Good Content Boosts Business

May 25, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post first appeared on the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce blog, SPACC Up!

My kids love “What Do People Do All Day?” In the classic children’s book, animals act out the roles of farmer, grocer, firefighter, plumber and a variety of other workers.

Author and illustrator Richard Scarry chose to make the banker a pig, which may have been a political jab of some kind, but that’s a subject for another day.

My former jobs are represented nicely. The newspaper reporter is a speedy rabbit; the news editor a cigar-chomping bulldog.

richard scarry news reporterAlas, Mr. Scarry left out my current profession. There’s no content marketer in Busytown.

So what do I do all day? And what is content marketing?

I’ve heard these questions several times since Fast Horse, the company where I work, joined the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce earlier this year.

The short answer: I help companies reach their target audiences by creating material that’s useful, interesting and entertaining. The content might be an e-newsletter, a blog, a print brochure, a series of YouTube videos, a Facebook promotion, a trade-show booth or an iPhone application.

Whatever the medium, the key is to create good content. Is your material helpful, funny, emotional or informative? Another key is to get your stuff out there. Effective distribution via traditional channels (TV, radio, newspapers) and new social-media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) is at least half the battle.

richard scarry news editorAt Fast Horse, we believe content plays a key role for anyone who wants to build relationships with current and potential customers. With the growth of digital media, just about every company and organization should think of itself as a publisher.

We’ve been helping clients of all sizes master the content game. Some examples:

* Coca-Cola Expedition 206: Coke sent three young travelers around the world as part of the “Open Happiness” campaign. We helped Coca-Cola reach their target 20-something audience with great content — photos, video, blog posts and feature stories — along the way.

* Marvin Windows and Doors: Fast Horse helped engage homeowners, builders and designers with a window-replacement iPhone application, targeted blogs, e-newsletters, a remodeling guide and trade-show videos.

* Minneapolis Parks Foundation: When the nonprofit organization unveiled a mysterious monster sculpture in Lake Harriet, Fast Horse generate buzz for the group’s mission with a website, videos and Twitter stream and a Facebook page.

Every brand has a story to tell. There are people who want to hear the story and, just as importantly, retell it. In many ways, it’s never been easier to share your brand’s story. Through blogs, Facebook and YouTube. At sporting events. In the media and at trade shows. On a smartphone. The options are endless, which is why it’s also never been more difficult to find and engage the people you want to reach.

The key is understanding how to create compelling content and how to get it in front of people in ways that achieve your business objectives.

So, upon further review, I see that my profession is included in “What Do People Do All Day?” Right there on the title page is a raccoon banging away on an old typewriter. He’s a “story writer.”