4 things your small business should blog about

At Simplified Solutions, we help people tell their stories online and we use tools like WordPress and Twitter. One of my graphic design buddies gave me the title Chief Storyteller (obviously hacked from Chief Shoe-giver ala Tom’s shoes) when he was designing my latest business card. The title stuck and leads to a grin whenever someone sees it

We get the pleasure of telling the stories of some amazing businesses each and every day. A friend of mine Ron Stuart coined the phrase embedded reporter and it really does communicate what we do. We use new media to assist small businesses who have primarily used word of mouth to grow their businesses. Inbound marketing works well for word of mouth businesses, but not so well for those accustomed to interruption based outbound media. When those businesses use new media it often reminds me of Seth Godin’s book, Meatball Sundae. Your company needs to be built or changed to work with new media. When you simply put new media on top of an old business model you get whip cream and cherries on top of meatballs. Not too appetizing and a waste of money.

So when we do our embedded reporting, what exactly do “we” communicate:

(“we” is a team approach and collaborative effort- not just ghost blogging)

  1. We write about their story and their uniqueness. If they are just another “me too business” there is not much we can do to spread a boring story.
  2. We write about keywords that customers may use to find them on Google. We do it in a genuine way. We want to fish where the fish are. If we have what they are looking for, then we want to be johnny on the spot.
  3. We do educational marketing. We ask the sales team, the estimators, the marketing folks and the owner; what don’t prospects understand about your service, your process or your product? Then we craft content that educates.
  4. We have fun. We write about fun things. We mix it up a bit. You should too. Humor is powerful. Part of that fun is staging contests, promotions and creating engagement with customers, employees and raving fans of course.

The goal of it all is to make it easy for their product, service, or story to spread. We set up the platforms and (“in praise of slow” via Mitch Joel) create fertile ground for a community to build. This is all pretty new stuff so check back for updates and case studies. It’s part art, part science and part hope into the future. It’s better than hoping into the past though- pretty sure the old stuff isn’t coming back anytime soon. Thinking along the same lines? Contact us to start the conversation.

Budget ideas for New Media

If you’re a small business, busy professional, non profit or ministry; what’s it worth to have someone tell your story for you? Is it worth $6000 – $12000 per year? I’m sure you’re spending that much per year on ads. I created a little [download id=”2″] if you have your records handy.

I know businesses that allocate this amount of their budget just to yellow page ads or business card ads in weekly papers. I know businesses who spend this on lead generation programs annually. Some put this kind of money into radio or TV.

Wouldn’t it be more effective to start blogging about what you do, how you do it and who you can help? Wouldn’t it be more effective to create online spaces to organize your fans and customers. Wouldn’t it be more effective to handle your own PR instead of begging for it, or worse yet paying for it from the old media? If you’re a mid sized firm and your getting mad right now, then realize who I’m speaking to, it’s probably not you.

I certainly agree that small businesses, busy professionals, non profits and ministries can’t afford to bring someone on staff for $50-$60 K to handle this task. I’m betting you’re already stretched thin, so delegating this to staff may be out of the question as well. So what other options are there.

content updatesWe’ve created plans for those who want to outsource storytelling. We’ll be your PR department and Content Managers. We’ll update the content on your site, your Flickr photo feed or your Youtube video channel. We’ll coach you on creating compelling content. We’ll write educational marketing posts for your blog. We’ll handle blog updates on your latest endeavors, fundraisers, events or milestones. We’ll coach you to disseminate information and engage appropriately on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll organize your contacts with email newsletters. We’ll get people talking about your story and if your story isn’t worth talking about, we’ll help recreate it with you.  This is what we mean by creating and sharing your story online. They used to call this marketing and advertising. If you want to delegate you or someone on your team to handle this at least check back soon for the launch of our coaching programs and webinars. If you’re interested in our services they range from $499 per month up to $999 per month. We’re only looking to do this for a select number of clients. We’re already handling this for some.