8 Tips to Turn Your Small Biz Into a Content Producing Machine

In today’s media landscape, any brand—large or small—can be a content publisher. However, communicators need to figure out their brand's unique storytelling point and thus transform that brand into a publisher and media producer.

Communicators can structure their storytelling for a myriad of platforms: online, mobile, social and, yes, even print. When it comes to publishing on the Web, small business owners sometimes have an advantage over their larger competitors—they can be quick and nimble in their creation and dissemination of content.

Here are eight tips to turn your small business into a content producing machine:

  1. Start with FAQs: "Every company should think of the typical questions it hears from its consumers, and there are probably a top 10 or 20 that easily come to mind—those are your first 20 blog articles,” says Marcus Sheridan, CEO of River Pool & Spas.

  2. Use critical comments on the Web as a basis for new content: "If someone posts comments or content on the Web that critiques your service or product, use keywords from that comment to create your own content and respond to the criticism," says Sheridan. This content will then show up in Google searches. Sheridan says he has gotten 32 leads over an 18-month period using this tactic.

  3. Use brand comparisons in your content: Take advantage of the fact that your customers are entering Google searches that include you and your competitors. “You don't have to say your competitor stinks, but you can at least talk about yourself to address the question,” says Sheridan. For example: "Fiberglass Pools vs. Concrete Pools: An Honest Comparison" was a successful page for attracting Sheridan visitors since it reflects what consumers actually search for.

  4. Trumpet your awards: Look for opportunities to showcase the awards you've won, since consumers will often search for which brand has been crowned best-in-industry.

  5. Quickly post content about industry-related breaking news: When another pool company filed for bankruptcy, Sheridan jumped out in front of the story with his blog post. “You've got to be the source in your industry—if you start writing great stuff, you'll get phone calls regarding other news stories, which will help your brand gain traction and trust among consumers,” says Sheridan.

  6. Repackage: Michael Weiss, a digital agency veteran and CEO of Web agency Figure18, says, “There's often this fear among organizations that they don’t have enough content. However, most organizations typically do have existing content—it just needs to be scoured and repackaged." Whether it’s turning a white paper into a podcast or vice versa, nearly all content can be recycled and made anew.

  7. Share content socially: With social media, content is what people share, and the sharing of it itself shows off your expertise.

  8. Embrace price as subject in your content: Sheridan says that most companies don't want to talk about price online, yet that's one of the first questions customers will ask. "Not having a price page on your site is a mistake," says Sheridan.

Remember to make your content easy to digest—use bullet points, short paragraphs and brief headlines.

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg