Content trimmedOwners of small businesses often ask: How can I create and share content to build my brand? Here’s five tips to get you started:

  1. If you are giving a talk to your networking or leads group, share it with a wider audience. You know, reuse it. Don’t let it go to waste. I took a talk I did and uploaded it to LinkedIn and to my blog and Facebook page. Another idea is to record your talk on your phone and upload the audio as a podcast on your website. Or do the same thing with video. Even a photo of you during your talk is content-worthy.
  2. Discover where your best customers hang out. I don’t mean, what is their favorite wine bar or coffee shop, although that’s useful, too. Where do they get their information about services they need — like how they found their most recent veterinarian, or how they found you? Maybe a friend gave them your name, and they went right to Google, which took them to your website. Or maybe they’re millennials on Pinterest or Instagram. Gather enough of that data, and you’ll know where YOU need to be to attract customers like them.
  3. Give LinkedIn a try. If I had to pick just one of all the social platforms out there, it would be LinkedIn. I’m part of a test group for a yet-to-be-launched feature that has great potential to attract new leads and clients for small businesses, with a new tab to search for service providers by location. Customers who do this will see which of their “connections” are connected with you, and then they’ll be able to click on a new “Conversation” button to ask for word-of-mouth recommendations. Your “Summary” will be displayed prominently, so that’s a large window of content you’ll want to get in shape.
  4. Pick content that helps you engage with your prospects. What is it that grabs their attention and ultimately connects you? Here’s some ideas:
    • Useful tips: Are you a mortgage adviser, like Tony Crane? Share the mortgage rate trends. A property manager like Nancy Ross? Give a rental market update. A techie like Ben Post? How about the latest advice for keeping your computer data secure. It’s all good content that you can take out into the world.
    • New products and services: My friend, Rachel, owns a restaurant that’s started offering picnic baskets, and Good Times did a story. Rachel didn’t have to write it herself, but she could leverage the story by linking to it on social media.
    • Sales, deals, promotions, contests and giveaways, reviews, awards and recognition
    • Change in hours of operation, company news, upcoming events, community involvement
  5. Target your messages. Develop a strategy for sharing those topics about your business that will bring you more business and address your customer needs. What are your marketing goals? How can you engage your audience? One idea for planning is to keep an editorial calendar to help you spread out your content and not forget any upcoming events.

So there you have it: Five content development tips for small businesses. Just remember: Create content, make it available to your people, wherever they are, and keep it relevant, social, engaging, newsworthy, targeted, and organized!