By HEIDI COHEN | Published: AUGUST 3, 2011
To help your firm jump into content marketing in a way that fits your business and available budget, here are seven tips other businesses have used to effectively add content to a marketing plan.
1. Provide useful information
For on-the-go consumers, use bite-sized content chunks that can be presented on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter or your blog. Give customers a tip or photo of the day that’s appropriate to your business. Your goal is to distribute useful nuggets that readers want and will pass-along.
For example, I use my blog to provide useful, actionable bits of marketing advice.
2. Solve customer problems
Remember that fulfilling prospects’ needs is at the core of marketing, so become a destination for information by serving content that answers your target audience’s big questions. Not sure what to write about? Check with your customer-facing staff for their ideas. Alternatively, create a professional blog that addresses an unmet customer need.
For example, scissors manufacturer Fiskars created a fun blog called Fiskateers to give consumers craft ideas and inspiration.
3. Offer an education
Whether it’s how to market a product or how to put on makeup, you can win prospects with educational information on topics they need and want to learn about. This type of content works well both in text and video formats, and it doesn’t require you to be a university professor to work well. Even everyday people can be great presenters and spokespersons.
A great example is Lauren Luke, a British woman who’s not a model or beauty queen, but she’s built a following through her beauty-themed videos on YouTube where she’s known as Panacea81 (BTW, she got a deal with Sephora after building her following!)
4. Strut your stuff
While no one likes a show-off, portraying your work visually on your website is a great way to pull prospects in. Use photographs, video and/or presentations especially for products and services where there are perceived purchase risks such as a major event like a wedding. Get real people to show they are using your services and let their creativity do the marketing work (but don’t forget to get permission to use their likeness).
5. Entertain people
Isn’t this the reason we spend time searching YouTube and being couch potatoes? This is old-fashioned branding at its best. Think of soap operas that were created to engage women during the afternoon.
6. Connect with prospects’ passions and/or hobbies
People love their hobbies and will make unusual trade-offs to support them. Whether it’s their dogs, quilting, or photography, if your business caters to their passions, you’re in luck.
7. Leverage other people’s audiences
In lieu of building your own blog, you can become a regular contributor to one or more blogs in your category. You can also actively engage in the social media conversation by commenting on other people’s articles. This option has the added benefit of reducing the investment required to build your own audience and can spread your influence more quickly. This content acts in a way that’s similar to advertising in another publication.
For example, there are many blogs that use regular and guest contributors such as the Content Marketing Institute or Search Engine Land.
One of the keys to stretching a small or medium-sized business’ marketing budget is to make sure that your content engages your target market to solve their problems, overcome their objections or give them a reason to buy. Start small to test and see which options work best for what you offer.
What other ideas would you add to this list of content marketing options?
Author: Heidi Cohen
Heidi Cohen is an actionable marketing expert. As president ofRiverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi works with online media companies and e-tailers to increase profitability with innovative marketing programs based on solid analytics. During the course of 20 years, Heidi has obtained deep experience in direct and digital marketing across a broad array of products including soft goods, financials services, entertainment, media entities and crafts-oriented goods. Heidi shares her actionable marketing insights on her blog. Find Heidi Cohen online at Twitter@heidicohen, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Other posts by Heidi Cohen