If you have been studying marketing lately, you have likely seen the term “content marketing” being widely used, especially in the context of big brands. But what is content marketing? Here is my definition: Content marketing is reaching and growing your target audience by freely providing valuable, shareable media that educates and inspires around your brand. By this definition, you can clearly see that small businesses can benefit from the concepts of lean content marketing, perhaps even more than big brands who have more extensive resources. Lean business principles are based on the ideas of focusing on creating value for customers in the most cost-effective and time-sensitive ways possible. By combining the efficiencies of lean with the strategy of providing quality content, even the solo entrepreneur with limited resources can draw in customers or clients.
Content marketing can breathe life into your tired, stuck brand that is not being listened to or shared on social media and can not seem to gain traction by attracting new customers. If you are a brand new entrepreneur with nothing but a dream and limited resources, lean content marketing can help you. Lean content marketing is a way to find the audience that can benefit from what you are offering and help you tailor your goods and services to them quickly and easily.
So you’ve tried other approaches without success and now you are convinced that lean content marketing is what you need.
What tools do you need to get started as a content marketer with a lean approach?
Here are my favorites:
•Evernote– you need a place to store the content that you are curating and creating. It is helpful to have a virtual notebook for jotting down ideas and inspiration as you get them as well. Just a simple note-taking system will not do as you will quickly not be able to locate the content you have generated. Evernote provides a comprehensive system for you and any team members to create and keep track of content. Based on the creation of notes within notebooks, Evernote allows you to categorize content for easy retrieval when you need it. With iPhone and iPad apps, and a web version as well as a desktop version, Evernote allows you to have your content whenever and wherever you need it. Because of it’s popularity, most share systems include options to share to or with Evernote. Safari and Chrome extensions are available to allow you to clip interesting content from the web for future use. There are many alternatives, some of which I find useful for particular purposes but Evernote is my most-used note-taking tool. Cost- starts at free.
•Feedly– It is more difficult to create content in a vacuum. It is far better to keep with the content already being produced in your industry or niche so you will see the important topics and what interests your audience. Services like Feedly provide you with daily updates and news in subjects of your choice. You can specify certain articles to be shared across your social networks, with your Evernote notebooks or with a social media scheduling tool like Buffer (more on Buffer later). Use Feedly to help you curate high-quality, useful articles for you to share and to help you learn more in your field. Cost- starts at free
•Buffer- Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to maintain a consistent social media presence that you need to share your message effectively. Using Buffer, you can schedule your own original content, content from rss feeds that you follow or curated content like that from Feedly to go out over all of your social media profiles. You can specify which content goes to each social media channel to individualize what each audience sees. Cost- Starts at free.
•MacBook Air– Apple computers have been long been favored by creatives and therefore they are the logical choice tor today’s content creators. With powerful content creation software just for Mac, like Pixelmator (for photo editing), Garageband (for podcast creation), Screenflow (for webinars and screencasts), to intuitive ease-of-use, Mac laptops are a good balance between mobility and the power needed by the average small business user. Cost- New from $999, refurbished from around $500.
•iPhone– From recording a webinar or podcast to taking photos for social media sharing, it is hard to imagine being a content creator without an iPhone. Combined with top notch apps for photo and video editing, content sharing and note-taking, your iPhone will be the powerhouse of your content marketing efforts. Some of my best content I wrote in line at the grocery store and my most-shared photos were snapped in the moment with my phone. Using the Mac laptop with the iPhone allows for near-seamless cloud sharing in many cases. For efficiency and the lean model of content marketing, good hardware is a must.
There you have it, my list of content marketing tools to get you started. What will you start today?