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What to Know about Creating Content for Your Small Business

This is the second of three posts this month describing my Builder, Creator, Deliverer Marketing approach. Small business owners must manage so much. In these posts, I explain the breakdown of some marketing tasks and how to accomplish or delegate them. Read the first post on being a builder.

Many Raleigh and Cary business owners know they should create content for their website, social media, and marketing. The challenge is making it happen! Even if you have the desire, talent, and interest in content, you may not have the time.

We talked last week about getting started on the right path for marketing, the step called “Builder.” Now, it’s time to create the content, so the second step is what I call “Creator.” But how?

Making Content Decisions
“Content” can mean anything, really. A lot of business owners get hung up on the idea of blog posts. While those are useful for SEO and for your audience, you may not feel comfortable writing blog posts. For example, I loathe writing, but I love to design infographics. We talked last time about being your authentic self, and part of that is choosing what type of content you want to represent your business. Some of this is based on your preferences.

So your first decision is the type of content. We’ll get to that in a minute. Your second choice is whether you will create it yourself or hire some help.

DIY - Obviously, creating it yourself gives you full control. After completing your research, you know what message you want to convey and whom you are addressing. You probably have ideas about how it should look or sound. Hiring someone to help means adding his or her voice to the mix. Many business owners just get started also choose to create their own content to save money.

Hiring Help - While hiring help often feels like turning over control, you also gain new perspectives and another person’s expertise. You might be the expert at your business, so think about what more you can accomplish by working with someone who is the expert at content. While you may save money writing your own blog posts or shooting your own video, the result might not be as professional as you or your customers expect. Remember, too, you can always hire someone just to help with the small stuff.

The type of content you create is likely tied to whether you are creating your own or working with someone (or multiple people). Before you choose, ask yourself: What do I like to do? What can I do consistently? What will help my audience or appeal to them? Here are just a few ideas for types of content that will help market your business:

● Blog posts - We’ll start with these because they are the most common. Blog posts help with SEO and tell your audience something useful or entertaining. You will find it easy to hire help to write these if you’re not a writer, and it’s usually easy to come up with topics for many posts.
● Infographics - These images can look professional or fun. They are usually colorful, contain your logo, and present information in a visually appealing way. Infographics tell a story, explain how something works, or show facts or data using images and graphics. They’re very popular because they are so sharable on social media. There are programs online to help you create some, and you can find local help to create others, too. (Pro tip: If you use infographics on your blog, be sure to accompany it with text to help with SEO.)
● Videos - Camera-shy business people often avoid this one, but videos are the perfect tool for those of you who hate to write. Instead of typing up a blog post, you can turn on your phone and start speaking! And, they’re still good for SEO! Plus, you can share these on your blog and post them on YouTube. Simple video editing software is inexpensive (or free) and can make your video look, well not like a TV ad, but at least professional.
● Podcasts - Podcasts are hot right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to create one. Still, they’re fun because it’s a way for you to get your voice and ideas out there. Starting a podcast isn’t difficult and doesn’t require loads of equipment. If you’re going to create one, though, you must be prepared to create episodes on a regular basis.
● White papers - Love doing research? Got some surprising facts to share? You might find a white paper beneficial. White papers are two to 20 pages long (though it’s OK to be on the short end of that) and offer readers a deeper dive into a topic. I could create a white paper about infographics, for example, with an introduction, data, how to, examples, and more. You might create a white paper with case studies. White papers are a useful free thing to offer people in exchange for their email address. If you write a white paper, be sure to design it; people expect more than a plain Word document.
● Presentations - Presentations are underrated content. But if you spent hours upon hours preparing information for a talk you’re giving, why not use that on your website or social media? You can break it up into bits to share here and there or upload the whole thing to LinkedIn’s Slideshare, which is searchable.
● Webinars - Webinars are a time investment, and you’ll probably need to set up GoTo meeting or a similar service. You also must market, market, and market some more to get people there. These are mainly used as lead generation tools. You get email addresses and a captive audience. We could write a book on webinars, but in short, it’s best to offer some valuable insights and information relating to your business and sneak in some “about us” along the way.
● Brochures - Many businesses need brochures in addition to other content. Some don’t need paper to hand out. It just depends. The brochure is the “about us and why we can help” you can hand to potential clients. Having a leave behind helps ensure they’ll see your name on their desk. While many will throw it away, others will keep it for months and then finally reach out to you. Talk to us about whether a brochure is a good fit for your industry. And they don’t all have to be tri-folds! Brochures can be one page, a postcard, or almost anything else.

Do you need help creating marketing materials? Contact us to learn more about getting your marketing started right.

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