Many small business marketers dismiss content marketing as something they simply can’t afford to do. It is viewed as a buzzword -- a marketing trend that only huge global brands like Red Bull, United Airlines and General Electric have the budgets to use.
That perception is far from the truth. The beauty of content marketing is its scalability in our current digitally savvy, low-cost content-distribution era. Think about it: The power is now in everyone’s hands. These days, there is an abundance of free, or low-cost tools that can be used to create engaging content and capture customers. If educational videos made on quality smartphones with less-than-professional voiceovers get hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, how can money be a barrier for entry to content marketing?
While creating engaging, useful and professional content is important, marketers in small and medium-sized businesses need to acknowledge that they do not need to use traditional media channels to spread their message. When businesses lack the resources to outsource their content marketing to the professionals, they can start doing it themselves. Here are some tips for beginning the process.
Assemble a Team of Eager Writers
Many brands start content-marketing efforts by pulling together a team of internal contributors. While these writers need to know how to put together a sentence, they do not necessarily have to be Pulitzer-Prize-winning writers, media moguls or even long-time leaders within the company.
What is more important is that these employees have an interesting and unique point of view on the industry or workplace, and wish to share it. After some tutelage on your organization’s personality, style guides, tone and a bit of proofing, these writers can create articles that are ready-to-share. The point is to offer a unique, useful and enjoyable glimpse of what working with the brand is like for prospective clients and other employees. The Content Marketing Institute also features some great tips for making the content-marketing process an enjoyable experience.
Bring Out What’s Already Within: What Are Your Company’s Archetypes?
For example, consider the different types of workers who are already within the company, and have the contributors match these characters by writing fitting content. Find a contributor who has been with the company for a long time, and allow them to write under the perspective of a historian on the industry, company and the changes therein. This not only encourages the creativity of the employee, it empowers them by acknowledging their expertise and autonomy.
Conversely, another common archetypal role is the perspective of the “new hire” contributor. Encourage these folks to share their perspective on the company as someone who is new to its culture, products and offerings. This is a great way for them to learn the business and for promote the company’s culture for recruiting purposes.
Consider Content Types for Less-Confident Writers
Some employees are not comfortable enough with their writing skills to agree to be a so-called content marketing writer. However, they likely have interesting, intelligent ideas to contribute to conversations on industry or company topics. Create a video blogging station where these employees can share their comments and insights without the hindrance of written text. If the employee is camera-shy, someone else could transcribe the video for posting on a blog.
Has an employee stumbled upon an interesting quantitative fact or truth about your industry? Encourage that team member to create a short PowerPoint presentation to promote on LinkedIn and SlideShare. An infographic highlighting that information is another great example of content marketing.
Promote Company Culture
SMBs should gather photos of recent volunteer days, gatherings, and similar community-minded events. When a company has employees who are particularly passionate about or engaged in these activities, it’s a great idea to encourage them to write a blurb about this passion on an appropriate corporate social media outlet.
Budgets are no longer an issue when it comes to creating compelling marketing messages. SMBs merely need to encourage their employees to share their perspectives, and then get that content out via free, high-impression media channels. Major global brands use content marketing all the time, but that shouldn’t dissuade smaller brands. It’s time for the business-to-business marketing community to stretch its imagination.