Last week my friend and fellow coworking enthusiast Bernie J. Mitchell called me out. After recording an episode of the Ouishare Radio Write Club, the new podcast we co-host with Trevor Twining, Bernie and I were chatting and he said, “I’ve been reading and sharing your blog posts for years, but I still want to know: How do we get people in the doors of our coworking space using content?”
It’s a legit question, and one that a lot of space operators have: Why bother with this whole content thing if it doesn’t help solve the big challenge of attracting new members?
There’s a practical framework for content marketing. Here’s the quick and painless version:
1. Find Your Audience
Know who you want to attract to your space. This is your target audience.
2. Understand Your Audience
What do people in your target audience need help with? What do they desire? What they struggle with?
3. Help Them
Now that you know what your target audience wants, needs and struggles with, pinpoint exactly how you can help them.
4. Find Your Keywords
Once you clarify your target audience, what they need and how your unique offerings help them, you have some keywords to focus on. Use these keywords in your content to help your target market find you in search engines. This is the foundation of SEO.
5. Brainstorm Content Ideas
Brainstorm blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. that speak to the needs, desires and struggles of your target audience. If you offer child care in your coworking space, brainstorm resources, tips, insights and how-tos for parents. If you have a podcast booth, green screen and community of digital creatives, share protips and resources for creating videos, podcasts and digital media. If your space is focused on social good projects, brainstorm ideas around social missions, B corporations, social impact and triple bottom line businesses.
6. Create Strong Headlines
Create strong headlines around these topics that will be irresistible to your target market. Make them SEO-friendly with your target keywords. For example, if you’re trying to attract photographers in Boise, use headlines such as, “A Photographer’s Guide to Boise: 7 Resources to Grow Your Skillset and Attract Clients.”
7. Leverage Local Influencers and Aligned Organizations
Make a list of all the organizations, businesses, government agencies, meetups and influencers who are aligned with your space, business, community and mission. Mention them in blog posts, do roundups that include them, feature them in Q&As.
This is a powerful technique to expand your reach and attract your target audience because when these organizations and people are featured in your content, they’ll likely share the post/video/podcast with their community. And their community, by design, overlaps with your target audience.
Imagine having the local business development agency or a big tech meetup share your content. With one Tweet or Facebook post they’ve just put you in front of your target audience and given you an opportunity to demonstrate value to them.
Note: Writing guest posts for these aligned organizations and businesses is another great way to attract their audience to your space. Just be sure to include a link to your space and a call to action.
8. Call to Action
The call to action is perhaps the most important part of content marketing. Say someone is intrigued by your headline, clicks through and reads the post, and is curious about what you offer. What do you want them to do? Schedule a tour of your coworking space? Come by for a happy hour? Swing by the space for a visit? Book a meeting room? Give them an easy way to do that.
You can have other calls to action, such as an opt-in to your newsletter or a free download in exchange for their email. Or you can ask people to attend an upcoming event, or call for more information about your space. Someone has self-selected as being your target audience by clicking on your targeted post. What do you want them to do?
Get clear on that, then ask them!
Apologies for the “!” I’m generally opposed to using exclamation points and ALL CAPS in writing, as it’s the equivalent of yelling at readers. But this is important: give people a next step to take after getting value out of your content.
Not everyone will do what you ask. But if you don’t ask people to take an action, then no one will.
For best results, repeat, repeat, repeat
Get this process down then…repeat, repeat, repeat.
Content marketing is a long game. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s an exercise in consistency, course correcting and patience. Enough with the metaphors, you get what I’m saying, right?
Stay with your content strategy and be consistent. Establish your coworking space as a valuable community resource, then do that over and over and over again. You’ll increase awareness of your space, you’ll position your space and community as a vital part of the local ecosystem, and more people will come through the doors to see what you’re all about.
Coworking space operators: Subscribe to the Coworking Out Loud Newsletter to get industry insights, resources and content tips sent to you every Thursday.