Does content marketing work for a brick-and-mortar business?

Does content marketing work for a brick-and-mortar business? 

This question comes up a lot, and that makes a lot of sense.

Here’s why:

A lot of the digital marketing hoopla revolves around driving web traffic. Many brick and mortar businesses aren’t necessarily affected much by increased traffic to their websites, especially if they don’t sell their products or services online or if the traffic isn’t from their local area.

One local business owner recently told me the tale of a marketing agency that offered him a plan promising to increase page views… to which he gave a big “so what?” 

How does that help him meet his business goals? How does that help him sell more stuff?

Well, it has the potential to help.

Maybe.

But without a clear goal for that traffic, it may not help much at all, beyond improving the website’s SEO. 

The thing is, web traffic and SEO are only two pieces of the marketing puzzle. Two pieces aren’t going to come together to produce the whole picture your business is trying to reveal.

Not only that, every business’s puzzle is unique. Sure, the puzzles each have similar pieces. Yet the completed picture and the way the pieces fit together to make that picture will be at least a little different every time.

Content marketing may well be the handful of pieces you’re missing.

Yes, content marketing can work really well for a brick and mortar business. A content marketing strategy that’s pointed at measurable, specific, local goals can be really powerful.

For both online businesses and local businesses. 

Here 7 benefits your brick and mortar business can enjoy from content marketing: 

1. More people in your actual shop

Several years ago, my husband and I considered opening a coffee bar in a mall. One of the big considerations during our research for that venture was the foot traffic in the mall. How many people would be walking by on a consistent basis? Out of that, we could only count on a small percentage stopping to buy a drink.

Content marketing done well can give a local shop a measurable boost in traffic. Depending on your type of business, that might mean appointments, or it might mean more people meandering in to browse or shop. 

Either way, if you make your money from people buying your goods or services at your physical location, then you need traffic to that actual location, not just to your website or Facebook page.

Good content marketing can connect those dots. 

2. Directly reaching your ideal customers

Content marketing enables you to use specific targeting that reaches the right people with your message.

If you rely only on print ads and traditional media, then you usually end up spreading a really wide net.

And, no, more exposure isn’t necessarily better if the right people don’t see your message. Reaching 1,000 more people who have zero interest in what you offer doesn’t help you.

Most of my clients cater to kids and families. Think tutors, schools, pediatricians, party venues, playrooms, extracurricular classes, family organizations, dentists, and shops that sell children’s and baby clothes and products. 

They all sell to a really specific niche: parents.

And, since mothers make most buying decisions for kids and households, this means that at least one more specific target is moms.

Moms don’t fit in a box, though.

Brands and businesses need to narrow their ideal customer down even further and identify more specifically which mom-segments will be most responsive to their message.

When your target audience is a distinct niche (and I think it should be), then it makes sense to target as many people in that specific group as much as you can. 

There are ways to do this with traditional media.

  • In TV advertising, they try to do this by planning to air certain commercials during shows watched by specific demographics. 
  • You might also be able to get your ad in front of a more specific audience in a trade magazine or a local publication directed at your audience.
  • You could also send mailings to specific neighborhoods or a number of homes within a certain distance of your business. 

With any of the above options, it’s hard to know how many people saw your ad. It’s also nearly impossible to measure the number who responded to that particular ad, and in what way. 

That was the reality of marketing for a long time. 

Times have changed.

With content marketing, you can target very specifically. You can get your message in front of people within a specific demographic, psychographic, and interest set.

Who cares if your post about summer camp gets 1,000 views if most of the viewers don’t have kids in the age range offered for the camp?

Right?

The more you can target your audience, the more people will be likely to click through, and the more camper slots you can fill.

Content marketing makes that happen.

3. Warming up your audience

People need to be exposed to your brand at least seven times before they’ll make a buying decision. Content marking gives natural, consistent, non-salesy touchpoints you can use to build relationships. 

Done well, content marketing can give your target audience all kinds of positive thoughts and feelings about you and your brand, which means that when they need your product or service, they’ll naturally be inclined to turn to you. Which leads me to…

4. Putting and keeping you at “top of mind”

We know this intuitively from everyday life.

The people you see consistently are the ones that stay at the top of your mind. When you don’t see or hear from someone for a long time, the memory of them gets moved to the back burner, and if enough time passes, you might only think of them very rarely in a nostalgic, past-tense way.

“I wonder whatever happened to ole’ such-and-such.”

You might not remember their name. You might forget about them altogether. 

The same goes for businesses.

When my husband and I are trying to decide where to eat out on a date, and we want to try something new, it’s tough to come up with a place without turning to Google or Yelp.

Why?

Even though we’ve lived in our town over seven years and have heard of literally dozens of excellent local eateries, at that moment, we can only think of:

(a) big-name chains that are everywhere and

(b) the three places we’ve been and liked, because that’s where we always end up going. 

Unless, say, this place we heard of has a strong content marketing game.

We follow the place on social media and end up liking many of their posts because they’re interesting or entertaining. This prompts us to say off-and-on that we really ought to go try that place.

The steady flow of quality content keeps that restaurant at the top of our mind, so when date night comes, one of us suggests we try that place again.

And, if our experience is good, it might become one of the places we regularly go.

That’s the power of content marketing.

5. Increasing customer loyalty

If you have a business that markets to parents, then you often have a profound opportunity to build customer relationships that will be both valuable and long term.

According to the 2018 survey conducted by Hulafrog, 96.5% of moms will send all younger siblings back to the same business if her oldest child is treated well.

Think about the lifetime value of your customers! You don’t have to put so much effort into acquiring new customers when you have repeat customers.

Give them a great experience, treat them well, do your job with excellence, stay at the top of their mind, and they’ll keep coming back and sing your praises. 

6. Increasing registration for local events, camps, classes

Content marketing can produce great results in stirring interest and registration for events and classes.

If your business involves recurring or one-time events that you want to fill with new prospects or customers, and you don’t use content marketing to do that, then you’re missing out on tremendous opportunities to fill those seats. 

7. Saving money

Content marketing can cost so much less than traditional marketing!

When you’re running a small business, trying to keep all the plates spinning, every penny counts, right? 

It’s good to invest in your marketing. You should do that. Traditional media may be an integral part of your picture.

Content marketing is a way to be smart about that investment and maximize your reach for your buck.

What do you think?

Do you own a local, brick and mortar business? How is content marketing working well for you?

If you’re not using content marketing, what’s stopping you?

(Shameless plug – if the hurdle is getting your content written, I can help you with that!)

If you think content marketing won’t work for your business, go ahead and tell me in the comments why you think that is.

You may be right.

Or, you might just need a viable strategy.

I’m always researching this stuff and I love hearing from you guys.

Drop your ideas and questions in the comments below, or send me an email for further discussion.

If you’re ready to start content marketing for your business, click below to chat with me about moving forward.

Jenni Burks is a web content writer and copywriter who loves helping small businesses that market to parents. Content marketing has been her side hustle and passion project for almost 20 years.

She lives with her family in Virginia.

Marketing Ideas for Music Lessons

13 Ways to Attract More Music Students Without Paid Ads

If you teach music lessons, you might well be one of the lucky few who get to enjoy making a living by living your passion and sharing it with others.

Assuming you can keep those lesson slots full.

Whether a home studio, music shop, or music school, it can be really challenging to bring new students in and to grow your business. 

You also want high quality students.

Right?

Students who want to be there. Who are excited about their instrument and want to learn. 

And, ideally, you want students who want to learn the specific style or method of playing that is your joy and specialty.

You want to be visible to students and their parents, and attracting the ones who are most likely to be the best fit.

You may even want to grow your business to the point you need to bring in another teacher…

or two, or three. 

Not only would growth like that increase your income, it would also allow you hand select which students you most want to teach yourself.

Marketing is the vehicle that drives you toward those goals.

What about word of mouth?

Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful tools for those who offer local lessons.

Definitely keep it at the top of your mind and use your reputation, people you know, and some great business cards to leverage that avenue.

Young boy stands poised to play his violin.
Many parents seek private music lessons for their child while he or she is still in elementary school.

Marketing Individual and Group Music Lessons

If you want to really grow your music studio, then you’re also going to want to use other means to market your music lessons.

And if you’re like most of my clients, you don’t want to spend a ton of money on marketing.

Good news!

You don’t need to.

At least 10 of the 13 tactics in this post require zero dollars of investment. 

(Those other three depend in part on what you already have and which options you select, and could be free or could require a small investment.)

All you have to give is some of your time.

Try using or starting one tactic per week for the next 13 weeks, and see how quickly you enroll new students and better quality students.

13 Ways to Attract More Music Students Without Paid Ads

13 Ways to Attract More Music Students Without Paid Ads

1. Check your business listing on Google. 

One of the first places people search for music lessons is on Google.

Google has a business listings feature which pulls up a map and list of businesses that match the search.

Is your business on that list? 

Is it on page one of that list?

If your music school is listed, you want to claim that listing and make sure the information is accurate and optimized. 

If you’re not listed, then you want to sign up at Google Business and set up your listing.

Make sure your listing includes:

  • Your address
  • Your hours
  • Your phone number and/or email address
  • Your website, if you have one (see tactic number 2)
  • Photos and videos

Even though they have way less search volume than Google, you might also consider checking or setting up your business listing on Bing and Yahoo.

Some people do still default to those search engines, and they are additional places you can collect reviews (see tactic #3).

At minimum, definitely make sure you have a strong listing on Google.

While researching for this article I came across a music school near me that was listed on both Yahoo and Bing business listings for “music lessons near me” but did not come up on the Google business listings at all. 

Several years ago I spent a bunch of time searching online for musicians who teach flute lessons. We were new to the area so we weren’t yet connected with the music community. We know several great flutists now, and can highly recommend some of them as teachers. At the time I was searching, though, not one of them came up in a basic Google search. Even those who had websites and had been teaching in this area for many years.

You don’t want to be in their shoes!

2. Create a simple website. 

A decade or so ago, this could be a little challenging. 

That was then.

Today, with options like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix, you can have a gorgeous, simple website for free (or really, really cheap).

At bare minimum, I recommend setting up a single page that explains your services and why your ideal client will love them. It should include a simple “contact” form near the bottom, as well as your contact information.

You can even include a feature that allows new students to schedule their first lessons in available slots, or register for events or group classes.

Make sure your website is linked to your Google Business listing (see tactic #1).

(Note: Yes, SEO is important. So is good copywriting that will draw in your ideal clients. If you’re doing all this yourself, you can fine tune those things later. Having your website connected to your Google Business listing will help you tremendously, and something simple is a great start.)

3. Check your business listing on Yelp.

Local services like yours really benefit from review site listings and from positive reviews. 

This post explains why and how to shore up your business listing on Yelp. 

It’s a simple step you don’t want to ignore.

4. Collect reviews. 

Ask current students to review you on Google and/or Yelp. 

Either site is a good place to start.

If you ask your students and their parents in person, then have a postcard or handout to give them as a reminder. Make sure it includes the url of your business listing so they don’t have to search for it.

If you have your current students’ email addresses, you can easily email them asking for them to leave a review. Again, include the url of your business listing so they can click straight through.

Make it easy for them.

Moving forward, make it part of your routine to ask for reviews after every semester. 

Take screen shots of the best reviews and save them in a designated folder. You can use them on your website and on social media.

If students and their parents are willing, you could even film short, informal video reviews.

5. Organize your email addresses into two lists. 

I strongly recommend using a free email service such as MailChimp to start organizing your work-related communications.

Regardless of the service you choose, organize your work-related contacts into two lists.

The first email list is for current students and/or their parents. 

You use this list for lesson-related communication and updates.

You can also use this list for an e-newsletter or other content and promotions.1

The second email list is for music-related connections.

This is for the local band directors, instrument repair shops, school music teachers, youth orchestra, and other people who interact directly with your ideal students. 

You use this list for updates about your services and how you can serve these professionals and their students.

You can also use this list for a totally separate e-newsletter, content, or promotions.1

6. Start an email newsletter for potential students.

This email newsletter would go to a third email list, in addition to the two given in tactic #5.

It’s easy to have an opt-in box on your website.

There, people who visit your site and are interested in your lessons can enter their email address in order to start receiving emails from you.

You could choose to offer a free download in exchange for the email address. 

Something like a printable pdf guide, checklist, or booklet.

If you can only focus on one list, this is the list to focus the bulk of your content marketing efforts.

This will help your prospects now (by giving them helpful tips and other content) and keep you at the top of their minds so they are more likely to come back to you later.

Boy sits at electric piano, practicing his lessons.
Parents will love to read tips for helping their children practice and master their instrument.

7. Start a blog.

Most of the basic websites you’d set up on the sites mentioned earlier include the ability to blog.

Blogging is a fantastic tool that can help you

  • increase your website’s SEO ranking
  • draw more qualified prospects
  • build your email list
  • build a faithful following
  • increase enrollment in your music lessons

Write about the kind of things you find yourself needing to tell or explain to your students or their parents on a regular basis.

Those are the things your target audience will be hunting on Google and will appreciate.

8. Use Videos

If writing isn’t your thing, video content might be a great option for you.

It’s amazing what you can do with a smartphone and some good natural light.

You don’t need a fancy setup. 

You don’t need expensive equipment.

You just need your awesome self, your personality, and some information that will educate, inspire, or entertain your target audience. 

You can start a vlog or YouTube channel. YouTube videos can easily be posted on your blog, too, so you can reach out on both YouTube and your website. (And YouTube is a great platform if you want to boost your SEO!)

Videos can be really effective on social media, if you’re active there. (See tactic #12.) 

If a channel is too big for you right now but you’re active on social media, try incorporating more videos into the posts and stories on your existing account(s).

Video interviews with your students, colleagues, or performance venues can be really fun.

Videos giving basic, introductory lessons, inspiration, and tips work really well for other music teachers.

9. Get involved in community organizations and events.

Many communities have organizations and events that promote music education. (I love the Music Resource Center here in Charlottesville!)

Make sure that your music studio is one of the names that pops up at these places in some way.

Sponsor a non-profit with proceeds from one of your gigs.

Teach a week of summer camp.

Accept special funding to offer lessons to children in the foster care system or other hardship situations.

At fundraisers or events, interact with potential students and parents.

10. Get involved in schools.

Reach out to all the schools in your local area that teach students in your target age range. (Don’t forget private schools and homeschool co-ops!)

Offer to give one-day music workshops. Leave lesson info with workshop participants. Pass around a sign up sheet so they can receive your emails.

Find ways to periodically volunteer or become involved in the school music programs or culture.

Volunteers are always needed to help with upcoming performances, and many volunteer jobs are great channels through which you can interact with potential students and their parents.

11. Be specific in your marketing. 

In all your ads, fliers, and web copy, specify your target age group, preferred music style, and methodology.

Publish content that will appeal to your specific target audience.

Too broad of a net won’t catch the fish you want, if any. It’s better to reach less people who are actually interested than tons of people who couldn’t care less.

Plus, being specific shows people what makes you different than all the other music teachers out there.

12. Use social media – strategically.

Social media use should be very purposeful. If used strategically, it can boost your exposure in ways you’d find hard to believe before it happens.

Facebook groups are the way forward as far as Facebook exposure goes. You could create a Facebook group for students…

Or, since Facebook is the internet real estate of moms3, create a group for parents of music students. Share things they can share with their children, tips on practical things like getting kids to practice, encouragement, memes, and resources.

Moms are also active on Instagram, and there is so much you can do to engage them on that platform as well.

Survey your students to see where they hang out online and find ways to be present and interactive there.

13. Build long-term relationships. 

Did you know that moms who have a good experience with their first child will come back to you with younger siblings?2

Don’t think of each student as a one-season client. Each household has potential to keep you busy for many years in a row. 

Be the absolute best you can be, as a musician, a teacher, and a person. Do what you can to nurture community and those long-term relationships so families return to you again and again, and rave about you to their friends.

Time to take action

  1. Pick one tactic to use within the next week.
  2. Set aside a couple hours to read back through these tactics and make an action plan for your music studio.

Need a hand?

I specialize in understanding how to reach your target market.

I can write your web pages, e-newsletters, video scripts, social media posts, and downloadable content like how-to guides and ebooks.

If you can imagine it, I can get it written for you.

Email me now or click below to schedule a chat about how I can help you meet your goals.

Jenni Burks is a web content writer and copywriter who loves helping small businesses that market to parents. Content marketing has been her side hustle and passion project for almost 20 years.

She lives with her family in Virginia.


1Note, you will need to be sure people have the chance to “opt in” to a business newsletter before using the lists for email content marketing, even if you already have their email addresses on hand for other communications.

2 96.5% of mothers surveyed said they would send all younger kids to the same business if her oldest child is treated well. “2018 Report Local Moms Online & Looking For You” HulaFrog, https://www.hulafrog.biz

3 96% of mothers surveyed reported using Facebook, and 72% reported that they log in to check Facebook multiple times every day. “2018 Report Local Moms Online & Looking For You” HulaFrog, https://www.hulafrog.biz

Yes, Your Yelp Page Matters. How To Improve and Leverage Review Site Pages For Your Business.

Could you be one of the many business owners who has overlooked one of the keys to marketing a local business?

Let’s ask it this way:

When is the last time you checked your business’s listing on Yelp or another review site?

Do you know what the reviews about your business say?

Many business owners don’t.

If that’s you, you’re ignoring a powerful marketing tool.

Especially if your target market includes moms.

This post covers:

  • Why sites like Yelp and online reviews matter to local businesses
  • Why businesses that market to moms should especially pay attention to and leverage their business reviews
  • 4 steps you can take now to improve your business listings on review sites, build good reviews, and leverage those reviews to build your business

Reviews are the biggest influence on moms’ buying decisions.

Check this out:

A growing trend with moms is increased reliance on reviews and testimonials when deciding where to spend their money. 

I was reminded of this on the latest episode of the Marketing to Mums podcast.

The podcast is based in Australia, but Katrina McCarter, the host, often interviews American experts and is great about comparing and contrasting trends in both countries. 

In her 2016 research project McCarter sought to find out which influences most affect Australian moms’ buying choices. 

She expected mom-to-mom recommendations to be the biggest influence.

To her surprise, the influence of testimonials and reviews had grown past the influence of personal recommendations. 

This includes reviews in print, audio, and video. 

And guess what else?

According to Hulafrog’s 2018 Moms Report, 99% of American moms surveyed say they go online to research an unfamiliar business.

These moms said that the first place they go after finding the business’s web site and/or Facebook page is to read online reviews on sites such as Yelp.

It seems likely that most folks read reviews before making a purchase, whether moms or not.

The data clearly shows, though, that moms in particular are defaulting to reviews and relying on them more and more.

If moms are your target market, then this trend is a powerful opportunity to boost sales wherever you’re present online.

A few key takeaways for local small businesses:

  • Make sure reviews about your business are available and easily found.
  • Know what reviews of your business are floating out there.
  • Take action to claim and improve exisiting business listings on review sites.
  • Leverage positive reviews by sharing across all your internet real estate.

Review sites: oft-neglected gems

I am blown away by how many small local business owners ignore their business reviews on sites like Yelp and Google.

Content marketing is important.

It’s my jam.

I get it.

Offline marketing is important too.

So are the daily tasks needed to actually run your business.

Just don’t pour all your time and dollars into those other things and leave the review pages wholly to their organic selves.

A few bad reviews have the potential to undermine your other efforts.

Are you leaving money on the table by ignoring your business’s review pages?

Here are four steps you can take to improve your review site game:

1. Search for and claim your business on the appropriate site(s)

For most local businesses I recommend checking Yelp and then Google (Try googling “[business name] reviews” and your business listing should pop up.)

Depending on your business, you might also look at Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, FourSquare, Judy’s Book, Trip Advisor, or industry-specific sites like Houzz, Healthgrades, or Campfire Ratings.

If your business is listed on these sites, and you did not create the listing, there should be an option on most of these sites for you to claim your business listing.

Follow the website’s instructions to claim your listing(s).

If you business isn’t listed, then create a listing and proceed to number two.

2. Spruce up your listing.

Fix errors. (It’s almost hilarious how often the hours of operation are wrong on Yelp!)

Add good photos. 

Make sure everything is accurate and up to date.

3. Start actively engaging.

Reply to reviews. 

You don’t necessarily need to go back and reply to all of them, if there are a lot of if they’re very old. 

But definitely check the site weekly and reply to new reviews as they come in. 

Especially negative reviews.

People will learn about your business from your responses as much as from the reviews themselves. 

4. Leverage the review site business listings.

You can do this today in at least 2 ways:

– Send happy customers to leave reviews! 

You can email them a link, hand out little cards, or even have a tablet at your place of business and ask them to leave a review right then before they leave.

My dentist’s office sends a text asking for a review about 10 minutes after every appointment. I just click through the link in the text and leave or edit my review right on my phone.

You could even offer a small incentive to your customers for taking the time to leave the review.

You can also find fun ways to encourage happy customers to post their own photos of your business.

– Screenshot or copy great reviews to display on your website or post on social media.

This extends the power of those testimonials far beyond the review site.

You could even do a Facebook live, Instagram story, or other video reading aloud a few positive reviews and thanking the people who left them.

I’ve heard some recommend to share one or two positive reviews each week.

It’s time to take action

Grab a pen and paper, or open your favorite notepad app, and make a list of ways you can start leveraging positive reviews.

Then list the ways you can get more reviews and testimonials from happy customers.

Choose one item from each list to implement this week.

Then go ahead and check out your review site listings and begin to improve them.

I’d love to hear about your results!

Come back here to share in the comments, or contact me via email or social media.

If you found this post helpful, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Jenni Burks is a web content writer and copywriter who loves helping small businesses that market to parents. Content marketing has been her side hustle and passion project for almost 20 years.

She lives with her family in Virginia.

6 Strategies to Help You Actually Get Your Web Content Written

Do you love the strategizing the researching and the planning that goes into content marketing? 

Are you one of those people who knows exactly how you want your content marketing to play out?

You’ve got your keywords. You’ve got your topics. You’ve got lists of ideas. You might even have an editorial calendar for your blog and social media outlets.

But producing the actual content is pretty intimidating.

That’s putting it mildly.

You stare at a blank page and all the awesome tidbits that had been flowing through your mind disappear.

How do people actually write all this stuff?

How do you crank out a blog post you really need published asap?

Unless you have a serious handicap, writing isn’t as hard as it might seem. 

Full-time writers have off days, too, don’t get me wrong.

We also have tricks and strategies to help us out. 

I could teach you all about the writing process and how writing online content is different than other forms.

What helps you more right this second, though, are strategies that will help you start writing content today.

Here are 6 strategies to actually produce content for content marketing

The first three help you get those awesome thoughts out of your head and onto the page. 

Once you have a chunk of material to work with, then you can use that as raw material out of which you’ll craft your shareable content.

#1-3 – Getting awesome ideas out of your head and onto the page

1) Have a “jot spot”. 

Designate one or more places to jot down all your fresh ideas right when they pop in your mind. 

I recommend having at least one jot spot, but no more than three. 

Your jot spot could be an app, a physical notepad, an audio recorder, or something else entirely. 

I use a notepad app on my phone, a voice recorder app (also on my phone), and a physical sketch book.

You can’t be actively composing content all the time. (Even full-time writers don’t!) 

The problem is that often ideas pop in your head when you’re not writing (I think of all kids of things when I’m washing dishes), and then when you sit down later to write you can’t remember. 

To use a jot spot to fix this, every time you have an awesome idea or the words start flowing well, stop what you’re doing and jot them down.

Store those ideas for later.

When you sit down to focus on writing, you’ll have all that material to get your juices flowing again.

2) Talk it out. 

This strategy was transformative for my middle and high school students who struggled with composition. Especially those with learning disabilities.

The mechanics of writing really slows some people down. 

Most of us can’t type out the words as fast as we think them. We also tend to try to edit as we write. 

Then we lose our train of thought in the middle of trying to spell everything in the sentence. 

If this is a problem for you, try to talk it out instead.

Talk about the subject or idea just like you would if you were discussing it with another person. 

Literally. Out loud.

As you talk, record yourself, use dictation software, or even speak while someone else types for you.

Students were often surprised by the awesome stuff that came out of their minds when they used this trick. 

All that’s left once the ideas are out is to edit!

3) Freewrite. 

Silence your phone and minimize distractions. Set a timer for ten minutes. 

During those ten minutes, type or write everything that comes to your mind. 

Try to stay on topic, but literally write your stream of consciousness. 

If you can’t think of anything to write, write “I can’t think of anything…”

Keep your pen moving on the page or your fingers typing. 

Don’t stop to correct spelling or grammar. 

Don’t edit at all as you write. 

Freewriting is about getting your thoughts flowing. 

Try freewriting once or twice a week for a while. It might take several attempts before you start to see results. 

Once your brain starts to get the hang of it, though, I bet you’ll be really excited by the results!

(If you want to learn more about freewriting, I highly recommend the book Everyone Can Write by Peter Elbow!)

#4-6 – Turning those awesome ideas into awesome content

Once you’ve used the first three strategies you should have a nice stash of fresh material from which to pull.

Now you can throw some of that that clay on the wheel and mould it into your actual content. 

One main idea can easily produce a week’s worth (or more!) of content on your blog, YouTube channel, and social media.

Here is the most efficient way I’ve found to do this:

4) Turn the big idea into your primary content

Pull the one main big idea and write your blog post(s) or video script(s) from that. 

Yes, it’s really that simple. Revise and edit the idea(s) you produced in steps 1-3.

5) Create smaller pieces of content using snippets of that larger primary content.

Pull quotes and smaller/related ideas from the big idea, and use those shorter snippets for your social media posts for the week. 

It’s kind of like having a theme for the week, though you don’t need to state that explicitly.

Some of these smaller pieces of content will promote your primary content, and some of them will stand as valuable content on their own.


If you’re not used to producing that many thoughts on a consistent basis it can be really intimidating at first.

Once you develop a habit of using these and other strategies, producing your own content can be really doable.

But writing all your own content is not for everyone.

Sometimes you do actually need to:

6) Hire a writer

You saw this coming, right? I am a writer, after all.

Seriously, though, we all have areas of our lives we delegate. Sometimes only for a while, sometimes long term.

I do a lot of my own graphic design, but even though I own and use professional software my skills only go so far. When I need something more complicated done I hire a designer. I could totally find tutorials online and do those projects myself, but it isn’t worth it to me to put in those hours when I could pay a reasonable fee to have the project done quickly and spend my time doing what I’m already good at (and what pays the bills).

Evaluate how much time you’d need take away from your other duties in order to write all your content. 

Can you even take time to write during business hours? 

Will you need to carve into your time off? 

How steep is your learning curve? 

Might it be worth your while to go ahead and delegate this piece?

I’d love to help you get your content marketing started on the right foot. 

You can email me right now and ask for a free 30 minute strategy session.

Then we can walk though your business goals and content marketing ideas, and see whether content marketing is even a good strategy for you.

(For some businesses, traditional media is still the way to go.)

If content marketing fits your business and your goals, then we can figure out which way you should go and how to get it done.

There’s no obligation to hire me after the strategy session.

My hope is that you’ll walk away from our call with direction – excited about your next steps.

Go ahead and shoot me an email to ask for that strategy session – jennib@jenniburks.com 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Jenni Burks is a web content writer and copywriter who loves helping small businesses that market to parents. Content marketing has been her side hustle and passion project for almost 20 years.

She lives with her family in Virginia.

7 Fundamentals for Marketing to Parents Online

Before we can really talk about how to market specifically to moms, parents, and caregivers, we need to make sure some foundational pillars are in place.

Nitty-gritty marketing data won’t help you much if you’ve neglected your digital marketing foundation.

I’m finding that a lot of my clients need to circle back to these seven fundamental principles so they can actually get traction and results from their content marketing efforts.

1) Evaluate your online presence.

Many tourist sites and shopping malls have a map of their facility that is often marked with a red star and the words “you are here”.

People need to figure out where they are before they can see what path(s) will take them where they want to go. 

You probably already have some sort of business presence online.

It’s time to find your red star.

Take some time to review the copy, formatting, and images on your website.

Assess your SEO keyword plan and how well it’s implemented on your website. 

Look over your business’s social media pages. 

Look up your business listings and reviews. (Don’t skip this one! One lousy Yelp page with some bad reviews can go a long way in the wrong direction!)

See where you’re at, where you have holes in your online marketing strategy, where you’re implementing the plan well, and where you need to tighten up. 

2) Know your audience.

“Parents” is too hazy to be a target audience. 

One of the most common mistakes I see clients make is not taking the time to research and iron out the specifics of their ideal client(s), and trying to do marketing activities without aiming at a clear target audience. 

Are you marketing to millennial parents? Marketing to moms? Marketing to new parents? 

How about to parents looking for a specific method of private education?

Moms who babywear, keep their home chemical-free, and believe play-based learning with minimal toys is best for kids under age 7?

Describe your ideal audience as specifically as you can.

It is SO worthwhile to create one or more personas or ideal customer avatars so you have someone concrete and specific to speak to though your marketing.

3) Be where they hang out.

Your ideal customer will have online habits. Some people are on Twitter all day. Some camp out in Facebook groups. Others on Instagram. Still others only Google what they want and check email once a day. 

Your online presence needs to be where your ideal customer is. Focusing your content marketing on Twitter doesn’t make much sense if your ideal customer isn’t there. 

4) Publish and send content worth their time.

Another common mistake I see small businesses make on social media is posting lots of content for the sake of posting content, even though most of it isn’t really worth reading or engaging with. 

If you want your audience’s attention, post and send things that help them out, solve a problem for them, encourage them, inspire them, entertain them…

Add value to the few seconds or minutes of their life that they give to reading your post. Which leads me to:

5) Post more than business updates and promotions.

Digital media is way more social and interactive than traditional media ever was. Think in terms of building a relationship with your prospects, not simply announcing sales. 

In other words, post mostly content that is not directly promotional.

I’ve seen different recommendations for different industries, but I think for most small businesses marketing to moms or parents a good rule of thumb is no more than 10-20% of your posts be directly promotional content.

Not only is this one way to increase your authenticity (to use the millennial buzzword), it’s also just downright friendlier and more appealing.

6) Think people, humans, relationship.

Hopefully marketing your product or service isn’t only about getting the sale, or enrollment, or whatever outcome. 

Hopefully you see value in your prospects as people, first of all. People you can help. People to build a relationship with.

Remember it takes at least 7 touch points before someone who is exposed to your brand is willing to take the plunge.

It’s worth your while to be a brand that people want to get to know.

And if you keep that up, you’ll collect raving fans who keep coming back and who refer you to their friends. Don’t leave that lifetime value on the table just to push a quick one-time transaction.

7) Plan.

Repeat after me: 

No more flying by the seat of my pants. Period.

Take the time to tighten up or create your content marketing plan. Take the time to list specific, measurable goals for every piece of content you put out. 

Plan out at least six months. 

Also, make sure to include your business’s promotions and events in your plan. 

(No more throwing together social media promotions a day or two before an event! That’s better than nothing, yes, but you can do so much better if you just plan ahead a little bit.)

Challenge yourself for at least 90 days not to post or email anything that doesn’t serve one of your clear and measurable goals. 

Devoting time and energy to this can completely transform your online marketing. 

If you need help making a digital marketing plan for your business, shoot me an email and I’d be happy to give you one free virtual strategy session via phone or video call. 

If you need help getting content written so you can execute your marketing plan, I’m here to help! Tell me about your project and I’ll get your scheduled for a free consultation to see whether my writing services would be a good fit for you.

Jenni Burks is a web content writer and copywriter who loves helping small businesses that market to parents. Content marketing has been her side hustle and passion project for almost 20 years.

She lives with her family in Virginia.