We live in a world where content is everything. Gone are the days when you could slap up a 200-word blog post (filled mostly with pictures) and call it a day. Now people want content that offers incredible value and is specific to where they're at. Otherwise they won't give you a second look.
Before you panic, creating good content is possible for every business. Unfortunately, many businesses aren't tapping into their resources to find that content. They're either putting out content that's flat and dull - or worse - they're not putting out anything at all.
So what type of content should you share? That all depends on your audience. First, you need to get crystal clear on your target audience. Who are they? What's important to them? What challenges are they facing? (if you're not sure where to go from here, check out my free 7-day email series, Accelerate Your Biz. You'll learn how to find your target audience and get them to listen).
Once you've honed in on your ideal audience, then you can start finding content that solves their problems. That content can come in many forms. Below are some ideas to get you started. This is by no means a complete list. It's meant to get your juices flowing and get you thinking about what type of content is a good fit for your business.
If you're stressing over having to create a ton of content, don't. Chances are you already have great content at your fingertips - you just need a little help drawing it out.
Share graphics with relevant quotes or tips.
People don't like reading tons of text. If you can create a graphic with a short tip that answers a question or solves a problem, you're golden. Graphics and video drive more engagement - especially on social media. Use that to your advantage. Just make sure the graphics you create are relevant to the services you provide.
Don't have a design bone in your body? No stress. There are a lot of affordable graphic designers out there who can help create a template for your graphics. If you can't afford a designer, there are lots of free programs you can use (I personally love Canva).
Offer commentary on hot topics.
What are the latest trends in your industry? What's happening around the world - and can you connect it to your business? The more you can capitalize on a hot button issue and offer your own perspective, the more you'll engage your audience and get them interested in what you have to say.
Feature client case studies.
Some case studies can be boring, mostly because they don't tell a story. Yours will be different. Think of the work you've done for your clients. Was there a project or initiative that was particularly successful? Write about it. Share why it was successful and offer tips for others. Include photos. You can feature case studies on your website, social media channels, in a sales presentation, etc. Don't tell people you're an expert - let your work speak for itself.
Provide a behind-the-scenes look at your business.
Pull back the curtain and show people what's happening on the inside. If you have a team of employees, consider sharing tidbits about each one. Or post photos from the employee luncheon or event. If you're a team of one, you can still share photos of your office space, your daily routine, etc. Maybe you're active in the community or with a church or non-profit organization. Share that stuff. It may not be directly related to your business, but it shows your human side. And that's what builds trust and loyalty. Where do trust and loyalty lead to? Sales.
(It goes without saying that you might want to rethink sharing that burrito you ate for lunch or the drinks you had before dinner. There is such a thing as oversharing).
Recap industry events or conferences.
Did you attend a networking event for your industry? Consider writing a blog post recapping your experience and the things you learned. Live tweet from a conference and connect with others in attendance. Snap photos of your team at the exhibit booth. Conferences and events are a great way to showcase your expertise and network with people who have similar interests. A win-win for you and your business.
Answer commonly asked questions from clients.
Are you hearing the same question over and over from your clients? Write about it. Chances are others have the same question. If you take the time to answer questions, people will view you as a valued expert. They'll start coming to you with more questions - and if they see you know your stuff, then you're that much closer to closing the deal. (Bonus points if the question hasn't been addressed before).
Ask your own questions.
Who said you need to have all the answers? Asking your audience questions is a great way to cultivate relationships. Consider polling your Facebook followers on the biggest challenges they're facing. Ask people which topics they're interested in learning more about. You'll not only start great conversations, but you'll also gain insights into what your audience wants and needs. That way, you can create more content that meets those needs.
Share your failures.
This may sound strange. After all, will clients want to work with you if they know your failures? Actually, yes. Failure makes you human. And in this case, you're not stating your failures without a reason. The key is to offer an example of a time when something didn't go the way you envisioned - and then explain why it didn't go as planned. Talk about your key learnings and share tips to help others in the same situation. This can easily be repurposed into a blog post, a simple social media post or a feature in your next email newsletter.
Remember, admitting your failures is a sign of confidence - and confidence is very attractive to potential clients.
Use photos and video to tell your story.
It sounds simple, but photos and video are extremely captivating. If you're in a service or retail focused industry, consider sharing photos of your products and of people using them. For example, if you own a restaurant you could offer photos of your menu or a step-by-step video of a dish being made. If you make clothes or cosmetics, you could share a sneak peek of new products in the works.
Even if you don't sell a product, you can still use photos to your advantage. Share photos from a client or internal staff meeting. Did you have a productive brainstorm with the team? Snap a photo of your ideas and share them with your followers. Live video is very popular right now, so consider using Facebook live video to offer best practices or talk about why you started your business.
Teach people something.
No one is an expert in everything. There are tons of people out there who would benefit from your expertise. Think about creating a how-to guide related to your industry. If you're a photographer, you could create a checklist of five steps to taking high quality photos. If you're in real estate, you could develop a guide with tips for first-time homebuyers.
The sky's the limit here. Think about topics that you know your audience is interested in and then give people access to your brain. Outline a process step-by-step and make it easy to digest. Don't worry about giving away your secrets. In fact, the more information you offer, the more value people will glean. And when people consider something valuable, they'll keep coming back for more. That's when you can work your sales magic!
I hope this list helps jumpstart ideas about the type of content you can share. My last piece of advice? Don't be afraid to get vulnerable. Let people into your inner thoughts and feelings. When people can relate to you, they'll be more likely to buy from you.
Think of it this way: if you were between two companies, would you rather work with the company that has a basic website with little to no information? Or would you rather work with the company that is posting valuable tips, photos from a staff birthday party and the inside scoop on what's happening in the industry?
I thought so.
Any other content ideas to share? What's worked best for your business? Leave a comment below and share your learnings with the rest of us!
If you're struggling to come up with content marketing ideas, give me a shout: firstname.lastname@example.org.