Creating content has never been more important for businesses than it is now. But is it relevant for all businesses and in every industry?
To find out, I sat down with multiple business owner, investor, and the author of several fantastic books – Guy Remond.
Together, we will look at the importance of content creation, and why every business needs to be thinking about it today.
Let’s get started.
Content is for any business, in any industry
Many entrepreneurs today tend to believe that content is attached to social media and, therefore, it’s only suitable for certain businesses who serve certain demographics.
But that just isn’t the case.
Guy’s previous company, Cake Solutions, had been using content for years to build up a hugely successful organisation without any of the social media hype of today.
Here’s Guy’s take on content creation:
Guy: “I think in the vast majority of cases, content creation is relevant in any industry, especially now. Recently, we’ve seen a step-change in marketing over the last few years which has been accelerated hugely by COVID-19. People have had to think of different ways to reach their customers, and in most cases, this has meant creating content.
We started creating content back in 2006 (I say we, it was actually my team’s idea). It started with us writing about some of the technologies that we were specialising in at the time. That snowballed into us authoring six or seven books which made us famous within our niche!
Off the back of those books, we were invited to speak at big tech conferences which won us a lot of business. That’s a really early example of how people used expert content to generate business and, for us, it’s where almost all of our sales came from.
As we proved with Cake Solutions, content has always been a great form of marketing, but nowadays it’s one of the only outlets businesses have to generate sales.
But you don’t have to be in the tech industry to generate great content; it can be applied to any business, in any industry.”
A little content goes a long way
Guy makes a great point here. Our entire business community was just wiped out overnight last year in terms of how we prospect for clients, and those systems have to be replaced by something that works. If people are just sitting around waiting for things to go back to normal, they’re going to disappear (if they haven’t already).
So many entrepreneurs are worried that they don’t have the time to create content, but what entrepreneur can’t talk for seven to 10 minutes about what they do? Then, once you have that article, you can think about all the different ways it can be used for marketing.
For example, from a 1000-word blog, you’ve got a whole list of quotes to use for your social media posts that can go out across all the different platforms. You can also use the blog as a framework to record a podcast and, once you have enough blogs, you can even edit them together and publish a book!
Once people start to understand how content can work together, I think the task of creating it becomes far less daunting.
This is something Guy uses to great effect:
Write about your projects
Guy: “At Cake Solutions, we made our content work really hard for us. For example, along with writing about relevant topics, we also blogged a lot about our research and development projects. If we were working on something particularly interesting, we would share that with our community so that others could benefit from our research.
That’s the sort of expert content that got us noticed and won us business. Some businesses might be worried that, by creating expert content, they are giving away their crown jewels, but that isn’t the case.”
This is something businesses are becoming more aware of regardless of their industry. At Write Business Results, we are working on books, blogs and podcasts for an array of clients across multiple industries, from financial planning to dog breeding!
It’s not the industry, it’s the process you have for creating content that’s important. If you take a scattergun approach and fire off a blog here and do a podcast there, then you’re not going to get great results. If there’s no consistency in your content, there’s no leverage in it.
I asked Guy how businesses can create that structure around their content to ensure they are leveraging it correctly – here’s what he had to say:
Create a business culture of expert content
Guy: “Creating quality, consistent content doesn’t only have to come from you. Ideally, you want to get your team involved as much as possible too. I would always encourage people to start building a culture in their organisation that allows and supports people to create their own content and build up a personal brand. This is great for three reasons:
- It’s great for the employee. A personal brand is great for the person concerned because they get the opportunity to talk about the stuff that they love doing, and they get recognition for it within that community.
- It’s great for the community. The community learns from that person.
- It’s great for your company. Your company benefits off the back of your employee’s reputation, which enhances your own reputation.
Along with personal branding, you can also encourage your clients to post their progress when using your products/services in exchange for providing feedback. That is a fantastic, fun way of generating content because it costs you nothing, they get your feedback and you get to promote your business.
So, creating content doesn’t have to be a millstone around your neck. All you’ve got to do is create a culture within your company where there’s something in it for everybody. That way you really don’t have to work too hard for it to get done.”
Creating great content should be easy
Guy’s spot on here. Creating great content should always be about helping people first, and for businesses these days, thinking like this is crucial. When things go into crisis mode, one of the first budgets that businesses typically tend to look at is marketing. But if you can’t see your customers, and they can’t see you, it’s the last thing you should stop doing!
Ultimately, generating content should be easy. When you make it part of your culture and business philosophy, you will find you can produce regular, quality content without much work at all.
However, sometimes that can be easier said than done. Even if you want to create a culture of expert content, it can be tricky to get your team to take on something that might be perceived as extra work.
With this in mind, I asked Guy for some tips on how to get this culture started:
Lead by example
Guy: “I think this culture of expert content needs to be led by a senior member of the team to demonstrate what can be achieved. When people start seeing the results of the content they are creating, that in itself is a big motivator.
Also, try making it fun by offering incentives. At Cake Solutions, we awarded points depending on the size of the piece of content. These points were accumulated for certain prizes.
For us, it was always some techy gadget that went down well.
These incentives can build momentum and, once you get that momentum, people automatically start doing it – it becomes a habit! But not everybody’s going to do it, and that’s fine. You might only get 30% of your company creating content, but that adds up to a lot over time.
Then, once you’ve got that culture established, you can start using the content as a sales tool or part of the recruitment process. When some people heard about how we supported their personal brands, it became one of the main reasons why they joined us. But also, by consuming our content, they would have heard of us beforehand!”
Content runs deeper than an online profile
At Write Business Results, we have started to work on the team’s personal brands too. It allows us to easily demonstrate each individual’s capability so you can see that it’s not just the business owner who’s the expert, but everybody who works in the company is an expert in their individual domain.
So, it seems that for Guy, expert content is, without a shadow of a doubt, relevant to any business regardless of the industry, and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with him.
I’ve been writing content for businesses every day for five years, and there isn’t an industry I’ve come across where creating content hasn’t worked.
Creating content runs so much deeper than just having a profile on a platform, or even having a strong brand and attracting clients – it can be part of the foundations of how you build your business, how you deliver your service, and how you compete.
If it’s not something you are already doing, I hope this blog has inspired you to start! You can listen to the full conversation with Guy and myself by tuning into my weekly podcast Interviews With Experts.
More to come next week!