Inspiring people to read and share your content is not as hard as you might think, nor does it require sophisticated writing skills or an inordinate amount of time. Yet many small business owners believe those three myths and it’s causing them to miss out on opportunities to engage customers and grow their business.
To prove those myths wrong, here are 10 shortcuts to creating great, shareable content.
1. Use photos and videos to tell your story. A funny or heartwarming image with a catchy headline will get your message across and increase the likelihood of your content getting shared on social media.
2. Ask open-ended and specific questions to initiate conversations. For example, a sports pub may ask Facebook fans to weigh in on the upcoming World Series. The responses will keep the content engine humming while allowing you to further engage customers between visits.
3. Run contests. For example, a yoga studio may ask newsletter subscribers, “What is the most challenging pose and why?” In exchange for their answers, random names may be put into a drawing for free classes. The answers, along with profiling the winners, are terrific fodder for future issues.
4. Proactively answer the most frequently asked questions from customers.
5. Curate other people’s content and add your own opinion. Just be sure to give credit and a link to the original source.
6. Enlist industry experts to participate in a Q&A or write a guest post.
7. Issue a survey. The results and responses will have a long shelf life in your email and social media marketing efforts. Added content bonus – let customers know about the changes you’ve made as a result of their feedback.
8. Read the news and follow conversations on social media to spark fresh content ideas.
9. Develop an editorial calendar that looks at least six months ahead so you’re not wasting time pulling together content at the last minute.
10. Dont be afraid to recycle content. While nobody wants to read the same material twice, you can reuse the kernels of good ideas by putting a fresh twist on an angle or using different formats to reach your audience such as Tweets or LinkedIn posts.
Great content is one of the most effective ways to stay at the top of your customers' minds. Now that you know the myths and shortcuts, there’s nothing stopping you from generating more business through content-driven email and social media.
Steve Robinson is Constant Contact’s educational marketing expert in the Midwestern United States (IL, IN, KY, OH, & MI). He has over 30 years experience supporting small business, with a background in small business marketing, management & development. He has helped thousands of small businesses, associations, and nonprofits develop and implement effective email marketing, social media, online survey and engagement marketing strategies. Steve has twice been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ Who’s Who in Non-Profit Management and currently writes a guest blog for nbcchicago.com’s Inc.well Blog. Steve draws from this experience to be a valuable resource to Midwestern small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Steve has educated more than 40,000 small businesses on behalf of Constant Contact since joining the team in 2007 and has presented at @Midwest, Techweek Chicago, & for the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office Online Marketing Contest to name just a few.