Do I still need to be creating content? 

It’s 2019 – Do I STILL need content? Is content still “king”? Yes, now more than ever. The format of content has changed – or I should say, has been updated. But it’s still very, very necessary for the health of your business and for your marketing plan.  And YES, no matter if you are personal brand, big brand (Coke, Lay’s Potato Chips, Nike) or a small brand starting out, we ALL need to be sharing original content. 

what is content

What is “content”? 

Content is basically anything you are giving away, usually for free, that others are interested in. Social posts, blogs, podcasts, checklists, cheat sheets, and graphics. Even gifs, music and printed materials (workbooks, coloring sheets!) are content. Listicles, jokes, desktop wallpapers. 

content is ideas inspiration education

Content is ideas, inspiration, and education. 

 

Why do I need it? 

 

Short answer: it drives traffic to your website and gets eyeballs on YOUR stuff/thoughts/ideas/brand. Long answer: this ultimately leads to better SEO, but also simultaneously tells your audience that you are showing up and herewith something valuable for them, and they should pay attention to you, or they will miss out. 

Really the reason why we create content is to be seen as an expert in your field. 

content creation

Original Content is a lot of work. Do I REALLY NEED it? 

Short Answer: Yes. 

Any piece of content you create is ORIGINAL content. You can share other people’s content, but it’s not created by you/your brand, it’s not “original”. 

Reason 1: To Keep It Interesting For Your Audience

Why would you want to share original content over some other piece of content already out there? Well, why would someone buy YOUR product/service rather than someone else that is already out there? You want to show your audience (who later becomes your customers) that you have original NEW things to say, and they should stick around to catch all the amazing things you are going to share. 

Reason 2: To Establish Yourself As The Expert

The other reason you want to be creating your own is content is because you want to be seen as the expert (and actually be the expert, right?) in your own field. You don’t want to be that person who goes around quoting everyone else all the time. You don’t want to be that person that is constantly pointing to other people’s books, you want to start writing your own. 

tell your own stories

Don’t re-tell everyone else’s stories. Write your own. 

Reason 3: It keeps people coming back, and drives traffic to you. 

Here’s the kicker. This content does become a way to get a BIGGER audience, while at the same time, nurturing the audience you already have. 

 

Where do I share my content? 

Original content should always live somewhere on your website first. Then share it out to social using links. 

This is because if Instagram went away tomorrow, you would lose ALL that content that you created. It’s a lot of work to create content, don’t lose it and make it work for you! That means putting it on your site first (for Google, for SEO, and so that you always have it!) and then share out links, or even re-purpose it in sharable ways for social. 

It’s kinda like choosing a host for your website – it all lives in one place and then populates to the rest of the internet. 

How do I go about creating content for my business? 

Ideally, the content you are creating and sharing is branded (fits your brand, relates to your brand

  1. Branded – looks like you, sounds like you (doesn’t have someone else’s logo on the image)
  2. Value – It should offer some kind of value. That value could be the knowledge you’re sharing with your audience about a topic, or it could be a product you are selling that others will love! 
  3. Consistent – show up consistently and also share your content in a consistent way (goes back to branding your content, too.) Don’t disappear on Instagram for weeks at a time. 
  4. Relevant – your audience should care – whatever you are saying to them, be it a blog post, a meme, or a product or service pitch, they should care about it! 
  5. Free – or for the cost of an email address, at least in the beginning! Make the barrier to entry low for people and be generous with what you share. 

 

That last point might be scary for some people or sound counterintuitive. You might be thinking, “but if I give it all away for free, what will people hire me for?” The answer is, they hire you to implement it. OR they may buy products you create if you’ve already proven you know what you are talking about. Many times people know what they SHOULD be doing, but they don’t have time to DO IT. I.e.: accounting tasks, research, cleaning, organizing, social media, meal prep services… the list goes on and one and varies for everyone. There is room for you to share your expertise, inspire people enough to jump on board, and then they will often realize they need help or they need to hire someone to do it for them. And guess who they think of? The person who’s content on that subject they’ve been following all this time. 

 

Types of content to create for your business: 

 

Remember, content should: Instruct, inform/educate, empower, enjoy

Here’s the formula for creating content: 

Content Category + Content-Type = Content You Create 

 

This formula works if you are brand, product, or person offering a service. 

Here are some content types you can explore. Pick the ones that make the most sense for your business and that you would love to create! 

Side note: Newsletters are a great one for all businesses and can pull in links to your content (so they are in a sense content that is generated from your already existing content) OR they can be unique to your subscribers. If you are just starting out, make it easy on yourself and just have them be a collection of the other stuff you are already doing. 

 

Types of content: 

Social media posts/content

Blogs

Videos

Podcasts

Infographics/instructional graphics

Newsletters

Checklists

Guides

Downloadables (stickers, coloring books, printables)

 

Content Categories: 

Product or service-specific: Your offerings, quality, flavors, sizes, packaging. Factual things about your products. If you can make specific health statements, it could go here also. Sales, promotions if you sell direct to consumers or direct to business. 

Lifestyle: People, related lifestyle choices, activities people might do while enjoying your product (your audience and what they would ALSO enjoy along with consuming your products/services). 

Behind the Scenes: People who work for you, facilities, ingredients, supply chain, creative process.

Retail: where to buy, when to buy, who to buy from, product availability, sales and promos on your product could go here too. 

Educational: Why your services matter, why your ingredients are different/better, DIY projects related to your products/services, fun recipes that your product might use or be used in, what’s happening in your industry, things your customers should know about why your product is used

 

An Example: 

Here’s how it would work. Say you are a national potato chip brand. You would be creating content that shows/is about: 

 

Content Categories: 

Product-specific: Your quality, flavors, and other product attributes

Lifestyle: Snacking, parties, meals you eat with chips, places people eat chips, sharing, fun, showing other people who eat chips, potato memes

Behind the Scenes: People who work for you, facilities, ingredients or farmers who supply ingredients

Retail: where to buy, who to buy from, product availability

Educational: Why chips should matter, why your ingredients matter, how to make your own chips, how to make recipes using your chips, what’s happening with the potato industry, how flavor works

So each of these categories can be expressed in the form of either an infographic, a blog, a newsletter, a guide… see how that works?

content creation

My content creation guidelines/suggestions for if you are just starting out: 

Pick only a couple of ways you publish content if you are just starting out. I recommend starting with a blog, a newsletter and social media (choose 1-2 channels only). 

The trick is to bounce around in these categories or only use 3-4 that make sense for your business. Don’t only post in the Product-Specific category too often! People want to consume content that makes a difference for their lives. 

Do about 80% of your content is fun, educational and inspiring, and 20% is “selling” to them. So in the chip example, 80% of your blog post is about how tastebuds work, and the last little paragraph is about how to buy your chips. 

This is just the basics of content marketing. There’s a lot more we can dive into (and I plan to!) If you have any questions, please reach out and email me at darlene@picklejarstudios.com or sign up for my newsletter, where I deliver weekly content marketing tools, tips and tricks right to your inbox.