How to use content as fuel to accelerate your business

How to use content as fuel to accelerate your business

The elderly supermarket cashier looked at my single bottle of window cleaner and said, "You know you could achieve the same result or better with a bit of fresh lemon juice and white vinegar?" You could argue she had done her employer out of a sale, but it was quite the opposite.

I did return the bottle of window cleaner to the shelf, in favour of lemon and vinegar, but I always made a point to return, and I always sought out the same cashier because I regarded her as knowledgeable, and I trusted her. Creating and publishing good quality content can achieve the same results for your business and a whole host more. Here's how.

Age of the focussed shopper

New Zealanders in 2022 do not like to be sold to because nobody likes the social discomfort the experience creates, nor do they have the time and patience to passively endure advertising. The longest five minutes of your life? Waiting to click 'skip Ad'.

Think of the Internet as a crowded room full of salespeople shouting for attention. Your challenge is to get found, get attention and win the trust of your potential clients—to stand out from the crowd.

The Internet transferred power from advertisers and salespeople to the customer. Instant answers, instant gratification, and the ability to move on at the click of a button mean sellers and service providers need to be engaging, ready with the answers and responsive—you have seconds to engage and convert a potential customer.

A well-developed website content mix, interesting social media content and exciting blogs—particularly those that educate, inform, inspire and entertain—can help you do that.

How does premium content help you do more business?

Good graphic design and interesting pictures are essential, but, arguably, the words are what count because most because a chunk of search results are based on keyword phrases, the emphasis on 'word'.

Quality blogs and an intelligent mix of so-called 'hygiene,' 'hub' and 'hero' content on your website offer the following benefits:

  • More 'top of mind' visibility: Valuable content raises and legitimises your presence in your potential customer's feed (the more visibility you have, the more business you do).
  • You have a chance of appearing in your customer's Google search results (versus not a snowball's chance in hell without it).
  • Achieving page one of Google search (where do you bury a dead body? On page two of Google).
  • Qualifying your customers: Getting the right amount of traffic from the right people.
  • Educating your audience with valuable information earns their trust by demonstrating that you care (remember the window cleaning liquid).
  • When your content is informed, educational and insightful, you build authority as an expert—you become the answer to your market’s needs and wants.

What does good content look like?

When creating content, If you want people's attention, talk about what already has their attention.

Think about what is topical. What are people currently talking about, worried about or struggling with? Some examples include the cost-of-living crisis, the war in Ukraine, legislative changes and staff shortages.

Address the problem, tell them why it is a problem and how they can fix it (in a way that does not necessarily require that they buy, retain or hire your products or services because that's selling, not educating).

Go large

Talking about current and topical topics will help you make the most of various channels—even local or mainstream media—because your conversation is relevant to the current narrative.

For example, one client who is a cybercrime expert talked about how the war in Ukraine and New Zealand's 'unfriendly' status with Russia posed a potential cybersecurity issue for local Kiwi businesses. The client then talked about how to protect your business from that particular threat. He was proved right.

The article was released to mainstream media as a press release and received good pick-up, including by Radio New Zealand. The press release was turned into a blog published on the client's website, while excerpts of the release (along with photos) were posted on the client's social media links. Rinse and repeat.

Last word

When customers, whether new traffic or referred, arrive at your website, will they see a blog section that was last updated in 2021, 2020 or 2019 or even earlier? Do you think that is a good look? Does it communicate that this company is responsive, switched on and current? Probably not. At the very least, if you have a blog, keep it up-to-date.