I had two key inspirations for taking a thorough approach to this guide.
The first was all of the local business content marketing FAQs I’ve identified over a twenty-year career of consulting with fantastic business owners. I’ve seen the in-house expertise that exists at every local business, and I’ve empathized with the struggles of turning that knowledge into customer-centric content that becomes a major asset to the company in meeting its goals for discovery, engagement, acquisition, and retention. I wanted to share both what local business owners have taught me, and how I have helped them.
Second, I was watching one of my favorite gardening programs some months ago in which researchers were documenting how a single tree can become the host to hundreds of different species, from animals to insects, from ferns to mosses, from tall vines to microscopic fungi. Great trees not only feed us, but they absorb carbon and contribute to the very air we breathe. All at once, I felt I had a working analogy for the role local businesses play in communities, and the way in which they can come to host hundreds of types of useful content that contribute to the overall quality of local life. Because of this inspiration, I’ve structured this guide along the phases of the life of a tree, and I hope you’ll enjoy each of the stages of growth.
Beyond this, and because of the heartfelt respect I feel for the vital role local businesses play in our daily lives, I’ve included some straight talk in this guide about the societal, economic, and environmental challenges in which most small companies presently exist. You’ll find some thoughts on how using your voice on these issues as part of your content marketing plan can improve life quality in the communities you serve, and perhaps even in the world.