4 Types Of Content To Market Your Business (With Examples!)

4 types of content to market your business - what to blog about or share on social media to attract and convert potential customers . Examples of educational, inspirational, community building, and promotional blog posts!

After 6+ years of blogging, I’m written posts on pretty much every lifestyle topic you can think of, but when it comes to blogging for your business, I still think educational, inspirational, community building, and promotional content are the 4 key types to market your business. A couple of weeks ago I shared tips for scheduling social media content (what to share and when to share it), and I received an email from a reader asking if the types of content I mentioned were just for social media or if they applied to blog posts as well. The answer is yes – they definitely apply to blog posts too!  I touched on these before, but I wanted to share more specific examples for anyone who is having trouble coming up with blog post ideas!

Educational:

How To / Tutorials: Teach / show your audience how to do something. This is not just for DIY bloggers! To come up with a tutorial for pretty much any subject, you just have to think about what people would want help doing or what you’ve searched for yourself! I’ve googled everything from how to set up autoresponders in mailchimp to how to fishtail braid and am pretty confident that I could now teach those skills to other people!

For example, Lisa of Elembee shares awesome tips on how to use WordPress, and I love the way Amanda Genther shared this step by step tutorial for adding LeadBoxes to WordPress blog posts.

Lists: People LOVE lists. Period. 10 ways to do this. 5 places to find that. Lists are easy to digest and are a helpful way to roundup a number of resources or examples of something.

For example: Buzzfeed – they basically built an empire around lists. This post is also an example of a list!

Product Reviews: Review a product or service that would be helpful for your audience – these are great posts for incorporating affiliate links because people are more likely to purchase after reading a (positive) review!

For example, Sabrina of The Beauty Look Book does an amazing job at comprehensive product reviews like this one on foundation makeup brushesand Jessica of Jessica Says shared a review of her 7 best blog + business investments!

Case Study: These posts can be so helpful for service-based businesses because they give your audience “proof” that your service is worth the investment.

For example, Mariah of Femtrepreneur shares specific case studies of how other entrepreneurs have used the skills she teaches in her programs to grow their businesses, and if you haven’t read through some of Think With Google’s case studies, you’re missing out on some really cool data.

Free Help/ Product: Offer your product or service for free (in a limited way) – I’m not saying you should just give away your services completely, but offer something small that gives people a taste of what it’s like to work with you!

For example: Sarah of XOSarah has a monthly blog feature called Fix It Fridays where she gives free blog design advice to anyone who comments with their blog link during a specific time, and Shay Cochrane shares a free styled stock image with her email subscribers each month.

Inspirational

Behind the scenes: Give your readers a peek behind the scenes of your business – this can help build your know/like/trust factor through transparency and intimacy.

For example, Melyssa of The Nectar Collective shares a behind the scenes look at her business with monthly traffic + income reportsand Birchbox regularly shares behind the scenes videos of their photoshoots.

Quotes: I will openly admit that I don’t quite understand why people love quotes SO MUCH, but they do.

For example, you can find inspirational quotes in my blog post here and so many more here.

Trending: Blogging about trends (in your industry) while incorporating your products or services into the mix is an easy way to inspire your audience to make a purchase!

For example, Olive and Piper rounds up trendy marble items (including some of their own pieces), and Style Me Pretty inspires brides with fall wedding trends.

Community Building:

Giveaways: This is pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re looking to grow your community and encourage engagement, giveaways are an excellent thing to promote in your blog posts. You can partner with other brands or bloggers to cross-promote a giveaway, or you can host your own!

For example, you can find a sponsored giveaway with Panasonic here.

Link Ups: Link ups are a fun way to connect with other bloggers and increase your exposure at the same time.

For example, the ladies at the B Bar have a monthly link up based on an open ended question, and Fran started a linkup for bloggers who budget.

Client/ Reader FAQs: If you frequently get certain questions from your clients or readers, turn your FAQs into a blog post!

For example, Katey of Chronicles of Frivolity has a “Dear Katey” series, and Emily of Cupcakes & Cashmere used to do a “Ask Emily” video series.

Interviews: Interviewing other people in your industry can be a great way to grow your community while supporting other business owners. Some of my favorite blog series are interviews because it’s always interesting to read Q&As with influencers and leaders in a particular field.

For example, Megan Minns has a series featuring the stories of other side hustlers, and Meg Biram interviews some fabulous business owners in her Behind the Biz series.

Promotional:

Sales: In addition to your other marketing channels, your blog is an easy place to promote sales!

For example, Shop Prima donna uses their blog to share special sales with their readers, and in this post, Mackenzie shares 10 picks from her shop‘s sale.

Product / program announcements: Even if you’re announcing new products / programs on your website or via your email list, you can use your blog to go into more detail about your new offerings or make special announcements.

For example, the ladies at ban.do used their blog to let customers know where they could still grab their sold out agendas, and Jamie from Spruce Rd. uses her blog to give her readers a preview of her monthly Lunch & Learn workshops.

Featured work / testimonials: Finally, don’t be afraid to show off your work on your blog sometimes! Include visuals or testimonials whenever possible so your audience can really get a sense of what it’s like to work with you or use your products!

For example, Allison of Wonderlass shares examples of her clients’ photo shoots, and Emily Ley shows how people use (and love) her Simplified Planner in a series on her blog.

So that’s a ton of ideas for blog content to market your business, but if you have any other ideas – please share them in the comments!

10 Apps I Use For Productivity

10 apps I use for productivity - from email, social media, project management and more!

I’m always curious what apps other people use to stay productive. From to do lists to social media management, everyone has their favorites – so I thought I’d share 10 apps that I use on a daily basis to keep me on track and organized throughout the day!

Gmail

I prefer using the Gmail app over the regular iPhone mail app because of the way it displays inboxes separately. I know some people may like all their mail going into 1 inbox, but I like to keep my work, personal, blog/ business emails separate. The Gmail app allows me to easily flip between them but still maintain separation!

Todoist

I can’t function without my to do list. I’ve tried so many different versions both on paper and paperless, but I keep coming back to Todoist. I have the app on my phone and also keep the web version pinned to my browser at home and at work – so it’s always readily accessible. It’s super easy to keep things organized by project, and I like that I can focus on tasks for the day, but also have the option to see and schedule tasks for the future. Also, I am the type of person that hates to see overdue tasks, so it’s motivating to cross off tasks on time!

Google Calendar

Again, I prefer the Google calendar app over the iPhone calendar app for everything except actually seeing what day it is! I use separate google calendars for work, personal, blog/ business and everything is color coordinated in a certain way, so I like that the app carries over the same color scheme.

Dropbox

I store all my files (SO MANY PHOTOS) via dropbox so they don’t take up space on my computers. This way they’re easy to access, easy to share, and I never have to worry about my computer slowing down!

Edgar

When it comes to social media scheduling, I’ve used Buffer for the ease of scheduling posts and Hootsuite for monitoring, engaging, and analyzing – but eventually switched to Edgar (though this is kind of cheating because it’s not really an app) because it saves so much time .Instead of publishing your social media updates just once or having to reschedule them when you want to share again, Edgar saves them in a library that you build over time and automatically re-share.  (more…)

Scheduling Social Media Content – What To Share And When To Share It

Scheduling social media content - what to share and when to share it. Tips for bloggers or entrepreneurs using social media to marketing their blog or business.

I used to work in a highly regulated corporate environment – the company blocked access to gmail, basically every social media network, and any site with even remotely questionably content. Even though my other site Bitches’ Guide to NYC is not at all offensive (IMO), I’m pretty sure it would have been blocked for using the dictionary approved term for female dog! In some ways I’m thankful… because it’s amazing how much more productive you can be when you don’t have access to social media all day. Though even now that I own my own business, like most people, I don’t have time to post/ tweet/ share/ publish social media content throughout the day so scheduling social media is key!

SCHEDULING SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m the type of person that needs to schedule anything and everything if I actually want to get it done. My to do list (I love Asana) and various calendars (google calendar + WordPress editorial calendar), are the only way I can function. So once a week, I schedule time to schedule social media. Yes, that’s right. I schedule time to schedule. Technically I scheduled time to write this blog post about scheduling time to schedule. Welcome to my type-A, workaholic life.

I strongly believe you don’t have to be active on every social network out there.

Honestly, if you try, you are probably not using them all effectively. If you’re posting for the sake of posting, you’re wasting time. Quality above quantity, always.  

Your last post / photo/ tweet may be the first post / photo / tweet that someone sees when they come across one of your social media profiles. If it doesn’t send the right message to your audience, don’t post it. True story: a couple years ago I was interviewing potential assistants and googled one candidate. She had literally just tweeted about how much she hated working. Just no. 

WHAT TO SHARE

To be honest I don’t care what you ate for dinner. I don’t care that you spent the weekend hiking with your friend from college. I definitely don’t care that your baby threw up this morning. There is definitely someone that cares… it’s just not me. That’s why it’s crazy important to know your audience. Which goes back to identifying your dream clients and defining your personal brand. If you are a nutritionist, maybe your audience does care what you ate for dinner. If you’re a fitness coach, your audience would probably love to see photos of you hiking. If you’re a mommy blogger, you’re audience can actually relate to your baby vomit.

Focus on sharing targeted content that is either: 1) educational 2) inspirational 3) community building or 4) promotional.

EDUCATIONAL CONTENT

Educational content could be anything that teaches your audience something (duh). This is the best way to get people to TRUST you, because the more you give away your “secrets” – the more people will perceive you as an authority in your field! You don’t have to an expert, in fact, many people relate better when they know someone has had similar problems. So try to fill in this sentence with things that relate to you and your audience: I used to struggle with _____, until I learned _____. For example, I used to struggle with time management, until I learned how to batch process photos or I used to struggle with getting my lipstick to last all day, until I learned to use a straw when I drink diet coke and buy all the Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayons (seriously, they are SO good). Spread the love and share what you know!

INSPIRATIONAL CONTENT

Inspirational content is probably the easiest type of content to share, but it’s not always useful. If you are a graphic designer who sells letterpress stationery, sharing photos of your beach vacation could be “inspirational,” but how does that really help your business? It would probably make more sense for your brand strategy to share a photo of a beautiful wedding or a styled desktop where people could actually envision your products in action. Your inspirational content should actually inspire your audience to DO something, not just be inspired for the sake of inspiration. Unless you are selling inspiration… but I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing.

COMMUNITY BUILDING

Community building content is anything that encourages engagement and builds a relationship with your audience. Regardless of how many followers you have, engagement matters – because if you’re not being social on social media then you’re doing it wrong. Community building content could be asking for feedback on a new product idea or running a challenge / contest and incentivizing your followers to participate. Community building could also be sharing other people’s content (with credit!) and promoting like-minded businesses that may appeal to your audience as well. Try a few different things and see how your audience responds. If you don’t consistently monitor and track engagement levels, you have no way of knowing whether your social media strategies are working!

PROMOTIONAL CONTENT

Promotional content should not just be “buy this product!” or “shop our sale!” but if you’re not taking advantage of your social networks to promote your own products / services, then you are seriously missing out on some (really affordable) marketing opportunities! Yes social media is for being social, but it’s also a valuable tool you can leverage for sales. Your followers are following you for a reason, and if you are sharing the mostly a mix of educational, inspirational, and community building content, then integrating promotional content won’t seem as icky. Give, give, give, then sell.

WHEN TO SHARE IT

The short answer is (again) know your audience. There are a ton of resources that will tell you when the “optimal” times to post on social media are, but it really comes down to who you are trying to reach. Experiment at first, and then let your analytics guide you. The best times to post on social media are the times when your target audience is active on social media – so the specific times are different for everyone!

There are a lot of tools you can use to schedule social media but these are the ones that I currently use and recommend:

INSTAGRAM:

Scheduling: Planoly / Analytics: Iconosquare, Instagram Insights

TWITTER:

Scheduling: Edgar / Analytics:  Edgar, Twitter Analytics

Facebook: 

Scheduling: Edgar/ Analytics: Edgar, Facebook’s Insights

Pinterest:

Scheduling: Tailwind, Boardbooster / Analytics: Tailwind, Boardbooster, Pinterest analytics

Also, just because I schedule most of my content, that doesn’t mean I put social on autopilot. Because I schedule it, I have more time to actually engage on social – leave / reply to comments, find new people to connect with, etc. Unless you have all the time in the world, you probably want to spend less time managing social media and more time growing your business. So schedule time to schedule it.

If you’re already scheduling social media, I’d love to know what programs you’ve found to be most helpful! 

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