Small brick and mortar businesses often have to change their marketing strategies seasonally to maintain audience attention in the marketplace. As school starts, football season kicks off, and we enter the land of monthly holidays, your business needs to stand out from the crowd. Albert Einstein defined insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you’re reusing the same content topics and styles, you aren’t achieving your maximum potential.
If you have been in a cycle of using the same type of content year round, you’re certainly not alone. It’s difficult to find the time and energy to constantly diversify content to match current goals. For small business owners juggling daily operations and other marketing endeavors, content may be pretty far down on the to-do list. But content should be front and center on everyone’s to-do list, and it can be fun, too!
This autumn is the perfect time to reorient your business to focus on generating high-quality content to carry your business through the fall season. Many B2B small business marketers cite not having enough time, producing regular content, and producing engaging content as their top challenges to content marketing strategies. The same is likely also true for B2C marketers. Here are some tips to turn your strategy around in fall 2015.
What to Post
You don’t have to 100% original in your content to get noticed; you just have to be different enough. Have you ever typed a search phrase into Google, only to get four or five results that look almost exactly the same? While a user may find the information he or she was looking for, there’s no reason to consider one source above the other, because they are so similar. Here are some ideas for differentiating your content this fall:
- Offer something different – It’s okay if your title is very similar to other search results, but if the content is the same general material, then you’re probably not going to stand out. Cover your topic with unique language, but make sure that you add something that no other listing does.
For instance, in an article about fall decorating tips, focus on your local experience of fall with a personal anecdote at the beginning or offer a fun recipe at the end so that readers can sit back and enjoy their decorations. It’s not a completely different topic, but it’s different enough to make readers take a second look.
- Create snippet content – Use Snapchat, meme generators, and gif generators to create seasonally relevant “snippets.” Circulate them online as a fun way to inform purchasers of sales, product offerings, or your autumn store layout. Target your campaigns at a local level to make an impact as a brick and mortar store.
- Develop a quiz or survey – If you sell shoes, use a quiz creator to help consumers find their perfect shoe style. Do you have more of a Louboutin stiletto or a Chuck Taylor sneakers type of personality? Interactive content can be fun, silly, and get the name of your brand out there. Create an autumn themed quiz with a surprise discount code at the end for an even better fall impact.
- Use the old standbys in a new way – Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. You can’t say that black is the new orange in a fall color palette (even though orange is the new black). Pumpkins, scarecrows, and wheat bundles are iconic autumn symbols that just need some refreshing.
In your content, brainstorm for a new way to say, “Time to fall back with some savings!” Check out some autumn imagery in movies and books for inspiration. While you’re at it, weigh in on the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte debate on social media or use a traditional scarecrow to show your makeup company’s version of “clown contouring” do’s and don’ts!
When to Post
There are optimal times for posting different kinds of content, which can improve your business’ online visibility. For instance, LinkedIn is primarily used by professionals during the workday. Tuesdays through Thursdays are the best days for posting during regular business hours. Other social sites have different optimal times based on user demographics. Use big data statistics and what you know about your own community to help you determine when to post your content for a better return on investment.
Every company produces a different quantity of online content. Since content is competing with other pieces right out of the gate, focus on making your content stand out, rather than cranking out new pieces every day or every week. Social media posts can be helpful on a daily basis, but high-quality article postings can be effective every week or every month. You can also try updating or recycling old material if it hasn’t been used in the past several months.
How to Come Up with Ideas
Set apart some content brainstorming time every week. If you don’t make content a priority, then you may be missing out on a great opportunity to grow your consumer base. Instead of sitting down with one or two marketers or on your own as a small business owner, make content a group effort. Have everyone come in early to the office for breakfast or go out for a cocktail on Friday. The environment should be relaxed and open to anyone who has an idea. Jot down everything, even if it seems irrelevant at the time. Autumn is a great time to get engaged in the content marketing process as a team.
Successful content comes from a variety of sources. It seems as if many professionals get caught up in marketing trends and search engine optimization (SEO) results, and they forget to focus on originality. Those marketing aspects are important, but it’s equally important to take a step back and let new ideas seep into the conversation.
There are idea generation sites that may be helpful for some, but don’t forget to focus on organic content development within your organization. Make trending topics your own and run with the ideas. Since the lifespan of content is relatively short, don’t be afraid to try something new this fall. You may find that the cool weather and a warm cup of cider are the perfect inspiration for your best content campaign yet.
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