Sourcing Content for Your Small Business Website

jason-odonnellYou probably know the current terms everyone’s using to qualify the word, marketing. You’ve heard of social media marketing, internet marketing, inbound, permission, and content marketing and maybe more.

Do you know the differences between these different approaches to marketing on the internet?

Since any use of digital media to communicate with a market is inherently multi-layered, and these specific applications of the term marketing further complicate the matter, you may not have defined  your options in any specific way when it comes to branding your small business online .

But as a small business owner, you probably do have at least a vague idea that marketing nowadays is about content. You are aware that maintaining a website and staying current with social media networking are important activities for your business. Your daily regimen, you notice, is salted by a new responsibility: besides running your business, you now must share its daily life on digital media, reporting, assisting, explaining, serving, publishing like never before.

How can the owner of a micro-enterprise manage the everyday demand for content without undue stress? Serving the internet’s bottomless thirst for captivating content can seem like slavery. How can you turn it around so that it’s an easy routine that you love doing?

I suggest starting with your definition of the word, content. What is it and what purpose does it serve?

Possibly every entrepreneur’s definition is different. Content to Sam may be exciting images while to Sonia it’s killer copy and to Steve it’s tutorials.

But these are the media with which to deliver content. The more basic question concerns the meaning of the content: why are exciting images a better choice for you than for someone else? Simple: because your content targets your market, and your market  demonstrably loves rule-breaking images. Great copy may be a better choice for someone else because their tribe loves stories most of all. Another person may not care at all about pictures or stories, but they are a sucker for detailed how-tos.

Once you define what ‘content’ means to your business, the only remaining issue is how to produce it.

This is where you can get really creative. By thinking outside the box regarding available sources for your content, you access endless ideas and inspirations.

In addition to your Google alerts, social media keyword tracking, and general ear-to-the-ground alertness, consider some of the following sources.

  • Other people – Friends, subcontractors, staff, or vendors: interview them and/or ask them to write posts. Take a camera into the street and poll passers-by on questions of interest to your field. Distribute a questionnaire to colleagues and blog their responses. Answer FAQs from customers.
  • Diversions – You know what your market needs from your business, but besides that, what do they like? If you sell outdoor gear, maybe your crowd would appreciate some gentle guitar music or recordings of nature sounds; if you’re a hair stylist, your followers might love your fashion suggestions. Use what you find on other sites to inform your audience.
  • News – What’s going on in your field? Serving as source of info about your industry can attract a  large following. Or tying your content to something big in the news can be powerful. To use an example from today: Paula Deen is dropped from her TV network. If you’re a chef or restaurant, this is fodder for branding content. Create a simple survey and involve your tribe by asking their opinion.

What sources do you turn to for content?

About Mary Ruth

Mary H. Ruth is a virtual assistant, online marketing manager, copywriter and editor, and certified inbound marketing specialist. She has over 30 years' experience in administration and marketing in both non-profit and business sectors, having earned a degree in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. Now living in Gainesville, Florida, she's been working online since late 2007.

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