On Monday, I said,
Content marketing can preserve a franchise.
While not a guaranteed safeguard from closure, content indicates where a franchise is on the web. By exhibition, franchises build an audience. With an audience, franchises preserve themselves.
My last article focused on the writer and his organization, so this article focuses on the audience and their reading. My thesis is simple, yet underestimated: content marketing without the reader’s pleasure is nothing more than stale words on a blog.
6. Social Media Marketing: Stay Connected
Much ink has been spilled on social media marketing. Perhaps less spilling and more pouring. Just search “social media marketing” on Google, and you will find swarms fighting for rank, asking for your attention, looking for someone to read what has been splashed.
As a writer, I admire their endeavors. But they also intimidate me. How does one send his voice through the brush and barbs? How does one speak in a search engine crowded with extroverts yelling in microphones and advanced platforms?
One answer is immediately clear: start by speaking. To sit silent is to sulk, and to sulk is to give up. And neither you nor I can give up.
Do not let the social media monster intimidate you. Social media—despite its many flaws—is a franchise’s experimental platform.
So here are some basic tips for using four of the big name platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.
Facebook: keep content relevant. Don’t allow your outdated content age the Facebook page. The second the page is outdated is the second your audience leaves. Discovery of a ghost town never beckons one to live there. Don’t allow your Facebook page to turn into a ghost town.
Twitter: be active on Twitter. And I don’t mean posting every thirty minutes. Anyone can set up his Twitter account to post articles and such at regular intervals. But franchises, as people reaching out to other people, should engage their audience differently. If franchises want local images, they must act personal. Ask questions—answer responses. Write a haiku—laugh at your ingenuity. Make a profound statement—follow those who follow you. Don’t let out a passive Tweet. Activate your account by tweeting like a human.
Google Plus: be an authority. Google authority—yes, this is real—allows franchises to link all their content to one profile. Not everyone can get it, however. For more information, check out our article on Google+.
LinkedIn: be involved. Yes, LinkedIn is formal. Yes, its for professionals. And yes hipsters despise it. Nevertheless, LinkedIn groups are indispensable. For, by participating in franchise groups, one connects with other franchise leaders.
7. Community Involvement: Stay Active
Franchises market in stages.
First, they self-promote: newspaper ads, social media campaigns, Groupons. Then, they move to more advanced advertising: commercials, LinkedIn Premium, karaoke night.
But there is a stage franchises often miss: the stage of the servant leader.
Self-promotion will not sustain franchises, nor will it encourage growth. As children mature by continually erasing their egos, so, too, franchises mature by continually engaging their communities. And not for the sake of themselves, nor for the sake of their franchises. But for the sake of others.
So what does this have to with content? Everything.
Franchises that serve are franchises that create content. Every thing you do, from signing a petition to participating in community, from giving out donations to endorsing someone’s mission trip, can be seen symbolically. As symbolic action, these are pieces of content. Now, of course, one must be cautious. Businesses that boast of their community involvement are as unattractive as a teenager’s selfies.When done right, however, franchises will not need to boast of their content. Customers will do it. As viral videos spread because of their mass enjoyment, so, too, your content will spread because its mass affection.
So, in general, do this: avoid talking about serving; just serve. Avoid blogging about your service; let others blog for you.
This sounds crazy, I know. But when done right, the served will the talk for you.
8. Infomercial Blogs Kill: Write Something for Others
Now let’s move away from the audience and focus on the reading experience.When I read some blogs, I feel as though I am watching a bad infomercial: every paragraph, the writer interjects his company’s services, often unexpectedly and disruptively.
When I see this, I turn away. I find something else to read.
Why? Blogs with salesy motives ruin my reading experience.
When you write unleash your personality. But don’t stop there. Unleash the reader’s personality, too. Say something crazy, something wild, something unconventional. Write something for others, for their experience, for their enjoyment. If they’re interested in your business, they will stay. They will inquire. They will email. Just don’t be an infomercial about it.
9. Give’em the Candy: Write Something Worth Reading
Content that bores is content that expires. If your content does not engage the reader, do not expect anything in return.
This is an easy tip to share: write something that engages, something that fascinates, something that matters. As so many bloggers have said before me, content stuffed with keywords is often content stuffed with nonsense. Liberate the sense from the non: write something that matters.
10. The Tool Belt: Write a Variety of Content
Going off tip #9, writing something intriguing may imply writing something that differs from the norm. 21st century literature is an era of hybrids: creative nonfiction, prose poetry, historic fiction. Don’t be afraid, therefore, to experiment with genres.
In his book, ProBlogger, Darren Rowse and Chris Garret list 20 types of blog posts. Below, I list the skeleton. Buy the book for the flesh.
20 Types of Blog Posts
6. Case Studies
8. Link Posts
9. Problem Posts
10. Comparison Posts
14. Collation Posts
15. Prediction and Review Posts
16. Critique Posts
18. Hypothetical Posts
19. Satirical Posts
20. Memes and Projects
Franchises need content, too.
My goal was to give you 10 tips to start your content marketing. In the end, content marketing serves to protect your franchise.
But now I am curious. In all of this, I assume content can preserve your franchise.
Is my assumption incorrect? Correct? Misinformed, uninformed, annoying, redundant?
Has content marketing helped your franchise?