“How can I market my business without breaking my budget?”
This is one of the most common questions we get from the small business owners we work with.
The beauty of digital marketing is that if you can spare some time, you can market your business without increasing what you’re spending.
Traditional advertising and marketing meant a big budget for billboards, direct mailers, radio, and newspaper advertising. But in the digital age, traditional businesses can build brand awareness and brand loyalty through nothing more than compelling content.
Most all of the information that exists for digital marketing is targeted to internet entrepreneurs who are selling a product or service online. The information available is all about driving website clicks and conversions, SEO and bidding on advertising.
We’re not saying all of that doesn’t have its place, but if you own a traditional brick and mortar business and you want people coming through your door, the quality of your content is what’s going to set you apart from your competition.
When our clients hire us, we produce content for them that is designed to build real connections with their customers and potential customers. We produce content that gets organic results because it builds connections with real people in your community who will do business with you. We’re not looking for gimmicks that get clicks that convert to one-time sales. Instead, we want to build connections that will turn people into lifelong customers.
In 2012, I started reading about this marketing concept called “brand journalism” and how large corporations like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Rubbermaid, Apple, GE, Tesla, Adobe, and many more were forming corporate newsrooms as part of their marketing division and telling the stories around their corporation as part of their marketing.
I was fascinated by the idea, in part because I realized that what these corporations were doing was very similar to something I was already doing at the small, weekly newspaper I owned.
At our newspaper we regularly featured articles about local businesses, and the business owners told me over and over again that those articles routinely drove new customers to their door. Our articles were building brand awareness for these local businesses.
But beyond that, the business owners told me that the articles were also helping them build real relationships with their customers. In addition to helping their brand awareness, we were also helping with their brand loyalty.
I knew of course that my customers at the newspaper – small, local business owners – didn’t have the resources to establish their own corporate newsrooms. They couldn’t produce the kind of content that would keep the momentum going, and at the newspaper we were limited in how often we could dedicate space in the newspaper to any one business.
But with social media and websites, what I knew was that even small businesses could produce similar content – and put that content in front of their customers and potential customers.
I spent the better part of two years studying brand journalism, and giving serious thought to how brand journalism could be scaled for small businesses. And in 2015, I sold my newspaper and started a small marketing firm committed to producing brand journalism content for small businesses.
As we took on more clients, we realized that no one is better positioned than the small business owner (or someone inside the company) to produce the kind of really compelling and shareable content that works best for marketing small businesses online.
We also realized that we could narrow down our strategies into a teachable plan that gives clarity not only to when and where and why to post, but also what to post on websites and social media.
This isn’t about conversions and metrics and clicks. This is about building real relationships with the people who are going to walk through the front door of your business.
And now we are offering small business owners the opportunity to learn from us exactly how we produce the content that gets our clients traction with their customers and potential customers.
In THE BRAND JOURNALISM COURSE, we offer a 12-week, online course that will teach small business owners how to produce content that builds real connections. Each week we release a module that teaches skills and gives you actionable homework that allows you to start producing content from the first week.
A small business owner who takes our course can produce powerful content that will build real and deep connections with customers and potential customers, and they can do it in less than four hours a month.
But we don’t just teach you how to do it. We support you while you’re doing it. Each week you’ll get live interaction with us where we answer your questions and will even review what you’re doing with your brand journalism and offer suggestions.
If you’ve been frustrated with how best to use your website to market your business or if you’re struggling to figure out how to connect with your potential customers on social media, THE BRAND JOURNALISM COURSE is for you.