8 Ways to Develop Online Content for Your Business – Even if You Hate to Write
by smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
- Created: March 6, 2012, 10:57 am
These days, “content marketing” is a hot online marketing strategy. But why does the thought of sitting down to write an article strike fear into the hearts of so many small business owners? To hear some people talk, it ranks right up there with public speaking as an anxiety inducer.
There’s no need for it to be that way. We know how to use stories and content to attract customers. We do it all the time. Don’t let an important-sounding term like “content marketing” intimidate you. Here are eight ways to develop, repurpose and/or share content to market your business even if your mind is drawing a blank and you hate to write:
- Participate in Question and Answer sites relevant to your industry and customers. Some good ones to consider for those in B2B businesses (such as consultants, business accountants, and those who sell business solutions) are: LinkedIn Answers; Quora; and Focus.com. Register to be a member (all are free). Then search by topic or keywords to find others who have asked questions relevant to your industry. Then respond and share some of your expertise in short answers.
- Do an email interview of someone you admire for your blog. Interview articles can be easier to write than standard articles, because you only have to think up 5 to 10 questions and a brief introduction paragraph. Your interviewee will actually do more of the writing. Interviews are a nice way to vary your blog content, too. And they’re a good way to network with others in your industry because it gives you a reason to develop an email correspondence with others.
- Find Forums and Discussion Boards – and participate. There are some very popular discussion boards on the Web, covering just about every conceivable interest. You position yourself as a thought leader and expert by answering questions. Usually you don’t have to write long answers – a paragraph in length usually is sufficient. Forums are a great way to not only connect with potential clients and customers, but the questions that people ask can trigger ideas for blog posts, too, that you may wish to write.
- Contact podcast hosts and volunteer to become a guest. Many podcast hosts are thrilled to be contacted by a well-prepared guest willing to share his or her expertise. Find them through a good podcast list, or scope out BlogTalkRadio.com. When you contact the host, have one or two suggested topics you are willing to speak on – and make sure they are relevant to the host’s audience. After the podcast, you can write a post on your own blog about the show. Include a few bullets in your post outlining key points and link to the audio file. You can even have the transcript prepared using an inexpensive service like CastingWords.
- Create a downloadable Tips Sheet. A Tips Sheet might be nothing more than a collection of brief tips on some topic relevant to your customers. It can be simple bullet points and as short as one page. Create the Tips Sheet as a document (say a Word document or PowerPoint). Include your website address and some contact info – but keep it informative and not a hard sell. Spend a little time to make it look attractive, and then save it as a PDF (this is very easy to do with Microsoft Office 2010 products). Put it on your website, and give the link as a thank-you when people sign up for your email list.
- Tweet out your best blog posts from the past. Why should good quality content stay buried in your blog archives? Occasionally go back into your blog archives, find a good post you’re proud of from the past, and tweet out the link on Twitter, along with a pithy observation like “On this day one year ago I wrote about ZYX [link]. I see my prediction came true.” Or just tweet it out without reference to it being older – many posts are timeless.
- Create a video. If the thought of writing ANYTHING causes your mind to go blank, then maybe you’re one of those people whose words flow more freely by just talking. You’ll need your webcam, or a good quality video camera on your mobile device, or even better, a good-quality small video camera (you can find these on Amazon or elsewhere online). Keep the video short – no more than 3 minutes in length – and then upload it to YouTube. Be sure to write a good description, and then embed it into your blog or website. Voila! Easy content without all the writing.
- Pin some image content. OK, now this tip is for those who don’t want to write more than a couple of words. Pinterest is one of the hottest social sharing sites at the moment. With it, you simply “pin” or share content visually (you only need to write a brief description about the image – words are at a minimum). One thing that savvy small business owners are doing is developing a Pinterest Board related to their businesses.
Think outside the box when it comes to content. It doesn’t always have to mean writing a 500-word blog post or a lengthy article.
About the Author
My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.
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