A couple of weeks ago, the Michigan Business Rap had me on their Lunch Break radio program. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting local business professionals and sharing my insight on content marketing! The other participants couldn’t have been more welcoming and gracious.

So what is the Michigan Business Rap? According to their website, “Michigan Business Rap is a daily radio show hosted by Michael Patrick Shiels and Tony Cuthbert. Every weekday afternoon from 12-1 p.m. on The Team 92.1 FM the show is live. The hosts engage a panel of local business experts in a roundtable discussion, which is designed to break down hot topics and timely news stories from the perspective of business owners. The show opens the microphone to the business community, resulting in informative, interactive and entertaining discussions.”

I had the privilege of speaking with Jim McDaniels of the McDaniels Agency, Peggy Doty of Doty Mechanical, and Kim Laforet of The Laforet Team.  They each asked fantastic questions, and I couldn’t help but share a few with you!

Listen to the full episode here!


Content Marketing Basics You Need to Know

1. What is content marketing?

To me, inspired by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content with the goal of interesting your customers and causing them to take action.

Content marketing is different from traditional marketing because it is less focused on trying to sell a product and more focused on providing value to your customers. Content marketing includes blog posts, videos, ebooks, infographics, etc.

Through content marketing, you can answer the questions your customers have and provide them with tips or advice related to your industry.


2. How can an outside consultant do my business justice?

Many business owners wonder about this. How can they trust someone outside of their business to really capture what they are about? The key is in the questions the consultant asks.

When working with a new client, we always ask questions to get to know their personality and the personality of the business. We want to dig in and get to know them and truly identify what they do different that provides value to their customers. We have a laundry list of interview questions to help paint a clear picture.

The thing is, the content you create should be all about your customers. By not understanding the ins and outs of your business or industry, we can more easily take on the persona of your audience and identify the questions they have.

Our goal is to help you focus on your customers’ perspective and to write in a way that resonates with them. As business owners, it is easy to write for ourselves, or with our knowledge level in mind, but most likely, your customers don’t speak the same language.

And of course, our process involves writing the first draft, sending it to you for review, and tweaking the content as needed. We pay attention to the way you speak and the phrases you use to incorporate them when appropriate.

3. If you give solutions away for free, won’t you lose customers?

Business owners often worry that if they give answers and solutions away, their customers won’t need them. If they teach their customer how to fix a problem without them, they will be cut out of the equation. Thankfully, that’s not true.

For example, if a plumber publishes a video on how to fix a broken toilet, and you watch it, two things may happen. One, it will work, and you will fix the toilet. No, you won’t technically need the plumber at that moment, but down the line, when you have a different plumbing project, you will think of them. Or, if you get in the middle of the project, and you’re still having trouble, you will call the plumber and hire them to help you finish the job.

The thing is, by creating quality content, you’re giving your customers an idea of what it would be like to work with you and the quality of your product/service. Think about a chocolate shop that gives away samples. They give you a taste, with the hope of you buying more chocolate. Yes, it’s free, and they’re giving something of value away, but the opportunity is greater than the risk.

I promise you, by producing helpful and quality content, you are not going to lose customers.


4. How important is a compelling headline?

According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 people will read the article. A headline is your first opportunity to draw people in and encourage them to interact with your content.

For help with writing headlines, there is a great tool called Co-schedule Analyzer. It breaks down the type of article you’re writing, and analyzes if you are using common/uncommon words. This tool will give your headline an overall rating to let you know how strong it is.

If you’re going to take the time to create content, don’t hide it behind a weak headline!


5. How do you determine a content creation schedule?

The most important thing is setting realistic expectations that are appropriate for your industry and your customers. Being consistent and producing quality content is more important than publishing a lot of content.

Think about what your customers are looking for. If you’re a fashion blogger, and your readers come to your site every day, you will need to publish content more regularly. If you own an HVAC company, your customers are probably just coming to your site when they have a specific problem or question. They are not coming to your site just for light reading, so you don’t need to publish content as often.

Once you determine a schedule - stick to it! Don’t say you’re going to post every week, and then only post once a month.


6. What’s the best way to respond to comments/interaction on your posts?  

The goal is to have a conversation. If someone takes the time to write an insightful question or comment on your blog, video, or social media post, respond thoughtfully! Don’t just say thank you!

Think of this as an opportunity to start a conversation.  Answer any questions they ask, follow up with a question of your own, or provide additional resources. The key to getting the most out of your social media platforms is to engage with your audience!


7. Is there a rule for resharing or repurposing content?

You absolutely need to reshare and repurpose the original content you create.

If you just share a piece of content once, you are significantly limiting the lifespan of your content. You need to share that piece of content multiple times to get the exposure you need.

Beyond that, yes, you need to take your original content and transform it into different types of content. Turn your blog posts into PDFs your audience can download for free or make them into a mini video series. Take your ebook and turn it into an eye-catching infographic!

Think about different ways you can use the original content you created - keep in mind, everyone has a unique preference for the way they process information! Don’t limit yourself by just sticking to one type of content.


Thanks again to the Michigan Business Rap for having me on the show! If you’re still unsure of how content marketing could help your business, check out our 23 Content Marketing Tips for Your Small Business post!

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