Stanford Smith obsesses about how to get small business blogs noticed and promoted at Pushing Social, except when he’s chasing large mouth bass!
It’s usually a look of pure terror.
I’m sitting across the desk from a professional and confident marketing executive. We’ve discussed the benefits of social business. He is on board with making the changes needed to create a culture that embraces customer collaboration and is ready to get started, but we have one thing left to cover…his content marketing plan.
Specifically, how to produce interesting content and how to publish it on a regular basis.
That’s where that look of terror comes in.
He fears that his business doesn’t have anything to say that would interest consumers. His fear deepens when he realizes the need to publish relevant (even epic) content on a regular basis.
Fortunately, producing amazing content marketing isn’t as daunting as many think.
In fact, most businesses are sitting on a treasure trove of entertaining and relevant content that their prospects and customers would love.
They just need to find unlock it.
Here are five places to look:
Testimonials and Case Studies
Have you created a process for identifying satisfied customers and recording their stories? Customers love to see the experiences of others who have considered doing business with you. These testimonials and case studies add credibility to your value proposition.
One testimonial can turn into a formal case study, a video for YouTube, and add practical depth to a whitepaper. Gather your customer-facing staff and identify current “fans” and create a process for capturing their stories.
Stats Are Sexy
Many businesses collect data that their customers would find extremely valuable. B2B companies are particularly suited for finding and producing statistically based content. The best way to get started is to create a survey and distribute it to your customer base. Take the survey results and create an insightful special report or whitepaper. Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report is an excellent example.
You can expand the reach of your reports by turning them into presentations for SlideShare and creating a simple video for YouTube.
Turn Your Customers into Stars
Every business has a marque customer that is a reliable source of recommendations and referrals. Turn this customer into a celebrity. Create a content series that promotes the customer’s business and their use of your product.
Cast your customer as the hero and your product as the trusty sidekick. Add staying power to your promotion by creating a series of blog posts supported by Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn promotion. Don’t be surprised if your customer makes your content the centerpiece of their marketing attracting additional prospects for free.
37Signals, the creator of Basecamp, recently released a major upgrade to its popular collaboration software.
During their release promotion, they published several videos documenting the development of the software. These videos were supported by blog videos and quick visual sketches of user interfaces. The additional content was a hit with tech startups and small business owners who admire 37Signals’ culture and marketing savvy. Of course, these same folks were in Basecamp’s target audience too!
You can do the same in your business. Grab a camera and record key brainstorming sessions, one-off interviews with team members, and impromptu celebrations. Your fans will love the insider’s glimpse, and you’ll attract new customers as well.
Your employees are prolific content creators. Customer service personnel create customer satisfaction stories on a daily basis. Your sales team has a gold mine of field-tested value proposition tales at the fingertips. Take a moment to ask and you’ll be shocked how many bloggers, Twitter addicts, and Facebook mavens you have at your disposal.
As always, harness this creative energy with social media policies and incentives that educate and empower your employees while protecting your brand.
Time to Go Hunting
Spend some time talking with your employees, sales team, and customers before you write your company off as being too boring or tight-lipped to produce great content. You’ll be surprised by how much content is sitting right at your fingertips.