Content! Content! Content!

town-sign-1148028_640Everyone’s talking social media these days, when it comes to marketing and publicity. It’s a great tool, and in retrospect, I sometimes can’t remember life before its arrival. There’s a lot of information out there about search engine optimization, how and when to post, and what platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, are right for you.

I’ve frequently recommended Social Media Today’s “Cheat Sheet” for Users and Brands.

Here at Succeeding in Small Business, you’ll find some good resources, most recently Jeanne Yocum’s review and excerpt from  The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing.

So, assuming you’ve got a plan to develop, implement, and maintain a social media presence, the next (and to me, most important) step is content development.

Good content defines you as an individual or business, sets you apart from other content providers, and stimulates conversation. Good content makes your audience come back for more. If you’re going to post daily in social media, you can’t repeat the same post over and over, so you’ll need to develop a content “bank” with items you can post now, later, and repackage for a second viewing.

So, here’s an easy way to fill your content bank.

Photos make good content, if they’re good photos. Always caption them. Sound bytes are great too, again captioned, as are videos. Appropriate articles about your kind of business, especially from respected sources like your local newspaper, magazine, or TV station, NPR and/or PBS, network news, and national news (New York Times, Washington Post). So are clips from the leading trade publications.

Consider all of these as fodder for your social media posts:

-Posts to your blog.

-Newspaper, magazine, and blog articles, clips from radio and TV shows that feature you, your business, and/or your employees.

-Newspaper, magazine, and blog articles, clips from radio and TV shows that feature information (trends, interviews with experts, etc.) about your field of business.

-News of community events you’re sponsoring or involved with.

-Wishing everyone a happy holiday. You can do this for New Years, Easter, Passover, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, and if you’re so inclined, Valentine’s Day, April Fools, etc. If your business hours differ on those holidays, you can do a separate post about that.

-Video of activity at work, if you manufacture, produce items for sale.

To give you an idea of how I post on my Facebook business page, Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, last week I posted 23 items. Six posts were news about clients; and five were posts about industry trends. Three posts profiled local people in the news; three were about changes on the regional media landscape. I posted two of my Westfield News Group ArtsBeat columns, two posts where theatre reviews of mine were featured in theatre marketing, and two mentions of local public relations or journalism jobs. This article will end up on my page. Some were reposted to Twitter, LinkedIn, my personal Facebook page, and Google+.

Always present your content with some introductory comment that explains why you’ve posted it and that encourages people to click for more. AOL is a good example of repackaging news from other sources on its home page, with intriguing copy to make you want to click. This is not novel, the New York Post and New York Daily News always have front-page headlines that make you want to turn the page and learn more. For some of the New York Post’s finest and funniest, visit here. (I love the Leona Helmsley headline).

If people like your content, they’ll return to your sites again and again. They may follow you, and you’ve successfully used social media to build a base.

Keep the conversation going. When people comment, acknowledge that. When you see one of your posts shared elsewhere, thank the person who shared your content.

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Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn.

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