SCORE

You know that content marketing is necessary to increase your brand awareness and attract customers. But what do you blog, tweet, or Instagram when you’re simply out of ideas?

It’s a common problem for small business owners. Creating a marketing calendar for your business takes time, and the tasks of brainstorming, creating, and scheduling content often take  a backseat to more pressing issues, whether they be customer concerns or recurring essentials like bookkeeping.

But letting your content marketing fall by the wayside is a dangerous move for a business that’s already easy to find online. A customer who finds your latest blog post from the last holiday season might wonder if there’s anything new happening at your business. What if a potential customer sees that you haven’t tweeted in six months? They’ll wonder if you’re even operating anymore.

That’s why it’s essential to make a content marketing schedule, and stick to it. It’s not enough to think that you’d like to post to your business’s blog once each week. You need to set aside time to craft your story, finalize your posts, and promote them on social media.

If you’re running out of steam -- and ideas for marketing your business -- remember these tips:

1. Your business is about more than selling

Sure, blog and social media posts about sales and other special promotions are important for keeping your customers informed. But you want customers to be lined up at your door even when there’s not a sale.

Think about what your favorite businesses post online. What makes you smile? Does your favorite pizza shop go wild on Facebook when an employee has a birthday? Does your favorite boutique offer detailed how-to blog posts for recreating their elaborate window displays?

The type of content that resonates with you is likely to resonate with your customers, as well. You don’t have to copy what others are doing, but keeping up with your colleagues (and your competition!) can help keep you inspired.

2. Consistency is key

One of the most important things you can do to boost the effectiveness of your company’s content marketing is be consistent. Publishing five blog posts in one week before going dark for a month is no way to keep your customers coming back for more; you’re likely to create confusion if you’re sharing content in spurts, instead of on a steady schedule.

But don’t assume that consistently sharing content requires lengthy, in-depth blog posts. A photo with a short paragraph can be enough to keep your audience interested in what’s happening at your business. New flowers by your front door? Show them off on Instagram. Got a new machine that helps you complete orders more quickly? Explain how it will help you -- and your customers -- in a short blog post.

As long as you’re posting on a regular basis, you’re providing reminders to your customers that you’re excited about what you do.

(And if you do publish a lengthy, in-depth blog post, show it off and share it frequently. It’s likely a resource worth bookmarking!)

3. Remember: you’re an expert

There’s an easy way to track of content marketing ideas to turn to when you’ve got writer’s block.

Whenever a customer or client asks you a question you’ve answered (or feel like you’ve answered) a million times, write it down. Those questions often make for blog or social media post that remind customers why you’re qualified to run your business.

Don’t feel pressured to give away your trade secrets, but do be open in sharing information that helps your customer understand your business and your unique perspective. This content could include:

  • The benefits of various services or products you provide (Example: “A lot of customers ask us if Model R is worth the additional cost over Model Z. It depends on your needs at home, so here are a few factors to consider…”)
  • Explaining how you got started in your industry (Example: “I first fell in love with fly fishing when I was 10.”)
  • Or even admitting failures in your business and the lessons you’ve learned from them (Example: “We don’t carry Product X anymore. Since it was so popular, we want to explain why it’s off the shelves, and what we can offer instead.”)

You’ve done so much work to start and grow your business. Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve learned with your clients and customers. They’re sure to appreciate your insight.

Still stumped for blog post topics? Not sure your tweets are increasing brand awareness? A SCORE mentor can help you refine your content marketing voice and style, and encourage you to keep a consistent posting schedule.