Why Use Content Marketing?
A marketing plan that takes advantage of content writing keeps small businesses top-of-mind in their communities, and customers never even need to leave their sofa. Content marketing uses blog posts, longer social media posts, LinkedIn articles, e-newsletters, e-books, and white papers to help people understand what their needs are and how you can help them fulfill that need. The work I do for for Wagner Inspection, Inc. is a great example of this. A passionate educator, Ed is a home inspector of many years who reliably delivers wisdom not only to each client during an inspection, but also to our larger community by way of social media. I’ll highlight a few samples of my content writing for Ed as I explain how this medium works its magic!
First, what is content writing?
Much like its close cousin copywriting, content writing aims to inform, educate, and entertain. The key difference is content writing works to deepen the relationship between a business and a customer. So while just the right copy on a website or blurb on a brochure might draw a person in, the right content lets people get to know you better– and themselves in the process. They better understand what their needs are, who you are, how your service is relevant to their lives, and what next steps they should take.
1. Writing to Inform
Here’s two good examples of how content marketing can be used to educate people about the everyday things they take for granted, showcase your expertise, and illustrate the value you add to their lives.
First, natural gas stoves became a hot-button issue not long ago. And while researching Google searches in our area I found that queries regarding gas stoves were through the roof! Ed saw a chance to add his perspective so that people could make informed decisions for themselves, and Wagner Inspection had an opportunity to shine.
Additionally, by placing this informative post on Instagram Ed was able to reach a large community of realtors in our area. This means that going forward, those real estate agents will be able to pass along his wisdom again and again as they highlight the benefits of a kitchen remodel they are showcasing, for example. And they’ll be able to offer the name of a great home inspector they know of with a large library of similar tips!
I love this writing because Ed’s work as a property inspector always lands him in interesting “teachable moments” and in the process, I learn something that is out of my wheelhouse. For instance, have another look at that before / after sliding image of a living room. Who knew thin strip of moisture barrier– looking like not much more than Kraft paper to our eyes– could make such a huge difference in room temperature? Read the full article on LinkedIn:
Social media is a great platform for content writing because the articles, blogs, and even e-books you post help build and sustain an important relationship with your customers. You meet them where they are (couch, cafe, office) and in the virtual spaces they enjoy visiting– Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. And that’s how they integrate what you offer into their daily lives.
2. Writing to Warn
In the case of Wagner Inspection, his value-add includes not just knowledge, but also safety and well-being. Consider this recent post about a type of appliance you might not even realize you have:
Co-creating this post involved Ed emailing me with a central core message. I expanded upon that by researching more on the topic, and thinking about who might benefit most by way of keyword searches and Google insights. More research and back-and forth followed, with Ed adding information and me refining that wisdom into a readable, shareable kernel. To cap it all off, we enjoyed playing around with AI-generated images on DALL-E2.
3. Writing to Entertain
Ed Wagner is an affable guy, one of the most approachable founts of building science and wisdom you could ever hope to meet. One marketing goal of his is that his content should be just as approachable, accurate, and full as he is. He is also quite funny. So part of my remit as his content writer is to capture this unique voice and broadcast it in unique ways, reaching a broad variety of potential customers.
Halloween is a holiday that lends itself well to this task, because who would know creepy, haunted houses better than someone who spends his workday poking around creepy haunted houses? We had a great time creating a series of very memorable spooky posts.
This series did especially well on Facebook, given its more casual atmosphere and general ease of sharing. It was also very easy to track the success of these posts, to see how many eyes landed on his stories across the platform, and how many people learned that home and property inspection can mean so much more than just a guy with a flashlight and a clipboard. For Ed, it’s all about the relationship.
On a wider scale, this relationship is the building block of success– and not just for your business. These strong relationships between communities and the small businesses within them create a stable economy, and a healthy sense of place, and civic pride. And in this way, content writing is about so much more than just a writer with access to SEO, analytics, and a good thesaurus. Content writing builds community.
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