Small business content marketing has become a significant marketing channel for many successful small businesses. It is a must-have marketing channel as part of your marketing plan.
“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” - Seth Godin
I'm not sure I'd go as far as saying it's the only marketing that's left like Seth Godin, but I do agree that it is of utmost importance in any small business's marketing strategy.
You cannot maximize your small business marketing efforts today without a foundation built on search engine optimization, social media and content marketing. The three are intertwined and depend on one another to maximize success.
Let's make sure we are on the same page and define content marketing first.
Content Marketing is a marketing strategy focused on the creation, distribution, and sharing of information with an emphasis on helping and educating potential and current customers.
Content comes in many forms, but the most common types of content are:
- Articles/Blog Posts
- Case Studies
Whether you are knee deep into your small business content marketing strategy or you are just starting, the following tips will help your small business turbocharge your content marketing right now!
Done correctly content marketing is incredibly effective. Done wrong it can be a huge time drain with very little return.
1. You must have content for each stage of the customer journey.
What is the customer journey? It's the journey your customer experiences when dealing with your company from initial interest all the way to becoming a customer and beyond.
We follow and recommend the Duct Tape Marketing System for small business marketing where the customer journey is looked at as an hourglass.
You remember an hourglass...
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Think of the customer journey as sand in an hourglass. The customer starts at the top of the hourglass and moves all the way to the bottom.
There are 7 steps in the customer journey. At the top of the hourglass you have Know, Like, and Trust. In the middle is Try. At the bottom your have Buy, Repeat, and Refer. Here's what it looks like.
The content needs of a prospect and client are quite different depending on where they are in the hourglass (or journey).
For example, a person who is looking into a mobile application for their small business might look for the following information at the various steps of the customer journey.
- Know: What are the benefits of a mobile application for small businesses?
- Try: What features must be in your small business mobile application?
- Buy: How to be successful with your small business mobile application.
In order to effectively engage people with your content marketing, you must have content geared towards what they are looking for in the various steps of the customer journey.
2. Know your audience so you can pinpoint the correct content.
This tip piggybacks off of #1 above. It's critical to know everything you can about your audience in order to create content that will attract and engage them.
- What are their needs?
- Where do they need help the most?
- What are their biggest challenges related to your product or service?
- What are their goals?
- How can you best help them with the content you create?
- What form of content do they respond to the best?
Once you know your audience you can cater your content to meet their needs, wants, and desires which will make your content infinitely more effective.
3. Create a content calendar.
It's impossible to create a plan without first knowing where you are and where you want to go. Your content calendar will help you strategically map out the content you need to create and when it needs to be done so you stay on task at all times.
Content calendars come in all shapes and sizes. You need to pick one that makes the most sense to you and modify when necessary.
Check out The Best Way to Get Organized With a Content Marketing Editorial Calendar for some awesome resources. I'd be shocked if you don't find something you like in this article. My recommendation is to err on the side of simple. It's easy to over complicate things that don't need to be.
4. Your content must have Calls to Action.
You are creating content to educate, attract and engage prospects and clients. A critically important part of engagement is to create calls to action in all of your content marketing efforts.
Ask yourself, " what action do I want someone consuming my content to take? " Here's an example of a call to action we use in our business.
Calls to action typically come in the form of cheat sheets, ebooks, checklists, etc. Your goal is to exchange something of value for an email address. Once you have an email address you can focus on moving that prospect through the customer journey by continuing to educate, add value, and hopefully convert them to a customer.
You might have another objective other than collecting an email address with your content, which is completely fine. Just make sure you have calls to action in your content that encourage visitors to take the action you desire.
5. Create a systematic approach to content distribution & content promotion.
Unless you are an "influencer" odds are most people aren't flocking to your content. In order for your audience to grow you need to have a system in place for how you will distribute and promote your content.
Without a system or plan, your efforts will most likely be haphazard and inconsistent. Long term this is a recipe for failure.
Here are a few resources you might find helpful in creating your plan.
- 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content
- How to Promote Your Blog Posts for Absolutely Free
6. Focus your efforts on no more than 2 forms of content.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. We also have likes and dislikes. Choose content types you enjoy and are good at.
Many small businesses start out blogging and it's a great way to get into the content marketing game, but if you don't like to write then choose something else or pay somebody to write for you. Do you like shooting videos? How about podcasts?
There are many forms of content to choose from and you don't need to do them all. Start out slowly by choosing no more than two at the start. Once you have systems in place and feel good about your progress then you can branch out into other forms of content if you'd like.
The most important thing in the beginning is to pick something and stick with it. Content marketing without consistency will not work, so don't over commit yourself...stay focused.
7. Repurpose your content.
Repurposing content is simply recycling your existing content into new forms of content.
How can you repurpose content?
- It's a great way to get additional mileage out of the content you've already created.
- It can help you reach new audiences.
- It diversifies the types of content you have available.
- It's a great way to leverage your time and effort.
- Convert webinars into video tutorials.
- Combine multiple related blog posts into a guide or ebook.
- Convert Powerpoint presentations you've done into Slide decks.
- Transcribe audio interviews or podcasts into blog posts. Rev is a great service for this.
- Turn blog posts into podcasts.
- Turn blog posts into videos.
Looking for more ideas? These great articles have a host of ways you can repurpose your content:
Small business content marketing can be a little overwhelming at times, but it doesn't have to be.
Pick a couple forms of content you enjoy and run with it. Don't feel the need to jump into the latest content fad of the week...the tried and true forms of content like blogging and video are incredibly effective.
Keep these 7 tips in mind and work the system you create step by step. Have fun!
Did you find this helpful? Feel free to comment below and share.
Need more lead generation tips? Check out our entire Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.
Header image courtesy of Pixabay.