You may sell flooring, but, first and foremost, you’re a media company.
Yes, you read that correctly. Today, any business that’s in the business of growing sales and building customer relationships needs to be a media company, creating content that connects and skillfully uses the most modern methods to get that content in front of potential buyers. Content is how your customers get to discover, know, like, trust, and buy from you. When you act as a media company that prioritizes the creation of good content, you’re on the path to reaching buyers, sparking loyalty, and creating opportunities to sell.
This “media company” thing may seem like a tall order, a daunting designation, and perhaps an off-target viewpoint for most of you reading this article. After all, your expertise lies in other areas. You certainly didn’t choose to lead a flooring retail enterprise for the chance to create content; your goal is to sell flooring to the people who need it. Please know I hear you and understand your questions. This buzz about all companies being media companies has been around for years, and even I raised an eyebrow early on. (I guess I’m as much as skeptic as I am a digital marketer!) However, there’s no denying the vital role that content creation plays in the success of most businesses on the planet today.
Back in the day, businesses like yours could direct the marketing budget and creative messaging into traditional paid advertising (print ads, broadcast, billboards, in-store signage, etc.) and be done. Let’s face it; that’s not the case now. Your business is vying…no, fighting…for attention at every level, including the wild, wild west of online and social media. If you don’t have a media company mentality, you can quickly fall behind and then fall out of mind with your customers.
What constitutes content, you may ask? Think of content as the substantive information, inspiration, and ideas you use to tell your brand’s story across the many outlets available to reach your customers. Common content includes what goes into your own website and social media posts, but it may also include things such as podcasts or YouTube videos, as well as participation or inclusion in others’ content on their online properties.
Feeling discontent about the need to create and be part of so much content? Let me help you shift perspective to effectively embrace your designation as a media company while also being stellar as a flooring retailer. It’s time to get practical and tactical.
Always operate from your WHY. It’s Marketing 101 to know that you must set business goals and then create strategies and tactics to support those goals. I know from experience (and you do, too, probably) that it’s easy to get swallowed up in the task of creating content and forget the reason why we’re creating it. Every bit of info, inspiration, and idea-sharing you put out into the world should point back to your business goals—even if there’s no direct or hard selling message included (and often, there should not be, by the way!). Need to increase sales across select product categories? Aiming to keep business steady in slower months? Hoping to gain more market share over competitors? Make certain your content is doing its job by supporting these goals. If your content doesn’t move you toward your “why”, then hit pause and get it on track before you move forward.
Prioritize your website as your ultimate content hub. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve likely heard me state that your website is the house you own in the digital universe, while your profiles on social platforms are just rented rooms. It’s essential that you keep your house in order, so to speak! Your website is the heart and soul of your content, and it should feed and fuel any of the countless other places you choose to share your brand story online. How often are you refreshing your site content (including verbiage and images)? How frequently are you checking site functionality, including page load times on mobile and desktop? How many times do you review site performance stats/analytics? Well, that’s not often enough! Make the updating and maintenance of your website a top priority within your entire marketing...and media creation…efforts.
Work smarter, not harder. I realize you and your team might be short on time, budget, and maybe even specific talents for content creation. That’s why you’ve got to work smarter, not harder. I’ve already mentioned that your website is priority number 1; if you only have time and budget for one thing right now, make your website the one thing! If you’re short on people power to create content, rally guest contributors to write blogs, crowd source the creation and sharing of social content, or consider running incentives or contest to get customers to submit photos and feedback. If you have the money, seek outside help to get a content program going. Also, bear in mind that you’re allowed to repeat or repackage content so that you’re not always reinventing the wheel. On social platforms, you can outright repeat if there’s been plenty of time between posts. For blog posts, you can simply update popular articles with new details and photos. Borrow ideas and tactics that you see other successful companies using in their businesses, particularly companies outside the flooring industry. Be creative, efficient, and purposeful in whatever tactics you employ.
Go for quality first, quantity second. In any digital marketing effort, we must ultimately balance the goal of reaching real, live humans who want the information, products, and services we offer with the need to play into the algorithms, bots, and automated hierarchies prescribed by Google, other search engines, and social platforms. However, it’s always the right strategy to focus on the “real, live humans” part of the equation first! Don’t get swayed by all the SEO tactics you might hear about to the detriment of creating quality content that resonates with your potential customers. Thankfully, the Google of today rewards websites that offer relevant, authoritative content with higher rankings in search results, so start there. Then build up to the helpful length and frequencies that can also benefit how your business appears in searches and within social newsfeeds.
Make content creation part of your standard operating procedure. Content creation can’t be an intermittent effort if it’s to be a successful strategy for your business. You must integrate that “media company” mindset into all that you do, even if you’re starting small or restarting your efforts altogether. Invite everyone on staff to become an in-the-field reporter. Consistently ask and remind showroom staff to snap pictures, take quick videos, and share what they capture (maybe via Dropbox or Google Drive) so that everyone has access to the content. Create an editorial calendar to help guide content creation and keep everyone on message and focused on the “why”. As you work on the upcoming year’s budget, add or beef up the line item for content marketing because you understand how important this is in the long-term success of your business.
Need help dealing with the realities of content creation for your business? Feel free to reach out to me anytime for tips and guidance. You can message me at msg2mkt.com!