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The secret to writing for your small business

Writing content for your own small business can be frustrating. In theory, you should be the best-placed person to do it; you speak to your clients every day and you’ve been in your industry for donkey’s years. So, why is writing about your own business or creating content for your website or socials so tricky?

Here’s the secret.

It turns out, your clients don’t need all the information you have in your head – they just need the right snippets of information. Just enough detail to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about (#professional), build rapport and make the next step easy for clients to act and buy (#calltoaction).

Working out a clear message, developing a content plan, knowing your audience and putting yourself out to the world… it is easier said than done, right?

In short, business owners and sole traders need to get out of their own heads – you’ve got a lot to think about – and find a simple way to get all those ideas on to paper. By following these four easy steps, you’ll be on your way to creating great content for your small business – and leaving the frustrations behind you.

Step one – who are you talking to?

When it comes to writing for your business, defining your audience is key. If your target market is too broad, your message could end up being a bit wishy-washy and will be destined to get lost in the crowd.

  • So, who are you talking to?
  • What are they looking for or what is their need? (Hint: it’s your product or service!)
  • How old are they?
  • Where can you find them online?

If you’re an online retail business and young women are your target market, Facebook or Instagram might be your focus. But what if you’re a business consultant? Perhaps your dream corporate clients are spending more time on Linked In.

Try and be specific as you can. Taking a few minutes to have a clear idea of who your audience is – and how, when and where they get their information – is the first step to nailing your content.

Step two – what are you talking about?

The customer is always right, right?

As a business owner, it’s always important to focus on the customer – what interests them and what issues do they have that you can help solve? When developing content for your business, keeping information current, topical and tailored to your audience will ensure it always in demand.

‘Content is Queen’, so they say, but what exactly is ‘content’? It is more than just your posts on social media – content encompasses all the things you can develop and create to promote your professional skills and your business.

Blogging is often considered the cornerstone of any content marketing plan and is a fantastic way to focus on specific topics or issues that your clients may be thinking about. Have you mastered your blog? Then why not try:

  • e-books
  • white papers
  • online guides
  • videos
  • infographics
  • downloadable templates or checklists
  • tips, hacks and shortcuts

Once you’ve developed your content (remembering to keep it client-focused, topical, interesting and with your own spin on things!), you share, share, share away!! Social media, networking groups, guest blog posts, a newsletter to your database – think big when considering the many ways to share your content. Repurposing content is totally acceptable but it’s always best to shake up your timings and platforms so your audience get some variety – it is the spice of life after all.

Step three – let’s get personal

People love getting to know people. Why did you start your business? Was it a lifelong dream to start a new career? Did you want more flexibility after having kids? Clients love to know the face behind a business and get to know the story and people that make it tick.

Why is it so important? It builds rapport and allows people to share in your story. Getting personal in your copy often feels a little bit uncomfortable – but once you find the sweet spot (and that looks different for everyone), it will be worth getting out of your comfort zone. A selfie of you about to meet a client, a photo of your workspace or the story of how and why you started your business – little tidbits about you that adds personality to your business and brand. It builds the likability factor and might be the difference between someone wanting to work or buy from you, instead of your competitor.

It’s all about balance – mixing up your content will ensure your clients are reading a variety of information from you in different formats. Some people like to watch a quick video, where others might enjoy a longer read. Try the 1:4 rule, that’s one ‘salesy’ piece of content for every four posts that are personal, information sharing or commenting on an industry trend.

Of course, you don’t be one of those people that talks about themselves all. the. time! But as a business owner sharing a little but about yourself is a great way for potential clients to understand more about you, your business and how you like to work – and for them a way to decide whether they like your approach (to work and life!) before they even contact you.

Step four – 5 minute content challenge

OK here’s a quick challenge for you. Grab a piece of paper and a pen (old school, I know) and set the time on your phone for 5 minutes.

You’re going to write down every content idea that pops into your head. Every single one of them. Adopting a ‘stream of consciousness’ approach is a fancy term for brain dump, and the trick is to keep writing for the whole time and not to edit your ideas. There’s time for that later.

Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Monday: Promote your Blog – your opinion on an industry trend or topic
  • Tuesday: A great offer or discount on your products
  • Wednesday: Behind the scenes – what does your workspace look like?
  • Thursday: Video – Tips and tricks on a relevant topic
  • Friday – Something personal or light-hearted – a picture of your destination for the weekend!

Five minutes might seem like a short time, but it’s surprising how many ideas you can come up with. Some ideas might be great, others terrible (that’s ok!), but it’s a perfect starting point for refining your ideas and crafting it into a solid content plan.

The Content Checklist

Here are my five ‘C’s’ – all super important things to remember when developing good content for your small business.

  • CONSISTENT – Message. Tone of Voice. Are clients getting the same style across all your communications – online, in print and in person?
  • CLEAR – What do you want clients to do once they’ve seen your post or article? What’s your call to action? Are you using jargon or confusing language?
  • CUSTOMER FOCUSED? – Less about you. More about them. What’s in it for your clients?
  • COMPELLING – Educate and inform, why should clients work with or buy something from you?
  • CHECK THE SPELLING! It’s the quickest way to look unprofessional. Ask a friend to proofread your work or use spellcheck, Grammarly or an old-school dictionary. There’s no excuses these days for bad spelling!

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