6 Examples of Great Small Business Content Marketing
What makes a piece of content good? When it comes to your strategy and approach to developing great marketing collateral, we often refer back to Contagious: Why Things Catch On written by Wharton professor Jonah Berger. In the book, Berger introduced a framework known as STEPPS, explaining the 6 reasons why any marketing content piece might go viral. The six are:
- Social Currency: Content that makes you seem smarter, more interesting or “in-the-know” when you pass it on to some else.
- Triggers: If someone says “peanut butter and____”, and you think of jelly then you’re responding to a trigger. (Peanut butter triggers the thought of jelly). Similarly, in marketing, associating your brand with a particular concept or topic, will help keep your company top of mind.
- Emotion: Any marketing piece that can capture emotions – joy, sadness, anger, fear, humor to name a few – can create a powerful driver to both move audiences and get them to act.
- Public: “4 out of five dentists recommend Trident.” For this, anytime you can show your product being used or recommended helps boost your brand as a form of social proof.
- Practical: When you help individuals with everyday practical solutions to the questions they have.
- Storytelling: Anytime you can tell a story through video, it’s helpful to your customers as they remember stories most of all.
Whenever we work with small businesses on a content strategy, we help them think through these six approaches. And to give you an idea of what good content looks like in each area when it’s implemented, we have drawn different examples from small businesses across the spectrum. Here are a few that we hope can inspire you to create great content for your organization.
Let’s take a look at one we came across from a lawyer marketing his brand on TikTok — giving viewers insights on what to do if they’re arrested in the case of a DUI. The lawyer, LawyerMike (Mike Mandell) walks through whether to take a breathalyzer or a blood test – and considerations for both. One thing: If you’re unsure whether you’re over the limit, take a breathalyzer as it gives your attorney a better opportunity and isn’t as accurate! Something we didn’t know! But now, we have a bit of information that we can pass on to other people that make us seem smarter. And because we learned it from Mike Mandell, he is our authority on it. From the looks of this video, he produced this pretty easily with a mobile phone, a stabilizer, and a choosing some well-lit spots. Something you can easily do as well.
Why It Works: This particular video has more than 567,000 likes on TikTok. There are several reasons why we believe this one was really effective in marketing his business:
- He appears in it. Anytime you can put yourself in a social video, you’re likely to increase the amount of engagement.
- He provided the kind of information a lot of lay people don’t know. That’s one of the keys to social currency.
- He uses hashtags to spread the word and he distributes it appropriately to TikTok, where he uses stickers and other tools.
- He chooses a topic he knows his audiences are interested in and ones where he knows he can gain prospective clients.
In the case of retail, many businesses try to create an association between themselves and some other concept, such as quality. In social media, this can as simple as the use of a consistent hashtag that links their brand with the topic. In this case of White’s Boots out of Spokane, WA, it’s the equation of hand-made, quality boots with the company brand.
Why It Works: With 4,053 likes and 20 comments, there are several reasons why we believe this one was really effective in marketing White’s Boots’ business:
- Photography: Every photo White’s Boots uses fits the look and feel of the company’s brand (reinforcing quality and the hand-made aspect of the boots).
- Use of consistent hashtags: #handmadeboots #bootslover #mensboots #madeinwashington reinforce the perception of both a homegrown company and great quality. Establishing that narrative consistency is key throughout all your marketing in that it eventually provides that trigger in people’s mind that you represent something.
Any time your marketing can include emotional content (things that make people happy, laugh, or even angry) can trigger a more powerful reaction. Here, Florida realtor Jamie Seneca engages audiences with a funny video of her walking through an empty home imagining furniture, coat racks, and utensils are actually there.
Why It Works: With 70,000+ views on YouTube, she clearly tapped into something. What exactly was that? She connected with the audience through a sense of humor. Other realtor home tours clearly take a more serious approach, but she took a risk here and it paid off. People now might trust her a bit more because she revealed a personal side of herself that makes her more attractive compared to other realtor options.
Many small businesses use a number of different techniques to reinforce why they are the ones to go with at that critical decision stage. For example, home services companies such as Houston Water Solutions (incidentally, our client) use ratings and reviews that can help provide that “public” aspect of STEPPS or social proof that others trust them.
Why It Works: In the decision-making stage of any business process, people wrestle with these kinds of decisions. Trust is a big aspect of what you want to convey as a business – note that Houston Water Solutions, not only provides the quote on its website, it also brings in photos of real people where possible to further strengthen that social proof.
This is probably the most common type of content that’s used in almost every industry. When you provide practical help to someone you automatically become a source of authority. In general, content types that often have practical information, include: blogs, whitepapers/downloads, videos, podcasts, and also webinars. Here’s an example of what EssayPro.com does. (It’s a writing service that provides tips on, what else? Writing).
Why It Works: Because EssayPro.com is hired by students to help write original papers (the actual ethical nature of the business of which we won’t comment on), it automatically becomes the go-to authority for those individuals who need help. It does a few other things well here:
- Shows up high in search for those seeking to learn how to write an analytical essay
- Uses the post to brand and promote its services for analytical essay writing at the end
People remember stories. That’s why they’re so effective from a marketing standpoint. Stories can come in many forms – long-form in terms of e-books, short-form in terms of blogs, audio, video, and yes, even social. One that we picked out here comes from Maven CEO Gagan Biyani who tells the personal story of a startup failure he personally experienced.
Why It Works: Biyani does a few things well here, in addition to putting this in story format. (Note the number of retweets, likes, and quotes on this one):
- He does a Twitter best-practice creating a thread (where people can comment on each portion of his story).
- He teases it out slowly and builds to an eventual conclusion and point.
- By telling stories, he reinforces his authority on the social media platform and indirectly also raises the profile of his company, Maven.com
Hopefully, these examples provided some ideas of what you can do in your own industry and business circumstance. As always, if you need help developing a better content or any other aspect of digital marketing, contact us at Marketing Nice Guys for a free consultation.