If you’re an independent entrepreneur or small business owner, you’ve most likely heard that one of the best ways to get people to know, like, and trust you is to get good at content marketing. But what should you be creating? How do you know what to write or talk about? Today, I’ll share 3 simple ideas for creating powerful content that will help you engage and connect with more clients or customers.
What is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Instead of constantly pitching your products and services, you give away useful content to help your potential customers solve problems. Content can be in the form of blog posts, videos, emails, podcasts, webinars, live video, infographics, slideshows, trainings, guides, tutorials, tips, and more.
This blog post you’re reading right now? Content marketing. I’m hoping to help you solve the problem of not knowing what topics you should be covering in your content marketing. I know, it’s all very meta.
Content marketing is so important because it’s probably the most effective way to build your brand, gain credibility, and earn trust. For just about every business in every industry, it has been proven to work. In fact, you can’t really market anything without content. But what content should you create?
What content should you create?
One of the most often-asked questions I get from small business owners is, “What content should I create? What should I write about? What should I talk about?”
One of the keys to creating powerful content marketing is to know what topics you should be covering. Once you’ve identified the best topics for your business, creating the content is pretty easy. Knowing what topics resonate with your audience is the key to powerful content marketing.Knowing what topics resonate with your audience is the key to powerful content marketing. Click To Tweet
You want to be creating powerful content, but what topics should you cover? Below are three very simple ideas that will help you come up with a bunch of great topics that your audience will find valuable and helpful.
3 simple ideas for creating powerful content
1. Refer to your brand manifesto
There’s no doubt that your brand manifesto is one of your most valuable resources. It can be used to show people what you stand for, it can serve as your North Star—a set of guiding principles for your business, and it can be the source of great ideas for creating powerful content.
How to use your brand manifesto to come up with great topics:
- List each of your values or beliefs from your brand manifesto
- Under each item, write down 3-5 ideas for communicating that value or belief
- Use short statements in the form of headlines
- Brainstorm different ways of sharing these topics
For example, let’s say you own a bakery. Here’s one of the beliefs from your manifesto: “We believe using organic ingredients is better for our bodies and better for our planet.”
Here are some possible topic ideas:
- Why organic is better for your body
- How organic produce is better for the planet
- Why we’re committed to using only organic ingredients
- How buying organic helps local farmers
- Why we don’t use preservatives
- Why organic tastes better
And some ideas for sharing these topics:
- Blog posts
- Series of photos on Instagram
- A series of quotes to share on Twitter
- Short YouTube videos explaining why organic is better
- A shareable infographic comparing conventional to organic
- An FAQ page on your website answering questions about what organic is and why it’s better
All of these ideas came from just ONE item in your manifesto. Do this for each of your core values and beliefs and you’ll easily have a year’s worth of content topics ready to go.
2. Solve your customer’s core problems
Another simple idea for creating powerful content is to identify your customer’s biggest problems and then help solve them. The idea is that if you can show people that you have the solution they’re looking for, they will come back to you over and over again. The process for generating topics around your customer’s core problems is very similar to the manifesto example above.
How to come up with topics that solve your customer’s core problems:
- List each of your customer’s core problems
- For each core problem, come up with 3-5 ways you help solve that problem
- Use short statements in the form of headlines
- Brainstorm ways of sharing your solutions
Here’s an example of what this might look like. Imagine you’re a business coach. One of your client’s core problems is: They are always setting goals that are either too low or too high.
- What happens if your goals are too low?
- Does it feel like you can never reach your goals?
- How to set S.M.A.R.T goals for better business success
- The power of right-sizing your goals
- LinkedIn articles
- A free goal-setting guide they can download from your website
- An email drip series on setting realistic goals
- A SlideShare presentation on proper goal-setting
Again, a bunch of great ideas all based on just ONE of your client’s core problems! I hope you’re starting to see how easy it is to create powerful content that’s super helpful to your clients.
3. Compare and contrast
The third idea for creating powerful content is to create topics around all the ways your brand is different from everyone else. If you’ve already done some work on differentiating your business, you’re a step ahead. You can use your unique selling proposition or your onliness statement as a great place to start. List every way that your brand is different by comparing and contrasting with your competitors. And then, like in the examples above, jot down 3-5 topics and sharing ideas for each.
For example, if you are a caterer, one of your big differentiators is that you cook custom gourmet meals in your client’s homes.
Topics ideas that compare and contrast your brand with your competition:
- Most caterers pre-cook all their food and deliver it later. I provide all the ingredients and then use your kitchen to prepare a fresh, hot, delicious meal.
- Other caterers just set up their food and stand there. With me, you can enjoy a glass of wine while I cook a gourmet meal for you and your guests. The food prep is a big part of the experience!
- With most caterers, you never know what’s in the food. Using the finest ingredients available, I’ll bring your gourmet meal to life right before your eyes. You’ll see how everything is made so there’s no guessing and no surprises.
- A series of blog posts highlighting the benefits of having your meal prepared while you watch
- A video series showing how to cook some of your signature dishes
- An Instagram series of beautiful food photos to WOW your audience
Next, list every other way your brand is unique or different and go through the same exercise again.
Your call to action today is to just start now! Grab a notebook and start making your lists. Once you start generating ideas they will come more easily. Pretty soon you’ll have a massive library of great ideas for creating powerful content. And then take one of your ideas and turn it into a post, or a video, or a podcast, or a SlideShare, or an email, or an Instagram post, or whatever. Your marketing will start getting better results and become more and more effective.
What content ideas have you tried? How have they worked for you? Share an idea below.