Switch It Up: Why Your Message Needs Multiple Formats
Content isn’t just about blogs – or at least it shouldn’t be. Whitepapers, video scripts, e-books and other non-traditional formats can help disrupt and redirect consumer attention squarely on your brand. In discussing marketing ideas for small businesses at the 2015 Content Management Conference in Las Vegas, Spyfu.com founder Mike Roberts emphasized the “411” rule for content creation. The rule states that for every four pieces of traditional content such as blogs and articles, a business should also include a “unique” format piece, such as a white paper, and one piece that somehow features a voice outside the company, such as guest blogging or content curation.
This balance is a great jumping-off point for businesses that are just beginning their foray into content, and also offers plans already in development a wire frame to follow. Here’s how to hit your targets without needing to bend over backwards for each new format or channel:
Make The Most Out Of Each Content Set
Content should be living, shareable and self-referential whenever possible – articles in a series, internal links to expanded content and whitepapers, and articles transformed into video scripts are all excellent ways to get mileage out of existing content. Setting up content that is evergreen will keep your options open, but older content and even dated pieces can still be used to demonstrate concepts or support authority on a subject. Each time your writing team is constructing a piece of your content, encourage them to link back to your site pages or previous blogs to help develop an exploration path that will prevent visitor bounce.
Spread The Love
Forging content creation relationships with experts and enthusiasts in your field will give you a rich harvesting ground for both topics and finished products. With the right approach, your company can solicit content from leading industry voices that allow those voices to increase their authority alongside your own. Be sure to always offer a byline – it’s good business and it lends credence to guest posts – and discuss your target guest’s needs to make sure you’re setting up a win-win scenario. Other good marketing ideas for small businesses considering this route include sharing, commenting and linking to a potential guest creators’ other articles, as this will increase the likelihood they’ll write and recommend you in the future.
Infuse Non-Traditional Content With Value
It’s human nature to ascribe value to results that require effort, which is one of the reasons that white papers are such a successful dangling carrot. Place your whitepapers, e-books and even video how-tos as prizes at the end of an action – signing up for a newsletter, scheduling a sales call and so on. When your customer has to do something to get at your otherwise-free content, they are more likely to consider it valuable: the suspicion that normally accompanies a “free lunch” scenario is quieted by the effort requirement.
You’ve got a lot to say to your customers, but don’t let that volume cause you to neglect the communication method. The 4-1-1 technique of content creation should be in every list of marketing ideas for small businesses, not only because it works, but because it doesn’t require much additional setup over a traditional content plan.
Writer Bio: Delany M is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.