If you jump online without a specific goal, you can get lost in content. An e-mail link takes you to a website where you find an interesting headline (and another, and another) and suddenly you're on Facebook recommending another interesting headline. You linger on Facebook to read a few engaging posts (and a lot of useless posts), eventually getting led to YouTube, where the rest of the hour is lost watching videos. Ever happened to you?
What's worse, is as a small business, your content is in there, struggling to surface, hoping to get clicks, along with the rest of the world's content. Today people and businesses are publishing more, using ever-more-abundant platforms. It's a lot of noise buzzing in people's smartphones, on tablets and PCs. The trick is to emerge as a tune for people to follow, rather than bang around and simply add noise.
As it stands, 94 percent of small businesses and 93 percent of B2B marketers are engaged in content marketing, reports the Content Marketing Institute, but only 42 percent consider themselves effective. Where do you fall?
Making your Business More Than a Logo
Your business is more than your logo. Eighty-two percent of small business marketers list awareness as their #1 goal in creating content, so they publish content, build awareness and hope to start conversations. Sounds easy.
Take a look at the revolution of Dove's award-winning marketing--much of it digitally--to rebranded the company from a manufacturer of skin care and body products to the spokes-company for "Real Beauty." Research led the company to learn that only two percent of women saw themselves as beautiful, so they saw an opportunity to recognize the natural physical differences in women and show real women versus touched-up celebrities.
Online, they launched a series of campaign videos aimed at promoting real beauty, tearing down stereotypes about what beauty should be and changing self esteem for the better. Dove--the name and logo--has come to stand for more than soap and lotion, it's nearly a movement for women and confidence, and their message has been widely broadcast through content.
Content Sharing is Key
A New York Times study recently broke down what types of content is shared online:
94% share content that is useful
84% share content that supports a cause
78% share content that keeps them connected
49% share to inform about a product
Mark Schaefer, author of The Content Code, would agree with those percentages, suggesting that three motivators cause people to share content. As an act of kindness or generosity, to share information that helps others; as a way of expressing their own identity; and because they love a brand so much, having a personal or emotional connection to the content.
What reason are you giving people to share your content? Does it connect to an emotional issue, does it serve to help individuals? Does it tell a human story and connect people, or does it merely serve to promote your latest innovation? Connect your message, product or service to a story, and you have a much higher chance of being shared, and therefore seen.
First you create the message. Second you create the content. Third you share it in appropriate venues, including blogs, emails, videos, articles and images. If you don't connect the messages online, you've only done a portion of the job.
Choreograph your content so that your blogs, emails and articles links to videos and/or images. Promote via social media at prime time for viewing and sharing content. Ensure your logo, brand position and message are consistent and use available online tools to manage all of your content.
To say that content does not drive revenue is false. A brand cannot stand out in the crowd if it's not presented in an engaging way to the crowd. Is your content more than just noise?