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When you don’t have a plan, there’s no way to know for sure if you’re spending your limited time and effort on what will have the greatest impact on your ROI. And for that very reason, your plan must make room for your small biz content.
The truth is, if you are putting content out there without a strategy, you are flying blind.
As a small business owner, you have your plate full, your head can’t take on one more hat. It seems impossible, but it has to become possible, I promise you, you can make it happen, with a simple plan and a few action steps.
Why does your biz content matter?
Content creation is a pillar, set at one very crucial corner of your small business structure.
Depending on a variety of factors, like your actual business, industry, niche, resources, finances, and location, the content creation pillar will vary in size and scope. But it should always be there.
The added responsibility to design, develop and share content about your small business, product or service, doesn’t have to take away from all the other business priorities, it should be there to assist, enhance and contribute to all other aspects of the business.
As a small business, you may be focusing on growing locally and planting or cultivating roots within your community.
But even when you only cater to a local audience, in your city, town, neighborhood, or street, you have to connect well beyond the product or service you give.
You have to stay present and involved with the people who buy from you, you have to go with them, be part of their lives.
Of course, having a great product and delivering an awesome service is essential, and without it, every piece of content would fall like a house of cards, but the experience your customers have with your business and brand should continue after the purchase has been made, or the service has been given.
You can and should play as the big global businesses do.
I like number 5. I think it’s the proper amount of steps to get moving, gather momentum, yet not feel overwhelmed. So, let’s begin planning your content creation strategy in these 5 ways.
If you are here I’ll assume is because you already know a little about content creation, and why it’s important for your small business to have a strategy set around it, but I feel the need to pause for a moment and give you my two cents on why I think you need a content creation strategy, and what exactly does that entail. But just to be on the same page... Content is everything you put out into the world and communicate about you, your brand and business, your products, and services. Every piece of content, text, audio, video, etc. is a piece of the narrative puzzle you are designing, developing, building, and sharing with your audience, customers, or clients every day.You need a strategy to make sure the narrative is consistent, the communication is frequent and the interaction is authentic. Tweet Me
Here’s an overview of your simple 5 step strategy:
Setting Up a Strategic Content Creation Plan
- Mine your audience for content
- Then, mine your archives for content
- And, mine your products or services for content
- Sow the seeds of potential in your audience
- Then, reap the seeds by calling on your tribe (testimonials)
Where to Start and What Steps to Take?
Every element of your content creation plan is important, the content, the creating, and of course, the planning.
Yet you’ll have nothing to create and plan around if you have no content.
For that reason, the first 3 steps of your strategy are all about mining for that content or content ideas.
There are lots of places online to find content ideas to fill your editorial calendar, but as a small business, you have something that the big corporations lack and are always eager to recreate, the magic of intimate relationships with their customers.
You can, because your customers are your neighbors, your friends, the living community where your business is (or should aspire to be) a point of reference, a landmark.
Mine your content archives…
Ask your customers and clients. Don’t waste that valuable opportunity. Here we advocate for content that connects from a place of empathy.
It’s not about being noisy. It’s about asking questions, engaging in conversations, and more importantly, listening to what your customers say.
Gather their concerns, positive or negative feedback, and create content around it.
As a small business you know, it’s not always about reinventing the wheel. In the case of content creation, you may already have a great idea in the content you have created already.
That’s what I mean when I tell you to mine your archives.
Is there a piece of content that could be expanded upon? That could be refreshed or updated? Was there an interesting piece of content that got a lot of engagement?
Could you repurpose it in a new format? (for example, a blog post or article could be turned into a video tutorial or a podcast episode.)
You should not forget the valuable content that can come from your own products or services.
They should not be left only to the product or service pages. Why not feature best selling products, new products, or experimental products as part of your content strategy?
Why not offer value to your clients answering commonly asked questions from your niche or industry? Giving them tips, tools, and resources they could use on their own?I’m not asking you to give away your “secrets” for free, but there’s much you could teach others, and this willingness to share will attract people to you. Tweet Me
You’ll gain their respect and admiration. They’ll come to you because they know what you can do, like, and trust you.
After the content has been mined, the next step is to think about the content you create as “planting seeds” within your audience for potential customers.
When you show and tell, you’ll eventually get someone through the door (literally as in a brick and mortar store or metaphorically as in your online small business; think Etsy store.)
You plant seeds with informative, educational, and entertaining content. By giving your best value without asking for anything in return.
You also plant seeds by being consistent with your content and remember that every message you respond to, every interaction you have with a potential customer is a tiny piece of your narrative.
And finally, you want to go back to your audience and specifically to the small cluster of die-hard fans or clients that you can reach out to co-create content with you.
(I’m thinking of putting together a Co-Creation/Creative Collaborations bundle, leave me a message below if you’ll be interested)
Now that content has been gathered from these 5 different sources, let’s keep the lemon rolling taking 5 more steps into a monthly workflow to rinse and repeat…
Your Small Biz 5 Step (Beginner) Content Creation Monthly Workflow:
- Keep a running list of monthly themes. Pick a theme for the upcoming month.
- Open your spreadsheet and make your selection of 5-6 topics according to the monthly theme (more on managing editorial calendar – content library)
- Filter list to 4 topics to develop for the month
- Use the tool “Blog Content One-Page” to design 1st draft for each of these 4 topics
- Mind-map each final draft for that month’s social content based on the post.
Making The Choice and Setting The Time
You now have 5 ways to gather prime content ideas and 5 steps to develop those ideas into an editorial and social sharing calendar for the month ahead.
The next step is the hardest. You have to make the choice to take action and set the time to get it done.
I’m a firm believer in starting small. As a creative, I do have a tendency to procrastinate, lose focus, wander off to the next great idea.
That’s why my motto is progress, and my strategy is always one step forward. I won’t ask much more from me, or from you.
The way you can ease yourself into this content creation strategy is to bite off only a little bit of the lemon at a time.
Pick a day and set a date for content creation with yourself each month. Get to your date on time, and be prepared with your content creation tools:
Your working editorial calendar or content library, your blog one-page, your notes, your laptop, a cup of coffee or tea, and a little bit of music.
Mindset Shift: Yes, Content Is A Priority
The other key factor that will make your content strategy a success is in your mind. You must understand the content as a priority.
Again, each piece of content is a piece of your business narrative. It’s your responsibility to tell the story and encourage others to tell it forward.
Your content strategy is your marketing and promotional strategy, which is part of your growth strategy, is your communication strategy, and branding strategy.
It touches all of these key business elements and most importantly, it should touch the minds and hearts of the people who want to do business with you.
Now more than ever, we are willing to be part of the survival, reinvention, and success narrative of small businesses in our local communities and around the world.
Lack of Plan Equals Waste of…
What do you have to lose?
By not taking action now, you’ll lose precious time and effort, you’ll be wasting a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect on a very human level with your audience, potential customers and clients.
Learn the Steps and Dance!
It’s easy and I’m here dancing with you. Take my virtual hand and move those virtual feet! The steps have been set for you, and today you just have to take one.
What you now have: a simple workflow to follow and set up your biz content for the month ahead!
I’m planning on documenting this process for the month ahead, as I go through it. If you’re interested to see my workflow, you may follow along on FB here and on IG here 😉