As many children of the 1970s did earlier this year, I tuned into the telemovie Molly – the story of Australia’s legendary music guru Ian Meldrum.
One of the early scenes of the movie depicted the Countdown bosses trying to encourage a struggling Meldrum when it came to articulating his understanding of pop music.
“It’s all in here,” one said, pointing to Molly’s head. “We’ve just got to find a way to get it out.”
The rest was history. While Molly never quite became particularly eloquent as a presenter, he soon had 3 million Australians hanging on to every word of his weekly music review segment, Humdrum.
Extracting your expertise
In many ways, the key to content marketing success relies on the capability of small business operators extracting and communicating their own expertise in such a way that it can attract and grow their own significant audience.
The reward for those that can is a growing list of ‘prospects’ to promote your ideas and products to for no financial outlay whatsoever, as well as greater prominence for your relevant search terms in Google and other search engines.
But I’d be lying if I said it was easy to do this.
Set and remember
Smaller business operators are generally unaccustomed to this kind of marketing, instead using less taxing and often less time consuming promotional avenues like local media advertising and letterbox drops.
In other words, they prefer your more ‘set and forget’ promotional tactics than ones that they need to service and come up with compelling ‘content’ for.
Like Molly decades before them, if they want to tap into this rich vein of low cost promotion, they need to come up with ways of extracting their expertise and communicating it in a way that will attract both prospects and search engines.
Blogging a starting point
The most common way of doing this is by committing to a regular blog on their topic of expertise. On its own, this notion can be a challenging one for the ordinary business operator. But an effective and popular way of doing this is by communicating ‘war stories’ from the coalface of their work, which in turn have a valuable lesson for the reader.
Once the blog item has been completed, it should be distributed via all the channels you have available to you, typically your website, your email list and social media.
Of course the wonderful thing about blogging is its low ‘production’ cost. Text essentially costs nothing to create, though it works better with at least one photograph or diagram, both of which can also be created or obtained cheaply.
When it comes to coming up with ‘postworthy’ blog topics, you need to channel your inner newshound to be on the lookout for interesting story ideas.
The truth is, most small business operators have significant expertise in their field that can make interesting reading.
A great way of creating a list of interesting topics is to simply use the notepad on your smartphone to keep a list of ideas you might have as you go about your work.
Rather than be distracted by trying to write while you are working, simply add your blog idea to the list when you think of it. That way when you sit down to write, you will have an ongoing list of ideas to turn to.
Feeding the monster
Beyond the blog, it’s really just a matter of being aware of what’s going on around you so that you can channel any ideas into the relevant platform.
In addition to your planned blog, you can also post any relevant news directly to your social media page.
Or you can ‘curate’ (re-post) any good content you come across, while adding your own commentary to it.
Each post you put out is yet another reminder to your Likers of your expertise. This encourages them to do business with you, or at the very least reminds them of your product or service to keep you top of mind for when they or a friend are ready to buy.
A cheap but engaging advertising channel
Beyond advice, all of your online communications channels should be used to promote information like specials, sales and new product information. In this way it becomes more of a direct marketing avenue than a content marketing avenue.
Again, this approach represents what amounts to free advertising to those you have already provided valuable content too.
If you apply this approach over time, you will soon have a healthy list of interested Likers and subscribers who want to receive the information you provide.
It really is direct marketing manna from heaven.
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team, which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.