Creating Quality Content on the Cheap and Easy

8/20/2014 2:53:00 PM
By Kelly Perkins
Content is king. Forget the old way of selling – it’s boring. Let’s actually communicate with our customers and prospects without “selling.” Instead of pitching products and services, let’s deliver information that makes our buyers more intelligent. Create quality, relevant blog articles, case studies, videos, and product reviews. In return, they reward us with their loyalty. Boom. Easy enough, right?

Well, now you’ve got to dedicate the time and talent to creating this content. But if you are a small- or medium-sized business with limited resources, everyone is probably just too busy. Your marketing department (if you are lucky enough to have one) is writing proposals, planning local events, and supporting your sales staff. Who has time to create content? Your marketing budget is miniscule (again, if you are lucky enough to even have one), therefore outsourcing any help is out of the question. So how do you create quality content with little to no resources?

Think about what you already know.
What interests you? Make a list of things you know about your product or brand and the related topics in the industry that get YOU excited.

You work at your company for a reason – what are those reasons? Whether it’s the technology, business practices, or the people that keep you happily going to work every day, these can all be turned into great content topics. If you know more about general marketing and sales, talk general marketing and sales. Not everything has to be laden with thick technical jargon. If you’re more technical, use that knowledge to your advantage. Create relevant content with information you’re familiar with. Don’t sell yourself short – you know more than you think.

Leverage your colleagues.
Chances are you have some fairly intelligent colleagues – and they come with a variety of professional backgrounds. Audio and video technicians, engineers, and specialists surround you every day. Tap into their insights and ask them to put together an article on the latest industry trend.

How about a product review? I know getting your colleagues to drop what they’re doing and create content is nearly impossible, but what if the topic was about something they truly enjoyed? Or consider an employee profile. We all have weird hobbies and interests that led us to the AV industry (cue musicians, ex-roadies, and audiophiles. Believe it or not, your customers actually enjoy reading about interesting people and attaching a face to your product or service.

Don't create content in a vacuum. Your colleagues are your best resource. They know your products and brand better than anyone else and just may surprise you with the wide variety of ideas they have available. All you need to do is ask.

Ask the outside experts.
You know who they are. They’re on LinkedIn, speaking at industry events, and splashed all over the trade publications.These are the early adopters, the people who make a point of knowing what the latest and greatest trends and disruptions will be. They are already creating great relevant content, and I’m sure they’d love it if you shared it with your network. Take it even further: ask them if they’d be willing to review a product, service, or idea. And there’s no shortage of experts in our field – from manufacturers and consultants, to journalists and end-users. Most aren’t so scary. (I promise.)

The bottom line is that great content doesn’t have to be expensive and time consuming if you are able to tap into what you (and the people around you) already know about your brand, customers, and the industry. The content you provide just has to attract your customers and prospects and stand out from the crowd.

Your next steps:
Here are three simple things you can do today to plant the seeds for your next content idea:
 
   1. Write a list of the five things keeping you up at night about the industry. You'll immediately have five perfect brainstorming ideas.
 
   2.  Schedule a brainstorming lunch with some of your salespeople. Use their insights to inform your next blog post.
 
   3.  Ask to go on a ride-along with some of your service technicians – take note, photos, and whip up an amazing multi-media content piece.

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