When you’re planning out your marketing content, what’s the number one thing you think of? If it’s your own products or services, you’re not alone! It makes sense that many small business owners factor in promotional posts before anything else. However, good marketing focuses on more than just your business and engaging content is crucial.
In this post, I’m going to explore why creating content around topics that don’t all lead directly back to your brand is so effective. Any successful marketing strategy should involve this balance. So let’s jump straight in and explore where the content stumbling blocks are, and why and how you can resolve them.
Product or Service Tunnel Vision
For most small business owners, taking the leap and becoming self-employed is a risk. It involves a lot of rewards, but that doesn’t make the scary parts any easier! In an effort to ensure they make as many sales as possible, product or service tunnel vision can creep in.
It’s easy to see why this can happen. The more you post about your business, the more likely you are to engage people – right?
Unfortunately, wrong. And if you take a step back from your marketing and think it over, you’ll know exactly why! Repetitive sales posts get boring quickly – no matter how exciting your product or service may be.
… so, what else can I talk about?
When figuring out what engaging content you can create, it can be worth going back to your brand values. What made you start your business? And what is most important to you, as a human being as well as a business owner?
For example, if you’re a vegan cosmetics brand, there are only so many photos of your eyeshadows that will draw people in. So, widen the net – why are you, yourself, interested in vegan products? Chances are, you’re interested in implementing a more sustainable lifestyle overall. You’ll also be interested in animals and animal welfare, climate change and possibly even the growth of small, independent businesses over large corporations.
There, you have three instant content pillars to work with, outside of your promotional content. Sustainability, wildlife and shopping local.
Why does this marketing content work?
This type of content works for a few reasons. The first is that it is that all-important engaging content.
By spending time widening the net and opening up conversations around wider issues in your industry, or complementary industries, you create hooks for potential new customers. Customers who hadn’t previously known about, or even realised, they could use your product or service.
Sticking with the vegan cosmetics idea, sharing news about your involvement with a sustainability charity, or the findings of a recent climate change report can encourage conversation in the comments. Someone who is a supporter of that similar charities may get involved, having never thought about exploring vegan makeup before.
Before you know it, they’ve hit that follow button and shared your post with some friends. They slowly begin to interact with all of your sustainability-focused content. And as time goes on, and their interest increases, you’ll see them make their first purchase!
Looking to reach customers earlier in their journey? Here is a whole post dedicated to just that!
The next reason it works is that it highlights your expertise and, in doing so, earns the trust of your customers.
Engaging content like this shows that not only are you passionate about your product but you are well versed in the industry as a whole. Showing that you care about more than just your own offering is comforting. It tells the people who are interacting with your marketing that you’re in it for more than just the sales.
It also, quietly, suggests that you aren’t desperate for sales. Mixing up your content and not having to consistently share your product or service itself signals that you’re doing well. And, whether they realise it or not, customers gravitate towards that.
Uninterrupted promotional posts are the content equivalent of putting on a sale too often. Pretty soon people will wonder why you’re having to cut your prices so often…
How to get ideas for engaging content
One major stumbling block is coming up with ideas. But, as I explained earlier, once you have your key content pillars figured out, things should begin to click.
If you want to get really organised with it, assign a colour to each pillar and start filling in your content calendar. Once you’ve settled on a schedule, it’s time to start filling in the blanks.
To help generate ideas, make sure you are following other accounts in your industry who share up-to-date news. That sense of expertise and trust comes from staying ahead of the game! If you stumble on what you feel is some serious engaging content, that fits with your brand values, share it!
Subscribe to relevant newsletters, blogs and Pinterest boards that focus on those key content pillars. Set aside some time, even just half an hour each week, to go through them. Remember, anything that aligns with those brand values and piques your own interest could be exactly the sort of content your customers would love to consume too.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
9 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
How to Add Personality to Your Social Media Marketing
4 Types of Social Media Content You Should Focus on
Why You Should Focus on Your Social Media Engagement