I got a call yesterday from a potential client, as he asked for my professional opinion on what I should do for his new business in order to increase awareness and to create buzz. It's a good question, since new companies need to market themselves. However, new companies don't have the resources established companies have to ramp up a content marketing strategy or the background to engage with customers the way an established company does. So, what's a brand new business to do? Here's what a new company should do to get started with content marketing, and to build the awareness necessary to generate leads and to earn customers:
Think about Your Brand
Your new business will be meeting its customers and potential customers head on, whether that's on the website, on social media, via email, or on third-party review sites. Because of this, you need to think about your brand and what it's all about before you start communicating that to the world. Is your company fun, cheerful, and child-friendly, or is it edgy, active, and modern? Do you want your customers and potential customers to think of your company as a traditional, serious company, or as a youthful and upbeat? Granted, the brand will depend on the type of company you are and who you target demographic is (do your customers want an edgy financial services firm? Would a child-friendly insurance company make any sense), but the brand needs to be figured out before engaging in any form of content marketing.
Develop a Business Blogging Habit
You're new company may have a website and may have some content on there that's optimized for search engines and written really well, but it's not ranking very high in the results. Why? You domain and your website haven't yet proven its value, and search engines aren't going to rank anything that hasn't demonstrated its relevance. The best way to get your website ranking and to demonstrate that relevance is to start business blogging and to do it regularly. By developing a business blogging habit, you get the search engines into the habit of crawling your site regularly, indexing those new blog posts and accruing the credibility so desperately needed to have effective online marketing.
Build a Social Media Presence
Actually, I think it's important to develop the business blogging habit first, and then to build the social media presence. The reason is that once you have the blog going, you have something to share on social media, something other than "Sign Up Today!" or "Buy from Us!", and other messages people don't really care about. But, your blog posts are much more interesting, and are hopefully offering something valuable to your potential customers and aren't just longer versions of "Sign Up Today!" and "Buy from Us!". As a new business, a cool way to engage in social media marketing is to discuss the progress you're making as a new business, such as announcing when your storefront is finally opening, announcing when you get a new customer and how happy you are to have them, or perhaps talking about why the business was started and what you hope to achieve.
Plan for Future Content
Hopefully, your business will grow and writing blog posts won't be enough for you to generate leads and to earn customers. You will have to engage in other aspects of content marketing, such as email newsletters and lead nurturing with other types of content, such as eBooks, white papers, tip sheets, and checklists. You'll have to engage other customers in other ways, such as videos, podcasts, slideshows, and infographics. No, you don't have to do all of the above, but as your business grows and you learn more about your leads and your customer base, you can adjust your content marketing strategy to include content types and topics that engage them, while removing the types and topics that don't.
Overall, make sure to create content at a pace that works for you. Although you may get more visitors and pages if you blog every single day, but if you can't keep up that schedule and your quality suffers for it, then it's better to take back to every other day or only a few times a week. Quality needs to take precedence over quantity, so don't sacrifice it to try and to catch up or to seem like you are able to do a lot right away.