When I talk with small business owners about why they should invest in content marketing, I’m often met with wide-eyed stares of downright fear. As someone who creates content for a living, I get it. The thought of having to produce a steady stream of highly targeted, high-quality content with little or no staff can be scary. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way as you can repurpose one piece of content to make two, three, four, or more.
Just this morning, I read about a great example of how to do this right. Remember Pharrell and his “Happy” song? Like it or not, the song was a big hit. It had a certain beat that made millions for Pharrell – and millions of people want to well…be happy. While he could have stopped with the song, he didn’t. Pharrell recently announced that he’ll be working with Penguin Books to extend the happiness of “Happy” to include a series of picture books for kids. Smart move.
Not only will this new venture grow (and maybe even reinvigorate) the popularity of his song, but it will enable Pharrell to reach new audiences and add a kinder, softer layer to his image.
While we can’t all be famous singers and songwriters, we can take a page from Pharrell’s new books and learn to repurpose great content. Here’s how it’s done:
1. Start by creating a content marketing strategy that aligns your business goals with the specific needs and wants of your audiences. If you’re not sure how to create this type of strategy, find an outside resource. There are freelance consultants and entire companies dedicated to content marketing. You can also find many helpful resources online. Content Marketing Institute is a great place to start.
For purposes of this article, let’s say that you just opened a hardware store and you want to get customers in for a look (and a sale!). Take some time to know your audience. Find out what they love and hate about hardware stores. What type of hardware do they use the most? What are their biggest hardware headaches? You get the idea.
I don’t know about you, but every time I move, my pictures get leaned up against walls for months (or even longer) because I dread trying to get them hung correctly. I never seem to have the right hardware on hand and have a terrible time hanging my pictures in a straight line. Plus, my husband hates when I put holes in the walls. Of course, he’s also not fond of using adhesives as they always seem to pull paint off the walls during the hanging process.
Your job is to think of ways to help. I would definitely be up for attending a quick in-store workshop on how to do this right – especially if I could leave armed with the tools to get the job done right. Along the way, you provide much-needed help and get new customers in the door. You also make a sale.
2. So let’s say that your workshop is a piece of content. (Remember, content goes way beyond the written word to cover every way that you communicate with and “touch” your customers.) Right off the bat, I see a number of ways to repurpose it.
— Start with branded signage and advertising that announces your store’s arrival and invites customers in for a free workshop.
— If you don’t have a blog, start one and be sure to include a post that provides picture-hanging tips for new homeowners.
— Post a link to your blog along with a personalized message on your company’s Facebook page and any other social media platforms you may be using.
— Use e-mail marketing to invite area residents to attend your next workshop and offer a coupon or free give-away while you’re at it.
— Create a simple “how-to” video and post it on your website…and the list goes on and on.
3. Make sure your content marketing strategy includes an editorial calendar that’s filled with relevant and timely topics. Think through the seasons of the year – and the challenges your customers face during those times. Figure out how you can help and then shout it from the rooftops via the content marketing channels your customers prefer.
4. Measure your progress. Along the way, it’s important to track your results. Part of the content marketing strategy I mentioned earlier should include ways of measuring your progress. These will be specific to your business and will include both quantitative and qualitative measures.
Quantitative measures include anything that you can calculate using hard numbers. Examples include an increase in sales, the number of new visitors to a web site, new subscriptions to your blog, etc. Qualitative measures are a bit less concrete, but just as important. These include positive feedback from customers, more activity in your store, better employee morale, positive coverage in your local newspaper, etc. Do more of what’s working well and less of what is not.
5. Commit for the long haul. While you will undoubtedly see some results more quickly than others, most will take time, especially as the needs and wants of your customers change. Things like building awareness and relationships, improving your reputation, becoming “the” trusted source and expert, or paving the way for long-term growth take time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.
Just keep creating great content and delivering it to the right people in the right ways at the right times and you will see. In the meantime, keep an eye out for Pharrell’s new books – and be happy, my friends.