Content marketing is all the rage right now, but what is it? Essentially it’s any content — blog posts, videos, contests, reports, social media activity — that attracts, retains, and engages customers. Not only is content marketing great for branding and, ultimately, increasing sales, it also helps a ton with SEO (aka getting more traffic to your website).
There are a bunch of resources out there that can help you craft a content marketing strategy. In addition to consulting services, companies like Kapost and Contently also have blogs that feature, well, a lot of content. The Content Marketing Institute is also a good place to start.
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But to jump-start your creative juices around business blog ideas, we thought it’d be helpful to give shoutouts to some Square sellers who are killing it with content. Here are a few who have caught our eye recently, and what they’re doing right:
1. Create a wide range of content types
Shining example: Barista Parlor (Nashville, Tennessee)
What we really like about Square Loans recipient Barista Parlor’s blog is how it mixes up the types of things it posts about. Posts range from heavy-rotation playlists to a primer on how to taste coffee. The blog interweaves these “branding” posts with relevant information (like the fact that they now offer doughnuts) about Barista Parlor’s business, creating a steady stream of interesting content.
2. Engage your audience
Shining example: Amy’s Ice Cream (Austin, Texas)
Another thing to think about is how you can use content to engage your customer base. Amy’s Ice Cream does this very well through contests. The shop frequently asks people to share photos or stories on social media for the chance to win some sweet (pun intended) prizes. Recent examples include calls to share a photo of your favorite wintry scene (with an #amysicecream hashtag) and your favorite s’mores story.
3. Be a thought-leader
Shining example: Coava Coffee (Portland, Oregon)
We like a number of things about Coava Coffee’s blog. First off, it divides its posts into distinct categories — Brew Series, Coava Insights, and Collaborations. Organizing your posts like this helps you plan out the types of things you write about, and also gives your audience clear indicators of what type of content they can expect to find when they visit your site. Through in-depth features that show expertise in its field, Coava is also a great example of something called “thought leadership,” another best practice in content marketing.
4. Use images as anchors
Shining example: Henry & June (Atlanta, Georgia)
Henry & June, an Atlanta clothing boutique, uses imagery to help support its brand and aesthetic. The blog shows how a little bit of content can go a long way — many of its posts let a simple but compelling photo do the talking. Check out their Cyber Monday post to give you an idea.
5. Start a video series
Shining example: Birch Coffee (New York, New York)
Video has proven to be a super-effective way to reach your customers, and Birch Coffee is an example of a seller who is killing it on this front. In its series “Stay Regular,” it invites some of its favorite customers to sit down and share their thoughts, dreams, and ideas. The result is highly engaging content that paints a picture of Birch Coffee as a local brand with a tightly integrated community.
What type of business blog ideas have you found to work well? Share your stories with us on Twitter.