Small business (SMB) owners can create quick quality digital content even if they don’t consider themselves to be writers or “media types.”
The irony is that as an SMB owner, you are better at creating high-quality content than you think. After all, no one knows your business story better than you. And all those fancy visual tools may help, but even a rough, unpolished video can be highly effective if it’s sincere and helpful. When you know your stuff, and you’re genuine, that ‘roughness’ actually translates to authenticity.
Whether it’s video content, writing a blog post, or launching a social media campaign, content creation can be your secret weapon for standing out in your market. Just being willing to commit to consistent content can be a huge differentiator. It also happens to be the fastest way to improve your digital content creation skills.
First, why digital content?
It’s all about logistics.
In case you need convincing, here are just a few reasons why digital content is so powerful:
1) It’s free! You have zero upfront costs.
2) Instantaneous availability. Your target audience will see your message immediately – without having to wait days or weeks for print publications to publish their articles.
3) Plenty of distribution options. Simply pick the social channels where the conversations you want to join are already in progress. Facebook Live videos, Instagram Stories, Snapchat stories, YouTube channels, and Tik Tok are among the most popular. Take your pick and always be testing.
If you consider digital (online) content as inventory, then as a marketer, you are in the digital assets distribution business. And your digital asset inventory takes up virtually zero physical space.
Adopt a simple approach
It can be intimidating to face a blank screen, a blinking cursor, and such a wide variety of content options.
But the truth is, when writing a blog or video, you don’t need to agonize over every word. Look at it as a way of sharing about the work you do and what it does for your customers. You’re immersed in your business and have far more knowledge about it than your audience. Use it as a platform to demonstrate your expertise and empathy.
A great way to leverage that knowledge is to address the most common questions and concerns you hear from customers. For example, think about recent or recurring conversations where prospects tell you why they hesitate to buy. Use this knowledge to anticipate and address those objections and concerns with your content. It shows the reader that you are listening and tuned in to their world.
How to outline quick quality digital content
For any content you create, a simple structure or outline can be a huge time saver and a wonderful way to organize your thoughts. Do just enough to get yourself motivated to write. H
ere’s a three-step framework for keeping it simple:
1. Start with a simple sentence about the issue or problem you’ll address and why it matters. Let your audience know right away that this is for them and their specific situation.
2. Agitate on the problem you’re highlighting before. you share your solution. Create tension by describing the problem and the pain. Then let the reader or viewer know they are in the right place to resolve that tension.
3. Summarize and close. Always put a bow on your presentation by summing up the most important takeaways.
Applying the three-step framework
Let’s take a closer look at each of the three steps.
Step 1 – Start with a simple sentence
Let’s say you run a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. Your experience is there’s one primary reason your prospects put off transitioning to software and opt to stick to Excel and outdated paper systems instead: They think the learning curve is too steep.
Use that objection to tee up your opening sentence. Then, use it to give the reader a preview of the problem and how you will address and resolve it.
This simple sentence lays the groundwork for everything that will follow.
Let’s say your competitors are all using videos and tutorials to help users learn their software. But you’ve done your homework, and you know that users don’t complete the training. They also complain that it takes too long and it’s too hard to find the information they need.
So, you’ve developed a different approach. You film modules and write posts tailored to the most common use cases. So, customers can choose from step-by-step examples for the specific work they plan to do with the software.
With that in mind, here’s what your simple starter might look like:
Most traditional software training is time-consuming and ineffective, but it doesn’t have to be.
Step 2 – Use questions and objections to agitate the problem further
Draw on the customer’s queries and complaints so you can create the necessary tension. This is key.
Quick quality digital content must effectively create and resolve tension for the audience.
Let’s face it; people are driven to solve problems, but not until they recognize and acknowledge the need to do so. One way to create that need (agitate the problem) is to describe the gap between what they have now and what they want instead.
Take our software example. You could start by saying something along the lines of “Traditional software training takes hours to complete, but it isn’t effective because it doesn’t account for the specific use the client has in mind. As a result, users either spend too much time searching, or they give up.”
Then, you’d continue by asking a question like “What if I showed you an easier way?” or “What would it mean for your business if you could train users faster and easier?” Again, this shifts the focus to what they stand to gain with your solution.
Using this gap/gain approach, you’ll create a sense of need along with the desire to fulfill that need. This is where you can finally provide the details about your solution. A series of bullet points will do the trick. Just enough for them to get the gist of it and why it works.
Step 3 – Summarize and close
You’re almost done, but not quite.
So far, you began with a simple sentence that set up the specific problem you’d address. Then, you expanded on the problem and offered hope by way of a solution. Now it’s time to review what you’ve covered (like we just did in the previous two sentences) and wrap up.
But first, here’s a question to ask yourself; it’s called the empathy exercise.
Ask yourself, “If I were a client or prospect who had read this far, what reservation might still be lingering in my mind?”
This is the place to put a bow on your article by addressing that reservation. You may not have to think too hard to come up with it either.
Take our software example. A lingering doubt may be that it sounds too easy, or it sounds too hard. Whatever the case, it’s just a matter of using a sentence or two to dispel this hesitation.
The real reason the quick quality digital content approach works
It demonstrates and builds authority.
In our “simple sentence” opening to this article, we suggested that you don’t need to be a professional writer or media expert to create quick quality digital content. In fact, if it’t not a strong suit for you, you can actually use this perceived weakness to your advantage because your content is coming straight from the source.
Don’t underestimate the power of your working knowledge of the product or service you provide. When you match it with the understanding you have of your customer; you create instant credibility.
Excellent writing helps, and at some point, you may choose to have someone help you craft your messaging. Or, you may choose to explore some of the other tech tools available, such as AI or online editing.
But don’t forget that the real secret is you, your hard-earned expertise, and the way you leverage it to provide value to your customers with digital media.