When thinking about content marketing for your business as a way to get attention and draw people into potential business activity, it starts with thinking about and conveying the bigger story of the community you serve. No matter the size of your company, this isn’t as difficult as you might think. Story is how we’re built to think. That’s a good start.
A short while back, I attended the opening of the Boston Microsoft Store. I met up with Dr. Mark Drapeau, who works as a kind of trust agent for Microsoft with the innovative side of government. When he talks with people at large, say via his Twitter account, he points out various and sundry fun and interesting conversations that might appeal to geeks of all flavors, and yet, he stays aware of his corporate mandate so that some level of the content he shares on social networks is appropriate for the types of people he helps on behalf of Microsoft. It’s a way of showing people that Mark has many facets, that he’s a participant in the community he serves, and that he is also available to help with business.
My friend, Ferg Devins, at Molson Coors in Canada has a Molson in the Community blog where they do just this. They write posts that spotlight giving projects like a donation for a pedestrian bridge, or attending and participating in a woman’s conference. Though Coors is obviously pointing out their participation in these projects, which is a professional and polite way of saying, “Hey look! We gave money to these projects!,” the concept of the posts are all very community-minded and it feels like a well-told story about other groups who matter.
But even now, as I’m recommending this to you (or am about to), you are forming up excuses as to why not. Most people have reasons like these:
- I’m too small to create content about my business.
- I’m too busy to prospect with content marketing.
- My industry is too boring.
- I can’t write well (or I’m dyslexic).
- No one reads my blog.
Let’s address all of these.
I’m Too Small to Create Content for My Business
David and Daniel Kleban run the Maine Beer Company. There are all of two employees. I forget who does what, but when I say there are two employees, one of them is the CFO and the bottle washer. The other is the CEO and the guy who stirs the mix. They have time. Some time, at least. So they post YouTube videos and they tweet with customers. I think no business is too small. I create all the content for [chrisbrogan.com], and more than half the content for Human Business Works. There’s only 3 of us total. So I’m not willing to accept I’m too small.
I’m Too Busy to Prospect With Content Marketing
Sir Richard Branson runs 400 companies and still finds time (lots of time) to blog, tweet, and do other media. He’s not very active on Pinterest, but who knows? Give him time.
If you view content marketing is wide area sales funnel activity, then saying you’re too busy to create useful content that serves your opportunity to acquire leads? What are you doing that’s more important than finding new customers? If your content isn’t helping you acquire leads, build trust, share the benefits of your products, educate your buyers, etc, then what are you doing over there? (See where we’re headed?)
My Industry is Too Boring
I hear this a lot. Max sells textiles, let’s say. Maybe he sells fabric that gets used in the making of office chairs. To you and me, that might be really boring. Maybe to the person who sources materials to buy office chairs, it’s not. Maybe even if it is boring, Max can focus on an element of the story that isn’t boring. Because in this case, maybe the buyer’s story is about giving the buyer back time by writing about (and ensuring) the level of quality that goes into the product, maybe by showing a video.
I Can’t Write Well
Or I’m Dyslexic. Sir Richard Branson is dyslexic. He gets by. But even if writing isn’t your strong suit, you can use something like Pinterest or Instagram and maybe show another side of your business or your projects. Nordstrom did it. Maybe you’re the Brooklyn Bowl and you’re showing off your place, and all the fun had there. See how this works?
Oh, and don’t forget YouTube. (I’m teasing. You can’t even begin to forget YouTube, but I’ll cover that in a subsequent post, okay?) Or you could launch a podcast.
No One Reads My Blog
That’s because you really weren’t writing for your buyer, were you? You were writing for you. What makes a site of value to your prospective buyer is exactly why I’m writing this post. Your role is to write for them, to give them content that’s of value to them. If you’re a shoe salesperson, you’re helping people see the latest trends, maybe, or helping them keep their leather more supple for longer. That’s one challenge.
On another path, you have to work on prospecting for buyers the way you normally would. No one said you could give up seeking out customers via traditional methods (seeking referrals, posting ads, giving free demonstrations, sending out postcards, etc). The new digital world doesn’t remove the need for potential mainstream or physical world outreach. But instead, what you’re going to do now that you didn’t before is you’ll invite people back to see the posts and other materials you’ve created for people on your site. And from there, you might even be given the opportunity to sell your product or service. It’s another point on the way to a sale, or another service element after, or both.
That’s the opportunity. Are you doing this? Are you telling your buyer’s story? What do you write about on your site right now?