If you listen very carefully, you might hear it… the groans from small business owners all across the land when the phrase “Content Is King” is mentioned to them.
As true as that saying may be, most of today’s consumers go directly to search engines to answer even the slightest of trivial questions. The mistake that most businesses make today is that they churn out content every day, but without making it part of their overall communications strategy.
Content publishing should focus on two simple goals: educating and building trust.
Content strategy is delivered through very specific content forms, and not volume alone. Every business today is publishing content, and today is the day you need to think like a publisher.
How best to build trust with your audience?
Blog: There’s no doubt that blogs are the best starting point for content strategy as they allow for simple content production, and syndication of your message. Search engines gobble up blog content. Blog content can easily be delivered through other channels like e-books, workshops and guest articles.
Social Media: Step one – claim your stake with profiles on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But don’t let that stop you. Take it to the next step by claiming your place on communities like Entrepreneur, Inc., or even Business Week. Creating these profiles and optimizing links back to you site plan an important role in content strategy publishing.
Testimonials: Third party testimonials may be the most powerful tool in your publishing arsenal. Seek testimonials in a variety of forms including written, audio and video. Share them on sites such as YouTube and Google+ to continue to build your publishing portfolio.
Reviews: Depending on your specific business, sites like MerchantCircle, CitySearch and Yelp! can offer positive user referrals. While never in control of reviews, overlooking them may prove more harmful than bad reviews. One thing is certain, you’ll need to actively monitor these channels at all times.
Consider these two easy ways to educate your customer with content.
Seminars: Today’s consumer wants their information neatly pre-packaged for easy consumption. Seminars, workshops and presentations are everywhere – both online and offline. Once engaged, these channels provide a great opportunity to really engage your audience. Taking your white paper or ebook and turning it into a 30-45 minute, value-packed presentation may be the most cost-effective way to both engage and convert casual leads into loyal customers.
White Papers & Ebooks: In communicating their brand story, documenting the values and views are effectively done in the form of a white paper or book. This content needs to highlight the businesses truly unique values including why it exists, what it will accomplish, and ultimately – it’s special purpose.
This is certainly a short list of ways and channels for you to reach new, actively engaged customers. What are others you might be using that are working for you?
Once you’ve developed your specific system of content publishing that works in unison for your brand, maintaining and growing our channels becomes a fun and welcomed task, instead of one to dread and avoid.