If you spend any time online, you know about content marketing. The idea is that if a business creates enough high-quality content for its consumers, it will see an improvement in search rankings and share rates, as well as a boost in customer loyalty.
Not bad, for a few well placed, well thought-out articles, right? But wait! Great content doesn't only come by way of articles; it can be photos, long videos, short videos or even a podcast. A lot of small businesses that are trying to implement a content strategy into their marketing programs automatically equate content with the written word, but there are other ways to tell a great story.
Here are four ways you can create great content—without writing a word.
Photos, photos and more photos. Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing social networks, and many say it's because it is so incredibly visual. Look around your business and consider what you can take a photo of that would be compelling to your customers and prospects. (Need inspiration? Check out what others are doing in your industry, or anything outside your industry that catches your attention.) Some organizations post ads, others shoot their technology in action, and others have their teams pose in fun shots.
Snap a photo with your phone, but make sure whatever you upload to Pinterest is relevant and looks good. Use Instagram to help give your photos a little extra polish, if they need it.
Longer-form videos. People love to watch videos. In fact, YouTube is the number-two search engine, behind Google. Videos are passed around like candy. It's pretty easy to create a video—using your laptop's camera or the camera on your phone—and upload it to YouTube. Then you can embed the video in your website and on your blog, and share it on the social networks.
A long-form video takes a bit of planning. First decide on the format: Is it just you talking to the camera? Are there two people discussing something? Is it a skit put on by your staff? Once you have an idea down, you'll want to jot down an outline to keep things focused. Now you need to figure out the content: What pains do you solve for your customers? What solutions do you offer that are different from your competitors? What crazy and fun things do your employees do in their off time? The answers to those questions make for great content.
Super-short videos. The Vine app allows you to create 6-second videos. No, you can't say or do a lot in 6 seconds, but you can easily showcase your manufacturing floor, the lobby of your building, your office structure or your retail location in 6 seconds. Download the app to your phone and try it. If you like what you see, share it on your social networks.
To podcast or not to podcast. The life of podcasts has been pretty volatile. First they were the next big thing. Then they died. And now there's buzz in many marketing circles that podcasts are the next big thing—again. Creating what is essentially a radio program that you promote through iTunes is not easy. It's the most time intensive of these four ideas, but it helps with brand awareness and credibility. If this is something that appeals to you, and you think you'd be good at, by all means give it a shot. For ideas, check out these podcasts: Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, Freakonomics and A Prairie Home Companion.
With the exception of podcasting, once you figure out how to use the technology—YouTube, Vine and Pinterest are all extremely user-friendly—these ideas can take less than 15 minutes. Even if you're not a writer, you can be a successful player at the content game.
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