Every small business has one goal in mind: sell. Without sales you won’t be a business for very long. The big question is, where do I get sales from? How do I generate business for myself?
We all know the traditional ways of drumming up business: personal selling or cold calling; advertising; trade shows; that sort of thing, but what all of these require is expensive staff, overheads and money to do them properly. Which inexpensive ways exist for you to grow your business?
Content is one of the ways that a small business or entrepreneur can generate business. How, I hear you say sceptically? Well, drop that eyebrow and listen up because clever creative content really can help you earn more money and drive that Lamborghini you’ve always dreamt of.
What is content?
Content is anything that you can generate, write, video record, design or produce that you make publicly available for your customers or the general public to consume. It could be a blog, a video on YouTube, an article, an email or more.
What topics should the content cover?
You are a subject matter expert on your business or industry and have many valuable opinions and insights as well as learnings that you could share with your customers to make their lives easier. Remember, holding onto knowledge causes businesses to die, but sharing it and giving it away for free breathes life into your business, and it will come back to you. So get writing and share some of those tips and insights that helped you get where you are, and it will take you where you want to be.
What should you do with the content once you’ve created it?
Once you’ve created a piece of content you need to get it out there, just having it on your website isn’t good enough, you need to share it on one of the many social media platforms out there.
So what’s the first step?
I would suggest you start with a blog. Write a pithy piece about something fascinating like ‘5 people who should never design your website’. Make sure it’s funny and informative and possibly a little irreverent and post it on your website. If you’re looking for (another) great example of how to do it, check out the Web Africa blog by CEO Tim Wyatt-Gunning.
Then you might create a short one minute YouTube video about the blog you just wrote and embed the video on your blog page. This is for people who are too lazy to read, or who can’t read. As Mark Twain said, there’s not much difference between the two. There’s really no excuse for not having a YouTube channel these days, even my mother has one and she’s 70 years old! It’s the soap box you’ve always wanted. Plus you can activate adverts on your channel and make a bit of money on the side, but that’s another blog post entirely.
Create a bitly.com shortened link to your blog and send it out on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and LinkedIn with a message that will encourage people to click on it. Use hashtags like #webdev or #plumbing or whatever you’re writing about for wider reach. If you’re pressed for time (read: lazy) you can use HootSuite.com to send to all four social media sites at the same time.
Design an email in MailChimp using your blog as the centerpiece, add in a few sections about specials and the like and send it to your subscriber base.
Send it out to blogs, online websites and any magazines or media publications you know of that you think might be interested in the piece, or whose readers’ would be interested in it. You never know, they might pick it up. Which is why I was blessed enough to be in You Magazine and Huisgenoot. My family has never been prouder.
Won’t this make me a spammer? You’re only a spammer if your content is hard-sell; which is the same as saying it’s boring.
- Keep it clever
- Interesting to your target market or the people you are trying to reach, and no, specials are rarely clever or interesting
- Relevant to the people watching it. How does it make their lives better? How are you solving a key problem of theirs? Which emotion are you addressing?
- Or make sure it’s funny, quirky or highly entertaining. Nobody wants to think these days, so be part of the distraction from reality and your customers will love you
- Keep it creative
- Do a bit of research first, and don’t rewrite someone else’s work, we can tell
- Consistent content
- Don’t get us hooked on your fascinating blog and then leave us cold-turkey. Make sure you blog consistently, whether it’s weekly or monthly.
Remember it’s not spam if it’s informative or entertaining. The only thing stopping you from being the next YouTube star, is you.
Contact us for assistance in creating content for your business