We talk and write a lot about content or community marketing— using your expertise as dog trainers to educate your audience while subtly promoting your business. It’s an excellent strategy. While doing good, you’re also using marketing that’s more effective, often less expensive, and much less sales-y and uncomfortable if you’re a bit on the shy side about actively selling yourself.
Unfortunately this kind of marketing is time intensive. It’s not called content marketing for nothing—it’s all about generating content, and that means work. That’s where recycling comes in.
The 3X Rule
At dogbiz, we follow the 3X rule: Any content we generate must be used at least three times. It takes a lot of time and energy to create a written piece or a presentation, so we try to get the most use from each effort. Recycling allows you to get more marketing done for nearly the same amount of work. This article, for example, began it’s life as an article for a professional journal. The ideas written here will no doubt make it into a PowerPoint presentation. And maybe we’ll parcel out some tips to post to our Facebook page, too.
Here are some ideas for recycling your own marketing content:
Put Pen To Paper
Most dog trainers have a lot to say about dogs, dog behavior, and training. If you have some writing skill, think about putting some of your thoughts together into an article. Perhaps about puppy socialization or understanding and normalizing aggressive displays or how to choose a trainer or teach your dog to be more focused on you. Dog walkers, you have things to say about how and where best to enjoy weekend warrior walks, the various humane anti-pull devices available, the most effective trail treats, and so on. Choose your topic and offer an article to a local paper or magazine.
Then give your content multiple lives:
- Reprint the article in a future email or print newsletter—or both.
- Simplify the content into a branded tip sheet to share via veterinarians, pet supply stores, daycares, and grooming shops. You can give it to private clients and class students, too.
- Break the article into several shorter blog posts to publish over multiple weeks.
- Post a teaser line or two and a link to each blog post on your Facebook page, and/or send out a tweet.
- Expand your article into an e-book to offer on your website.
- Turn your e-book into a PowerPoint presentation.
Take A Stand
If you’re more comfortable sharing your thoughts about dogs and dog training verbally, create a rich presentation using pictures, images, and video. Reading body language is a great topic for dog trainers, or maybe a little canine myth busting. Or you might put together a presentation on how dogs learn and the implications for how we interact with them. Dog daycare operators and dog walkers, you might consider a “Day In The Life” presentation highlighting all the fun and challenges you and the dogs face on a typical day.
Then use your presentation to educate and get in front of multiple audiences:
- Work with a shelter or rescue group to put on a public talk to raise funds for their organization.
- Publish any video clips you use on your YouTube channel (or use them to start one), and post them on your website.
Trainers, here are some additional outlets for sharing your expertise:
- Offer vets a lunch-and-learn opportunity for their staff. You bring the pizza and the PowerPoint.
- Daycare staff are another perfect target to benefit from your expertise. Offer your local daycares a chance to bring their people together for some free training.
- Don’t forget shelter and rescue staff, as well as volunteers and foster parents. And in return for the free advice, ask them to send those tip sheets you’ve been creating from your articles home with their adopters.
Use Client-Generated Content
Collect the questions clients ask via social media and email—and the answers you write. Turn those answers into content:
- Create or add them to an existing FAQ page on your website.
- Edit as needed for blog posts. (Then see above for recycling from there.)
Also make the most of testimonials and reviews:
- Put them on your website. If you have enough, create a whole page of them. Either way, be sure to sprinkle short excerpts throughout your site, especially on your home, about, and service pages.
- Include these short excerpts in other marketing material, including traditional print pieces like brochures as well as content pieces like newsletters.
- Say thank-you for testimonials and reviews via social media.
Generate Your Own Client Content
Ask clients if you can share their success stories. Write up a training narrative that spins a before-and-after tale and how they made their way from the before (hyper, distracted dog or growling over the food bowl) to after (calm, focused family member or dog who wags and drools at the opportunity to share her bowl). Or tell a story about the power of regular exercise via daycare or walking (the hyper, impossible-to-live-with dog transformed into a cuddly, calm couch potato).
Then publish that story in multiple places, with pictures showing a happy dog and happy clients:
- As a story in your email or print newsletter.
- As a blog post.
- As a client case study on your website.
- Share a short summary via Facebook or other social media that leads to the page on your site.
Marketing can feel overwhelming. Especially when your real love is working with dogs, not running a business. But when you get in the habit of recycling content, it’s all a bit less daunting. Committing to just one project per quarter and then transforming that content into multiple iterations can increase your marketing output—and client input—drastically.