You’ve heard all the great stuff about content marketing, how brands like Coca-Cola and Warby Parker use content to drive engagement through the roof, and you want a piece of the action.
There’s just one problem: you’re a small business owner. You don’t have the time, money, or energy to pump out content like the big shots do. You may understand the value of engaging content, but producing enough to actually maintain your audience’s attention is a whole other ballgame, amiright?
You’re not alone, small business owner. According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America, “producing enough content” is the biggest challenge for B2B marketers.
Bummer. Just because you don’t have the marketing budget of Nike or an army of copywriters at your disposal, however, doesn’t mean you can’t produce enough content for your small business. While you’re competitors scramble to blast out content at the expense of important business matters, you can produce enough content for your audience without having to sleep under your desk at night and/or write blog posts in the shower.
Here’s 5 tips to help you produce enough content for your small business and achieve your content marketing objectives:
1. Create an Epic Editorial Calendar
So, you want to produce enough content to fire up your audience year-round? Great! Problem is, pesky things like “meetings,” “safety training” and “stopping to talk about last night’s episode of Game of Thrones” can get in the way of brainstorming and churning out good content on a regular basis. What’s a well-meaning but crazy-busy small business owner to do? Why, create an editorial calendar of course!
It can be pretty difficult to brainstorm eBook ideas when you’re juggling phone calls, closing deals, and filling staplers.Take the time to plot out the amount and type of content you’ll need over the next few months and you’ll be way more prepared when it comes to actually produce the content you need.
A content calendar can help you create more content by streamlining your production process. Plan and maintain a content calendar for your business and you’ll never write a blog post in the bathroom again.
Here’s some great advice for creating an editorial calendar from Georgy Cohen over at Meet Content.
2. Repurpose Awesome Stuff You Already Have
I guarantee you’ve repurposed at least one thing at some point in your life. Ever make a casserole out of leftover hamburger meat or turn an old tire into a swingset? You’ve repurposed! I, for one, used to be pretty fond of making pirate telescopes out of old paper towel rolls. See, even eight-year-olds repurpose stuff!
According to Dan Kraus, marketing consultant for Duct Tape Marketing, “Writing something and just using it one time in one place, is a painful and expensive way to burn out your content creation energy.” Repurposing existing content can help you produce enough content to meet your needs without burning up your energy. It’s also a great way to maintain your audience’s interest throughout the entire sales cycle.
Say you write a really great blog post that hundreds of people like and share. Congrats! Wouldn’t it be great to take some of the info from that post and turn it into a sweet SlideShare presentation? You could even tweet catchy blurbs from the post! Talk about a total win situation.
So long as your new content has value, there’s no reason why you can’t repurpose it for a different medium. I mean, heck, Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” started out as a novella and went on to become a stage play, movie, cartoon, etc, each iteration offering a unique take on the story.
Take a look at the content you have and see what other kinds of content you can make out of it. Even a blog post titled “Top 10 Best Foot Fungus Remedies” has the potential to turn into an eBook, podcast, or dare say it, a video.
3. Get the Whole Gang Involved
Unless you’re a mime or you’re some sort of super-evolved businessperson with ten arms, chances are you get your job done by working alongside other people. And, unless you’re a total ignoramus, you understand that the people on your team possess multiple talents and know your business inside and out. If that’s so, why aren’t you tapping other people in your organization to help create content?
You don’t have to leave your content production process up to yourself or that one lady on your team who “once wrote a short story back in high school.” Let team members on all sides contribute and you’ll produce more than enough relevant content. Sure, you might need to do some editing here and there, but what’s important are the ideas presented. Your audience is simply looking for good information from people who know their stuff e.g. your lovely staff.
Ask someone in HR to write a blog post. Talk to the IT dude and get his input on the company newsletter. Your employees will be psyched you asked them to contribute and will put effort into creating top-notch content. As a result, you’ll have tons of great content from a variety of unique perspectives. Not even a super-evolved businessperson with ten arms could do that.
4. Curate Til the Cows Come Home
You know when you’re browsing the interwebz and run across a crazy cat video, so you share it on Facebook and watch as your friends Like and Share all the wacky kitty exploits? Well, you can engage your customers just as well by curating content that’s relevant to them.
The beauty of the Internet is that there are basically a bajillion pieces of content out there just waiting to be shared. Even if you sell processed cheese in a can, you can bet there are memes, blog posts, and other types of content out there relevant to cheese in a can-eating consumers.
Do the same you would do with your friends and share existing content with your audience. Add some commentary (e.g. “Look at these kittens dressed up like clowns!”) and you’ll turn great content into great context-driven content.
Content curation can help you fill in the gaps in your content production process, so make it an essential part of your marketing. Just go easy on the crazy cat vids, alright?
5. Embrace User-Generated Content
Despite your belief that your product or service is the greatest thing to grace the world since the Choco Taco and all conversation should circle around your business, your customer see things otherwise. They’re concerned with themselves, not your stuff. Oh, and they really like attention.
What if you could put your customers in the spotlight and ease your content production process at the same time? With user-generated content, you can. According to Jasmine Henry, Content Marketing Manager at Inbound Marketing agents, “Leveraging the thoughts, words, and images of real human beings – with their permission, of course – can make your brand über-trustworthy. “Not only that, but it will help boost your content production at zero cost.
Ask your customers to submit photos or videos. Run a contest or a poll. Offer prizes. Get your audience involved and you’ll not only facilitate a greater sense of community, but meet your content needs. Hey, it’s a whole lot easier than trying to outdo the mighty Choco Taco.
You don’t need to be Coca-Cola or Wal-Mart to produce enough content to engage your audience 365 days a year. All you need to do is be smart and strategic and you’ll have plenty of great content to go around.
Now, time to go turn this blog post into a screenplay.
What strategies do you use to produce enough content for your small business? Is it really possible to produce tons of great content without a hefty content marketing team on your side? Do you like Choco Tacos? Let us know in the comment section below.
I love the idea of a content calendar. Much of my time is spent trying to figure out what to write. One thing I do to keep content creation going is I have a notebook (file on computer) with topics that I want to write about. Whenever I hear a quote, think of an idea, see a good picture I clip it and put it in the file. Then when it is time to write I have lots of bits of information to help write a great piece.