Most service business owners produce content as part of their marketing activity. And it's a wise move. Remember, 'the 4Cs' framework (see below)? Content is one of the key components. Content marketing can help your business to:
raise its visibility and awareness
build relationships with ideal clients
start and grow communities of supporters
generate warm leads
However, for service business owners producing content is often fraught with:
constantly having to generate new ideas
a lack of time to develop quality, relevant material
low confidence (imposter syndrome) over the expertise or knowledge you've to share
uncertainty over the best channels or ways, to share your content
overwhelm - where to start the content development and planning
If any of those feelings sound familiar, then read on...
So, what really is content marketing? And how can you leverage it as part of your marketing approach?
Three key points to remember...
Your content needs to have a purpose (see paragraph 1 for suggestions) that ‘fits’ with your overall business goals
You need to have an ideal client in mind before developing your content
Content should provide value (consider using 'the 3Es' as a baseline – educate, entertain, engage)
Content marketing tends to fall into three categories - owned, earned and paid. For most small business owners, maximising the owned and earned makes sense due to its low/minimal cost but it can be time consuming. You may want to consider some smaller paid opportunities in the early days and build on this as your business grows. Or develop strong collaborations to increase the earned opportunities.
Owned - belongs to you/your business. You develop, grow and publish the content yourself. Examples include websites, blogs, events and podcasts.
Earned - someone else/another business shares your content with their audience. Often shared on social media. Examples include influencers, experts, Youtubers and celebrities.
Paid - all paid advertising channels used to promote your content. Examples include TV adverts, press coverage, Facebook adverts, Google adverts and sponsorship.
Considering and reviewing some of the points above should help to determine your content marketing strategy or objectives. Also think about:
your available time
the resources/skills available (do you need to outsource?)
Next, consider what you'd include in your content and the form it would take. Remember this is not what you want to see/talk about but what your ideal client needs or will find engaging!
For service business owners, some of the most obvious content pieces centre around the following generic headlines:
How to do…
The benefits of…
Top tips for…
Common mistakes to avoid with…
Example/case study of…
Your content can take various forms, including:
Long form - for more detailed items with a 'story' element or technical information
Short form - just a few lines or a paragraph with key points and to grab attention
Evergreen - content that is timeless and can be used again and again
Moving image - think reels, carousels...
Next, consider the best channel(s) for your content, for example:
Try to work out when is the best time to post or share your content. Don't forget to include ways to monitor and measure your content marketing. You can then see what's giving the best return on investment (ROI) and make justified changes to your content, as necessary.
For most small businesses you can incorporate content details into your overall marketing plan. However, larger businesses may find it beneficial to separate the two - having a marketing plan and a content plan. The latter is helpful if you've got a marketing team that have someone focusing on content whilst someone else is tackling another element of marketing.
My final point is the need for consistency. Whatever content you decide to produce, make sure you're committed and providing the content regularly.
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas and more confidence to tackle your content marketing. If you'd like further help and to develop your content marketing skills I offer a Content Marketing Power Hour, including workbook and frameworks, for just £99. You can find more details here.