For businesses outside of retail and hospitality, those weeks between Christmas and late January tend to run a little slower. Which make it the perfect time to get ahead on all those little jobs that have been lagging behind; which for many businesses includes content creation, writes Rob Ranoa, Founder and Owner, Hypop.
If you’ve been meaning to start writing a regular business blog, or have been planning to post to your socials more frequently, taking advantage of the summer slowdown to create months’ worth of content in advance will put you on the front foot for the rest of the year.
Planning and research
The most important step for content creation is planning. Sometimes simply coming up with topics can be the most difficult step, and business owners tend to underestimate just how much expert knowledge they have up their sleeves. By writing a list of potential topic ideas, you’ll be surprised by just how many articles you have the potential to write.
A great way to start is to list the overarching umbrella topics relevant to your business, then list all the sub-topics under each of those. For example, a gym owner might have umbrella topics that cover exercise, weight loss, and diet. But then under just the one exercise topic, could sit hundreds of articles covering weight training, marathon training, yoga, and stretching – not to mention the possibility of also interviewing experts in their fields and discussing any news or current events relative to the overarching themes. Chances are, once a business starts listing all the topics they’re able to provide insight on, they could easily come up with enough article ideas for at least one new blog post a week.
Keywords and SEO
A company blog can have many benefits – it’s a way of keeping your customers updated on the latest news, it allows them to ‘meet the team’ and get a feel for the company culture, but for many businesses, one of the key benefits of having a blog is the SEO boost that comes with regularly updated content.
If improving organic search to your website is a key motivator, it’s essential to include keyword research (finding out which words customers use to find your products and services) in the planning phase. Tailored, niche traffic keywords that attract highly targeted traffic to your site should be the focus. For example, an event planning or party business will have greater success focusing on very specific keywords such as “balloons for 21st birthday” or “kids birthday balloons” vs a more generic “party balloons”.
When you know which keywords potential customers are using to find your products and services, you can be sure to include these same keywords in your written content. In fact, as you write your content plan, you should also make note of the relevant keywords and ensure they’re mentioned a few times in the blog. Of course, it’s also important to be across the technical side of SEO; ensuring you follow the guidelines such as maximum characters for meta titles, meta descriptions, and the correct use of HTML tags across all content created.
The most engaging content includes a good mix of mediums – this makes it more likely to be shared, ultimately getting your content (and your business) in front of more people. An example of mixed-medium content would be a blog post that provides expert commentary on a particular topic, and also includes some high-quality images, as well as a short and engaging video.
When creating mixed-medium content, it’s important to avoid using stock images as these don’t add any value to your content. The more unique the content, the more likely to improve your SEO (especially when you use meta tags within the images). Storyboarding – planning all your images and videos in advance – will therefore be a key element in the planning process. This will allow you to think through the kinds of images you’ll want over the coming months, so you can get as many photos and videos done in a single session as possible.
For businesses that aren’t used to taking their own images and video, it can be a little overwhelming at first. But with a little bit of practice, it will soon become second nature – and with the right lighting and backdrops, any decent smartphone will give you a good quality image. There’s absolutely no need to splash out on expensive photography equipment.
Of course, a content plan isn’t complete without a social media calendar. And the great news is, all the images and video you’ll be taking for your website content can also be repurposed for your social feeds. To build your content bank even further, it’s a great idea to always take a few additional shots for socials any time you’ve set up the camera. To get a variety of shots, try shooting from different angles and play around with different coloured props and backgrounds. By taking a wide variety of styles every time you shoot a person or product, you’ll soon create an image bank you can draw from for months.
When it comes to making the biggest impact on social media, the goal is to create ‘scroll stopping’ content. Essentially, this is visually striking, high-quality images or video that literally stops people from scrolling on by. Think perfectly styled food pics, beautiful fashion flat lays, or informative video tutorials – anything that is visually appealing enough to capture people’s attention. Be sure to monitor your social media stats and make note of the posts that get the most engagement, to get a sense of what’s working for you.
It’s all in the timing
We all know that the one thing small business owners don’t have is time. And when you’re in the thick of it, trying to carve out time on top of an impossibly busy schedule to write blogs and take photos feels like a futile exercise. But if you can take advantage of the quiet period over summer and dedicate your downtime to planning and creating content, you will put yourself in good stead for the months ahead. And once you’ve managed to get a few months of content prepared in advance, it’s going to be a much easier job to keep updated over the course of the year.
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