If you want to be successful in self-storage or any other business, establishing thought leadership is essential. Growth happens when you position your business as an industry expert and provide the relevant information buyers need. As you strengthen your operations and expand your local presence, what you say along the way matters. With the right content, you can showcase your expertise, build your credibility, attract the right kind of customers, and create a rental-generating machine.
Let’s explore why a content strategy is essential to marketing your self-storage facility. I’m going to provide you with eight easy steps you can follow to create and execute a plan that works. These will allow you to use your existing knowledge and skills to connect with target audiences, increase rentals and take your brand to the next level.
What is a content strategy and why it matters
In short, content marketing is the use of different types of content 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’s journey. More content means a greater opportunity to engage and convert leads. An effective strategy should support all of your marketing channels to help drive rentals and rates.
Content marketing helps you reach new self-storage leads and retain existing customers. It’s a cheap yet effective way to stand out in your market and get more attention on your website, social media pages, and other marketing materials. This kind of visibility is an important part of establishing your brand’s presence, and especially essential for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Google rewards websites that consistently deliver strong, useful content to readers. If you can answer a question, provide sound advice, or create a helpful tool for your audience, you’re that much closer to attracting organic traffic and generating long-term leads. With these core content elements 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 every self-storage business is unique, let’s take a look at eight basic steps any facility operator can take to build a successful content marketing strategy.
Step 1: Define 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 is your endgame? Do you want to find new prospects? Educate the community? Build relationships with existing customers? Drive traffic to your site? Generate interest in a charity event or cause? There are many possibilities.
Once you know your goals, combine them into a comprehensive mission statement to guide your strategy going forward. Check 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 tenant persona
Every good writer follows this important rule: Know your audience. This applies whether you are a fiction writer, a true crime novelist, or a commercial content creator. The material you produce must appeal to people who are genuinely interested in self-storage solutions. Although it may seem ideal to attract everybody, universally engaging content is usually too generic to be actionable. You need to know the person you are selling to!
Think about your ideal self-storage rental company. What are their unique motivators and deterrents? Where do they live and what kind of services do they need? How do they find and interact with your business? Answering these types of questions helps you create a buyer persona that you can direct your content to. Just keep in mind that this character may change over time. With regular market research, you can ensure that you are always catering to the right clientele.
Step 3: Establish team resources
Who is currently responsible for creating content in your self-storage organization? Depending on your goals, is this person or team enough to take your marketing strategy to the next level, or will you need to grow to some extent?
In addition to ensuring sufficient internal resources, consider hiring an external consulting firm to take the reins of content strategy. By outsourcing, you can free up your employees to focus on essential work while showcasing your business in new ways. A qualified partner can help you create and operate content that not only speaks for itself, but works integrally with other parts of your campaign, including SEO, PPC, paid social media, and more.
Step 4: Perform a content audit
If you have some kind of content marketing in place before, you need to know what works and what doesn’t before trying anything new. Start by mapping your content calendar to your customer buying cycle to more clearly understand its effectiveness. Which types of hardware performed well and which missed the mark?
By understanding the tactics that attracted customers and converted prospects into buyers, you can build on those successes and expand them further as you translate them into new campaigns. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to see areas that didn’t deliver the ROI you expected, helping you prioritize resource allocation going forward.
Step 5: Choose the right content
The content you create should be curated for the self-storage industry. He must attract new tenants and maintain relationships with current customers. If you’ve created a specific tenant persona, you should already know the high-level personality traits of your ideal customers. Use this knowledge to determine the type of content they would be most likely to engage with.
Whether you’re just starting out or have 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 is about using keywords, links, and images that are relevant to your online audience, including geographic locations.
In addition to blog posts, you can create other types of content:
- Electronic books
- white papers
- Email newsletters
Step 6: Create an editorial calendar
Content marketing only works if you stick with it. It’s not enough to create an amazing 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, creating a calendar can be a complex and time-consuming task if you manage the whole thing yourself. Fortunately, a content management system (CMS) can take care of the legwork for you.
A powerful and user-friendly CMS is the not-so-secret trick behind any good high-converting website. It allows you to create, edit and produce any type of digital content imaginable and share it with your target audience exactly when and where you know they will listen.
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 meeting a deadline or hitting a bad case of writer’s block. You can rest assured that you will always have a steady stream of diverse and well-rounded content that converts prospects into tenants.
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 on multiple platforms! By now you should have established a social media presence for your business. Whenever you create new content, share the link on these platforms and encourage your followers to do the same. Your CMS should have features that allow you to sync your posts to social sites so you can reach your target audience in different 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 avenues available and guide you to the ones that best suit your company’s vision, capacity and budget.
Step 8: Analyze and Evaluate
Once your content strategy has been in place for a while, it’s time to check on 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 the types of content that drive the most engagement and conversion based on your business goals. What topics and tactics have proven most popular with your self-storage audience?
Once you have this information, share it in your self-storage operation so everyone understands the central role content plays in your overall marketing strategy. Then, optimize your plans toward these high-performing content types to repeat the same success down the road.
You’ve heard that content is king. While that may be true, that’s only half the story. Effective self-storage content is strategic, well-planned, and intentional. It is designed with your target audience in mind and caters to their needs and interests at every turn.
Kimberly Robinson is the Creative Content Manager of OpenTech Alliance Inc., a Phoenix-based provider of technology products and services, including kiosks, call center and access control solutions. Kimberly is responsible for creating and delivering engaging content to create a superior brand experience. With over 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.