seen as a trusted expert in your field. If you can teach people how not to mistakes and save money they will love you forever. If they love you, they are more likely to buy your products. Think inform, think share, think educate. Don’t go for the hard sell, as if this is done properly you won’t need to.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. Whatever you do don’t try to impress people with your deep technical knowledge as it will only act as a turn off. Take complex issues and then present them in simple and engaging ways. If you have a business selling bicycle tyres, don’t harp on about grades of synthetic rubber, instead talk about which tyres are ideal for different surfaces. Are they best for smooth roads or mountain biking? If you are a lawyer, don’t tell people your firm has been in business for over 100 years and don’t bore them with legalese. Instead offer some case studies that shows how to solve specific problems, get the right results and that it needn’t cost a fortune. Think video, and how it can be used to help people
- Know the questions people are asking and answer them (and have an opinion). Listening is key. If you know what people are asking, what they need to know, or what keeps them awake at night, you will be able to create great content. Don’t sit on the fence. People don’t want to hear wishy-washy nonsense, they want a clear and compelling message about how they can solve their problems, create opportunities or save money. Keep a running list of all the types of questions your customers ask and then answer them.