When there’s so much that you could say it can be hard to know where to focus your limited time. You know that digital marketing relies on creating and sharing a steady stream of content, but what content and when?
Different kinds of content serves different functions, and you’ll need more or less of it at certain stages in your business, depending on your business goals. Some of it falls into the ‘nice to have’ category, but there are some words you can’t really do without.
Here’s a roundup that covers what you’ll need as a content baseline, with tips on how and where to use it. Think of it a capsule wardrobe for your content marketing, the five pieces that you can trust to get you into anywhere.
Your valuable content capsule wardrobe
Dress it up or dress it down, this content mix will power your digital marketing.
- ‘Simple story’ content
- ‘How it works’ content
- “Trust me’ content
- ‘I’m alive’ content
- ‘Prove it’ content
Five types of content you need (and where to wear it)
1. ‘Simple story’ content
Making what you do and why you do it unmissable for potential clients is crucial. Doing this requires telling a story of transformation that the right people can quickly grasp. Simple story content lives in its purest form on your website home page, and is fleshed out in your About Us section, LinkedIn profile, elevator pitch etc.
Distil it down to a strapline and weave it into a manifesto, everything that you say and do links back to this story. It’s the most important of the content types, and like a heartbeat needs to be strong and consistent.
2. ‘How it works’ content
A great story can pull the right people towards you, tapping into your customers’ challenges and helping them see how working with you will transform their situation. The best stories pack an emotional punch whereas ‘how it works’ content is more logical. People want to see exactly what you’re selling, and the pathway you’d take them on.
‘How it works’ content lays out your plans, explains your process, and helps people understand what it would be like to be a client of yours. How, precisely, will you help them? What steps are involved? What are the costs?
This is your sales content, written from your customers’ point of view. It lives on your service pages, with a link directly from your home page.
3. ‘Prove it’ content
Social proof. Case studies and testimonials back up your ‘How it works’ content. More useful than just a page of logos, is a handful of detailed stories show how you’ve helped.
Share the results of working with you in your customers’ words rather than your own. Social proof is another level of reassurance for potential clients.
What’s the ROI of working with you? What’s the transformation you deliver? Create content that proves it.
4. ‘Trust me’ content
So you have a compelling story that moves hearts, and a clear process that soothes minds. Next you need ‘trust me’ content that wraps both together.
‘Trust me’ content is the valuable content that you share which magnifies and amplifies your story. It’s the blog posts in which your explore clients’ challenges with empathy and humour, the guides which delve more deeply into your clients’ worlds, the films and podcasts that teach people something new.
Teach with your content, and you’ll position yourself as a friendly and expert guide.
5. ‘I’m alive’ content
If the first four types of content live mainly on your website, then ‘I’m alive’ content runs freer on social media and in the real world. It’s the updates on LinkedIn, the chats on Twitter, the comments in forums, the sharing of other people’s content, and the networking conversations.
These words remind clients and alert potential clients that you’re open for business. They help pull more people back to the website where they can read your story and start the process of getting to know you all over again.
Where to start?
If you don’t have your story straight, that’s the place to begin. Who’s your customer? What do they want? What are they struggling with? How can you help? What’s the journey you’ll take them on? What’s the transformation they’ll experience from working with you? You’ll find more on how to do this in Once Upon A Time. Why Your Business Needs A Story.
If your story’s straight but you’re still finding it hard to sell, take a look at your ‘How it works’ content. Some advice on writing better service pages can be found in How To Write Service Pages That Sing.
If you want to build trust in what you do, check out this classic post by our great friend Andrea P Howe, Trust based marketing. 4 ways to up the ante.
And if you haven’t blogged for a while, spend some time creating some ‘I’m alive!’ content. Get yourself a coffee and set aside half and hour to look at LinkedIn and comment on other people’s posts or to have a couple of conversations on Twitter. Let people know you’re open for business.
(A version of this blog originally appeared on LinkedIn.)