If you read my article last week, you’ll know that I looked at content marketing…
Why Ignoring Content Creation Will Cost You Time and Sales
Okay, so maybe I’m a little biased, after all, creating custom content for businesses is a big part of what I do, but I wouldn’t have been able to build a business on something if it didn’t work.
Content creation is the future of ‘soft’ marketing, and the longer you ignore it, the more likely your business is to suffer from it.
But first of all, what do I mean when I say ‘soft’ marketing?
Well, we all know what ‘hard’ marketing is; those TV and radio ads that scream products and sales at you or the billboards and signs that say “Call Now!” I’m not saying these aren’t effective marketing avenues; for some businesses, especially ones that have some marketing cash to splash about, these options can prove to be highly profitable.
But what about the small local business that doesn’t have a whole marketing team behind it and about $100,000 to throw at a TV commercial with a catchy slogan? What about the business that wants to communicate with its market differently? Well, that’s where ‘soft’ marketing comes in.
‘Soft’ marketing isn’t about throwing things in your audience’s face and hoping that they’re shocked or entertained enough to buy, ‘soft’ marketing is about wooing your customer. If ‘hard’ marketing is ACDC then soft marketing is Michael Buble; both great acts but they have different effects.
‘Soft’ marketing is for the brand that wants to build a loyal, engaged following; it’s about slowly but assertively inserting your brand into your audience’s psyche so that when they do decide to purchase, your business it the first they think of. And it all starts with the right content.
So what is the right content?
Well, in my writing I usually like to bring it back to the big 3: Stories, People and Value-Adding Content.
According to the Harvard Business Review, our brains are actually hardwired to remember and connect with stories:
“When you want to motivate, persuade, or be remembered, start with a story of human struggle and eventual triumph. It will capture people’s hearts – by first attracting their brains.”
I don’t know exactly how your business started up, but I’m willing to bet that there were plenty of moments of struggle and eventual triumph … So tell your potential clients about that! Why should they support your business and not the multinational down the street? What is it that makes you and your brand unique?
Of course ‘people’ fall into this vein too. Because part of the charm of choosing to hire, work with, or purchase from a Small Business is that you’re often dealing with the same small group of friendly people who you’ll get to know very well, very quickly.
I see so many Small Businesses trying to strap on some stilts to make themselves look a whole lot bigger than they are, but the truth is your ‘Small’ Business status can really work to your advantage if you just know how to use it.
Use your content to introduce yourself and your staff and tell the story of the people behind your business. Trust me, once your followers connect with you, and what you’re all about (even if it’s through a computer screen) they’re going to want to support your business.
The last one is a big one because this is what makes content marketing so different from any other vein of communication. Whilst ‘hard’ marketing is only about advertising products and services you sell, content marketing at its core is about creating pieces (blogs, podcasts, videos, social media posts) that will be interesting and valuable to your target market; even if it doesn’t directly link to a product that you sell.
How does that work? Well if you sell mountain climbing gear, you might do a blog post about what you need to pack for your next climb, or you might do a podcast interview with somebody who’s climbed Everest, or maybe a series of social media posts on the best mountain views in the world. Of course you’ll filter some product advertising throughout, but once people see that you’re posting things that they actually want to read and watch, things that are valuable and informative to them, they’re much more likely to hit ‘follow’ and ‘subscribe’ and become a part of that loyal, engaged group you were looking for all along.
So yeah, I’m a little bit biased when it comes to content marketing, but that’s because I’ve seen it work time and time again for Small Businesses.
So don’t put off your content creation any longer! Whether it’s a Facebook page or a blog series, get writing and start wooing those clients.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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