Imagine you had your own industry magazine, targeted to your best customers, branded with your company name and logo.
It’s not just Equestrian Magazine, it’s “Equestrian Weekly by Mable’s Stables.” It’s not just Bicycling Magazine, it’s “Ted’s Bike Shop’s Digest.”
Get the idea? Companies have increasingly utilized this concept in the 21st century. Rather than just submitting press releases to established media outlets and relying on them to tell their story, big brands today have most of the tools they need to tell their story on their own.
Many Fortune 500 companies – Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Apple – have a blog they use as their own publication: Walmart Today, Energy Factor and Apple Newsroom to use the above examples.
Why? Because what is considered newsworthy to a business is not always considered newsworthy to an independent media outlet. That’s true of companies of all size, from Wal-Mart down to … you.
SMALL BUSINESSES DO THIS, TOO – AND SO CAN YOU
The small business world is driven by relationships. Zig Zigler famously said, “… people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”
That’s exactly what big companies are trying to do with content marketing! They want their customers to feel like they know them, get them to like and trust them.
You can do the same thing, not only in the “offline” space (your face to face interactions with customers and others in your local community), but in the digital space, too. Here’s how.
GOOD: HAVE A DIGITAL PRESENCE
If you are not active on social media yet as a business, it’s time to get on board. Social media is a primary tool for people to seek referrals, learn about businesses and get a sense of the character of the folks in charge. It pulls back the curtain and tells customers what they want to know: can I trust these guys?
Your presence on social media – commenting on people’s posts, recommending solutions, sharing news – is increasingly essential to staying competitive. It’s where your customers are. You’ve got to be there, too.
BETTER: SHARE QUALITY CONTENT
Are you part of an industry that regularly publishes content to educate you and others passionate about your product? Something like Equestrian or Bicycling? Sharing that content = sharing your passion. It sends a signal that you’re not just out to make a buck. You care about finding solutions to your customers’ problems.
You might even be part of a co-op with other small businesses in your industry that provides exclusive articles, videos, etc. for you to use. Do it! Plug that content into your blog and post links on social media. Take advantage of the tools available to you.
BEST: CREATE QUALITY CONTENT
The best way to create authentic relationships with your customers and prospective customers is to speak in your own voice, from your own experience. That means write original articles, take your own photos, shoot your own video on your smartphone and post, post, post.
Count the cost, though. You’ll quickly learn that there is a significant time investment in this. Get all the help from staff you can. Commit at least an hour a week to managing this essential marketing activity yourself.
When you’ve reached your limit (or the idea of even trying this feels too daunting), talk to us about what it looks like to outsource this stuff. What you probably hate doing is what we LOVE.
Looking forward to hearing from you!