Are you looking to nail down your small business strategy? We’ve got a special guest that may be able to help…
Earlier this year we were introduced to Rachel Emma Waring and her incredible content creation know-how. It wasn’t fair to safeguard all of her useful tips and tricks, so we invited her to answer a few questions on creating the best possible content for you and your brand.
Read on to discover how to integrate content marketing into your small business strategy.
Hi Rachel! Tell us a bit about you and your business?
I’m a creative consultant, and my mission is to help small businesses and creatives blend visuals and sales, to find more joy and success in their content marketing. I work 1-1 with lovely clients, and I also run group trainings on subjects like Pinterest strategy, content creation, video skills and making better visuals for business.
We hear the phrase ‘content creation’ a lot, what does it mean to you?
To me, content creation goes way further than just posting on Instagram. I see content as something that makes up your entire online presence, across every platform you show up on (including your website). It’s what brings potential customers to you, and it’s also what makes them want to stick around and join your audience! Content creation is a way of not only introducing yourself to your target audience, but it also helps you provide value for them, and turn them into raving fans of your work.
Why is creating valuable content so important for small businesses?
When you can provide value for your audience, you help them to not only have awareness of your brand, but also like and trust your brand too. It helps to share your expertise, and also creates connections with the people you want to work with. It turns a one-sided conversation that can sometimes feel like shouting into the void, into a mutually beneficial relationship, where you start to build a community of loyal customers who will shout about you from the rooftops.
From Instagram to TikTok, there are so many promotional platforms to use. How do you choose which is right for you?
It can feel super overwhelming when choosing which platforms to prioritise in your small business strategy, but I have a few tips for this:
- Think about where your ideal customers are showing up. If you’re chatting away on Twitter all day, but your people aren’t there, that’s potentially not making the best use of your marketing time.
- Think about what type of content you enjoy creating the most. If you are loving short form video content, then TikTok, Reels and Idea Pins on Pinterest are a great trio. If you prefer longer forms of content where you can really go into detail, then maybe YouTube, a podcast or email newsletters will be the best fit.
The key thing to remember is that different platforms cover different areas of your content strategy, so you may need to choose a combination to work together hand in hand.
What are your top 3 tips for defining a content strategy?
Tip number one: Listen to your audience, and find out what they need help with most. If you can create content around that, you’ll be on to a winner.
Tip number two: Be clear on what each platform is doing for you. For example, somewhere like TikTok or Pinterest is brilliant for discovery and getting new eyes on your work. Whereas an email list is the best place to nurture that audience.
Tip number three: Set up a content schedule that you can realistically keep up with consistently. It’s important that content creation can fit into your business life. If it feels like way too much it’s easy for it to become demoralising. Choose the right frequency for you, that allows you to stay consistent.
You often reference ‘content buckets’, could you explain a little bit about these?
I do! This is one of my favourite ways to structure a content strategy. They’re sometimes called content pillars, and basically this means the key topics or categories that you create content around. I like to choose around 3-5 main content buckets, and then your content ideas would fit into those buckets. For example, my content buckets are:
- Behind the scenes of running a small business
- Content strategy tips
- Pinterest marketing
- The visuals of business
So that’s how I structure all of my content ideas, and make sure I’m covering all the topics regularly.
Could you name 3 examples of Instagram content that could work well for a business that sells Greeting Cards or Art Prints?
Absolutely! With Greetings Cards and Art Prints, it’s all about building a loyal following that will choose your products over the others out there, so how can you let them into your journey? Here are three examples:
- Show the behind the scenes of your process. You don’t have to give away all your secrets, but people love to feel like they’re part of something! If you’re creating a new design, could you share a sneak peek, or ask their opinion on a colour option?
- Gift guides – if you sell Greetings Cards, could you create a reel of the best cards for different categories, eg. “cards for cat mums”.
- From sketch to finished project – share one of your products from initial idea to the finished thing, as a before and after.
How would you recommend using this platform to convert sales with not much spare time on your hands?
If you want to get the most out of Pinterest with limited time, I would look at Idea Pins. They are Pinterest’s newest pin format, and they’re a great place to repurpose any video content you already have for your business. They are perfect to bring your audience inspiration and encourage them to take action, so try posting a couple of Idea Pins a week to bring more eyes on your work from Pinterest!
Is there a small business out there who nails content creation, and why?
So many it’s hard to choose! My lovely past client Rea from Confetti Sweethearts (a wedding styling and stationery brand) has an incredible Pinterest presence, and is regularly featured by the Pinterest UK editorial team. On TikTok my pal and collaborator Nerrisa Pratt is absolutely smashing it. On Instagram I absolutely love everything Laura Jane Illustrations posts!
Finally, how can people find you to learn more?
You can find me on Pinterest, TikTok and Instagram under @rachelemmawaring and on my website www.rachelemmawaring.com. I also run a free weekly newsletter called The Creator Papers, sharing advice on content creation for your business.
We can’t wait to see how you use Rachel’s useful tips and tricks in your small business strategy. Follow us on social media so we can see how you get on!