If you want to succeed in self-storage or any other business, establishing thought leadership is key. Growth happens when you position your company as an expert in the industry and deliver relevant information buyers need. As you bolster your operation and expand your local presence, it matters what you say along the way. With the right content, you can showcase your expertise, build credibility, attract the right kind of customers and create a rental-generating machine.
Let’s explore why a content strategy is critical to your self-storage facility marketing. I’ll provide eight easy steps you can follow to build and execute a plan that works. These will allow you to use your existing knowledge and skillset to connect with target audiences, increase rentals and take your brand to the next level.
What Content Strategy Is and Why It Matters
In short, content marketing is the process of using various content types to achieve business goals. The mix can include audio, visual and written elements, such as videos, blog posts, articles, podcasts, images and more. The right items will attract your target audience at every stage of the buyer journey. More content means a greater opportunity to engage and convert prospects. An effective strategy should support all your marketing channels to help you drive rentals and rates.
Content marketing helps you reach new self-storage leads and retain existing customers. It’s an economical yet effective way to stand out in your market and get more eyes on your website, social media pages and other marketing collateral. This type of visibility is an important part of establishing your brand presence, and especially integral for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Google rewards websites that consistently deliver strong, helpful content to readers. If you can answer a question, give sound advice or create a useful tool for your audience, you’re that much closer to attracting organic traffic and generating long-term leads. Once those central content pieces are in place, your marketing team has more flexibility and freedom to experiment with other outreach tactics, such as social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and more.
While each self-storage company is unique, let’s take a look at the eight basic steps any facility operator can follow to build a successful content-marketing strategy.
Step 1: Set Your Goals and Objectives
Before you do anything else, it’s important to set clear goals for your content-marketing efforts. Why do you want to create content, and what’s your end game? Do you want to find new prospects? Educate the community? Build relationships with existing customers? Drive traffic to your website? Generate interest in an event or charitable cause? There are many possibilities.
Once you know your objectives, combine them into a comprehensive mission statement to guide your strategy moving forward. Refer to it often to keep things on track and ensure everyone on your self-storage team is rowing in the same direction.
Step 2: Create a Renter Persona
Every good writer follows this important rule: Know your audience. It applies whether you’re a fiction writer, true-crime novelist or business content creator. The material you produce must entice people who are genuinely interested in self-storage solutions. While it might sound ideal to attract everyone, content that’s universally appealing is usually too generic to be actionable. You must know the person to whom you’re selling!
Think about your ideal self-storage renter. What are their unique motivators and deterrents? Where do they live, and what types of services do they need? How do they find and interact with your company? Answering these types of questions helps you create a “buyer persona” to whom you can address your content. Just bear in mind that this persona may change over time. With regular market research, you can ensure you always cater to the right crowd.
Step 3: Establish Team Resources
Who’s currently responsible for creating content in your self-storage organization? Based on your goals, is this person or team sufficient to take your marketing strategy to the next level, or will you need to expand in some capacity?
In addition to securing sufficient internal resources, consider hiring an outside consultancy to take the reins on content strategy. By outsourcing, you can free up your employees to focus on mission-critical work while you spotlight your business in new ways. A skilled partner can help you create and leverage content that not only speaks for itself but works integrally with other parts of your campaign, including SEO, PPC, paid social and more.
Step 4: Perform a Content Audit
If you already have some sort of content marketing in place, you need to know what is and isn’t working before you try something new. Start by mapping your content schedule to your customer-buying cycle to understand its effectiveness more clearly. Which types of material performed well and which missed the mark?
By understanding the tactics that drew customers and converted leads into buyers, you can leverage those successes and expand them further as you carry them into new campaigns. Perhaps more important, you’ll be able to see the areas that failed to deliver the return on investment you expected, which helps you prioritize resource allocation moving forward.
Step 5: Choose the Right Content
The content you create should be curated for the self-storage industry. It needs to attract new renters and nurture current customer relationships. If you created an accurate renter persona, you should already know the high-level personality traits of your ideal customers. Use this knowledge to consider the kind of content with which they’d be most likely to engage.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the industry for years, blog posts are a great way to go. When optimized for SEO, they can be inexpensive yet powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. Optimization means using keywords, links and images that are relevant to your online audience, including geographical locations.
In addition to blog posts, other types of content you can create include:
- Email newsletters
Step 6: Create an Editorial Calendar
Content marketing only works if you stick with it. It isn’t enough to create one incredible blog post and call it a day. An editorial calendar is a simple tool that can help you stay on track and ensure consistency. That said, building a calendar can be a complex, time-consuming task if you’re managing the entire thing on your own. Thankfully, a content-management system (CMS) can take care of the legwork for you.
A powerful, user-friendly CMS is the not-so-secret trick behind any good, high-converting website. It allows you to create, edit and produce every kind of digital content imaginable and share it with your target audience exactly when and where you know they’ll be listening.
A CMS can automate most, if not all, of your calendar. Most of these platforms also allow you to create and schedule posts in advance.
This is another benefit of outsourcing your content creation. If you work with a marketing consultant, you never have to worry about running up against a deadline or hitting a bad case of writer’s block. You can rest assured you’ll always have a steady stream of diverse, well-balanced content that converts prospects to renters.
Step 7: Promote and Share Your Content
What’s a great way to get as many eyes on your self-storage content as possible? Share it across multiple platforms! By now, you should have a social media presence established for your business. Each time you create a new piece of content, share the link across those platforms and encourage your followers to do the same. Your CMS should have features that allow you to sync your posts across social sites so you can reach your target audience in a variety of ways.
The key is to reach as many people as possible at the most cost-effective rate. A marketing consultant can help you understand the different routes available and guide you toward the ones that make the most sense for your company’s vision, capacity and budget.
Step 8: Analyze and Assess
Once your content strategy has been in place for a while, it’s time to check its progress. You can use website tools like Google Analytics to measure and study the source of your traffic, but don’t stop there. Define which types of content are driving the most engagement and conversion based on your business goals. Which topics and tactics have proven to be the most popular with your self-storage audience?
Once you have these insights, share them across your self-storage operation so everyone understands the pivotal role content plays in your greater marketing strategy. Then, optimize your plans toward those high-performing content types to repeat that same success down the road.
You’ve heard it said that content is king. While that might be true, it’s only half the story. Effective self-storage content is strategic, well-planned and intentional. It’s designed with your target audience in mind and caters to their needs and interests at every turn.
Kimberly Robinson is the creative content manager for OpenTech Alliance Inc., a Phoenix-based provider of technology products and services including kiosks, a call center and access-control solutions. Kimberly is responsible for the creation and dissemination of engaging content to create a superior brand experience. With more than 12 years in marketing and communications and two in the self-storage industry, she offers design, copywriting and content-marketing expertise. To reach her, call 602.749.9370.