What's preventing you from creating content for your small business? Fear, anxiety about the time or financial investment, laziness, or something else?
No matter what your reason, here's the truth: publishing content is one of the most important things you can do for your business since it diversifies the way people find your company. A study performed in 2011 shows that nearly 50% of people rely on online searches to find local businesses and professional services. You're neglecting half your potential audience if you aren't online, but you might also be giving up customers without content.
Let's say you're a one-woman gardening powerhouse with your own landscaping company in the Napa Valley. Imagine a client performs a search for "landscaper in Napa." A few thousand pages of results come up and the client starts clicking through the top few results. Business A has a website, a portfolio, and customer testimonials on their site. Standard stuff, right? But you, Business B, have all of that, alongside a piping hot blog that provides information on DIY gardens, videos on how to build a multi-level water feature, profiles of seasonal plants, gardening trend reports, gift guides for horticulture enthusiasts, weather news, and lots more.
If you were this client, who would you rather hire for the job? See, publishing content on your site not only helps you rise to the top of search results, but it helps sway potential customers to your corner. And we can all use a few more paying customers in our corner, am I right?
Get your boxing gloves ready — we're about to knock out all the content creation myths you might be concerned about now, right here, so you'll be question-free and in tip-top fighting shape to win over new customers.
- It takes a ton of time — If you're picturing yourself in the dark, struggling by the light of your computer monitor to find something to write about, stop it. Here's the deal: creating content for your business can be as simple as crafting a tweet. The trick is knowing what to create and when. Having a plan. And this plan gets organized, streamlined, and polished with a content calendar. Your content calendar contains everything you'll be posting on your site and social channels for the month ahead, and getting this thing filled in can be super simple, too - give yourself a one-day creative retreat to brainstorm ideas, then spend a few hours a week crafting all of the content you need for the following seven days. We're talking less than 24 hours devoted to this process. You can find that much time somewhere, right? How important is your favorite TV show? Important enough to lose money over?
- You need training — The beauty of starting your own business blog is that you can learn on the job. You're already an expert in your field — whether it be baked goods, fashion, cars, landscaping, food, fitness, whatever — so just create the content that you might like to see online. Find a gap and fill it. Be yourself. Be genuine. And don't worry so much — just start already.
- It's a waste of time — There are many reasons why creating solid content is not a waste of time, but the most important reason could be that it creates loyalty and trust amongst your current and future customers. If you're giving away free information surrounding your industry — tips, how to's advice, insights, your take on the news, etcetera — your customers will come to see you as the expert you are and keep coming back for more; More = content and more products.
- No one cares about what you have to say — I know the fear: what if I blog my ass off and no one is reading it? What do I do when no one is talking about me online? That's the tricky part about content - once you create it, the job is not done. You have to get it out there and be seen. You are your own PR department. You have to market your work in order for it to get attention. Post it on your social media channels. Pitch the content to bloggers and other media. Don't just post it and forget it. Even the best piece of content on the Internet might need a little help getting its legs.
- It's hard to do — This might be true of getting started, but once you've created your content calendar and spent some time organizing the types of posts that will be going up on your blog, things will get easier. Practice makes perfect, right?
- It takes money to start a blog — Did you know that you can get a free blog from Wordpress, Blogger, or Weebly? It'll take a few bucks to secure your own domain (or sub-domain), but besides that, you can be up and running in minutes for free. Imagine that.
- You need professional help — The amazing part about this whole content creation thing is that other professionals (like myself and many more) are doing the same thing. You can start, run, and populate your own blog, learn how to do it with style, and get more eyeballs on your website with the information contained in this blog. Free professional help is only a Google search away.
What questions do you have about content creation? Leave them in the comments or on Facebook. Let's discuss.
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