By Jesse Plautz, SFAMA Social Committee
Whether you are an online business looking to build up your email list or a brick and mortar retailer that needs more foot traffic, creating online content for your audience will help you in ways you wouldn’t believe. A good online marketing strategy always includes digital content in many different forms. There are six types of online content your business needs to start producing, right now!
By creating valuable content to attract, acquire and engage with your target audience, you immediately help them begin to know, like and trust your business. If you have never produced any content before, don’t worry. These six simple types of online content are great ways to provide valuable and relevant content. The best part is you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars or be super technical to bring these types of content to life.
The 6 Basic Types of Content:
1. eBooks & White Papers
eBooks and white papers are great methods for growing email lists and building credibility in your market. These simple short digital guides offer information about a specific topic in your industry.
Many eBooks are simply compilations of previously written blog posts, articles or white papers. Think about re-publishing any of this previously written content into an eBook. This is a great way to add value to your customer’s online experience.
Learn about how to properly produce an eBook and what to do with it after you write it. Check out this great resource “eBooks The Smart Way,” By: Pat Flynn. Pat uses this book to build his email list by giving it away for free. Genius!
Quick Tip: Make a short white paper entitled, “Top 10 Rules or Tricks to Help You Do ______” and give it away for free. If you are an expert in this field, demonstrate thought leadership by making something that illustrates your knowledge of the topic.
2. Online Videos & Audio Podcasts
Don’t be scared of these types of content. They are much easier to produce than you probably think because you most likely have all the necessary tools on your computer already.
A good place to start, if you don’t know what to talk about, is to do an interview with a leading industry expert in your field. Interviews like this are a great way to teach yourself and your customers about a certain topic. Personal interviews also help build credibility, simply by your association with the expert.
Awesome Example: The Rise to the Top is an interview based web show featuring successful online entrepreneurs. Spend a couple hours on here and you will definitely learn some valuable information. While watching, ask yourself why is this content so engaging and how can I emulate this?
Sound boring? They can be if you do them wrong. But when done well, webinars are one of the best ways to educate your customers and generate leads.
If you have extensive knowledge on a topic, there is no reason why you can’t put something together. Get a software program like GoToMeeting and offer to show your customers how to use your products for free.
Be sure to record your live webinar with a program like ScreenFlow, so it is available for later viewing for those that couldn’t make the live session.
4. Email Newsletters
Email newsletters are still the best way to contact your customers, assuming you are sending them valuable content. Don’t underestimate this medium and don’t be intimidated. There are plenty of turn-key email platforms like Mail Chimp, Aweber, and Constant Contact, that make it really easy to set up an email campaign.
There are two types of email newsletters you should think about:
- A periodical that is sent on a regular basis, either weekly or monthly
- A short series of 5 – 10 emails around a certain topic
Quick Tip: Sign up for your competitor’s email list to see what they are sending to their customers and try to evaluate the effectiveness. As with the eBooks and white papers, don’t hesitate to recycle some of your previously written content for your newsletter.
Creating a blog has actually become fairly easy, as there are user friendly free options like Blogger and WordPress. The biggest question to ask is, “What should I blog about?” Look at what other people in your industry are blogging about for ideas and then take the concept, have a new option about it and make it your own. Don’t think that it’s less noteworthy to write about something because the topic has already been used.
Quick Tip: Don’t just blog about your brand. Being brand centric is limiting and does not allow for you to demonstrate your wide breath of knowledge about your industry.
6. Social Networks
Helpful Hint: It is important to interact with people that are talking about your brand online – both positively and negatively.
Regardless of whether or not you are already active on these sites, there is a good chance that your customers are talking about you online right now. Remember, social media happens whether you like it or not. Just get on there and start listening and interacting – being absent is the worst thing you can do when it comes to social networks.
I hope these simple suggestions help you take your business to the top. The most important thing to remember is that the content does not have to be “perfect”, it just has to be engaging. Also, remember that the content can be consumed in many different ways and every person has their own preferences on how to get information. It is pivotal to broaden your reach and explore all available resources. Go out there, get it done and take your business to the top!
Picture Credits: Susan Ohanian