One of the most effective, low-cost ways to drive traffic and build awareness for your business is through content marketing.
Content Marketing is creating and distributing relevant content to attract, acquire, and engage your target audience.
Content marketing spans many different types of content: text, images, blogs, emails, videos, social content. So from publishing status updates on facebook and twitter, to writing compelling blog posts and posting videos on YouTube, these are all forms of content marketing.
The evolution of content expectations
Content marketing has become more relevant to smaller businesses over the last few years. There was a time when you created your website, laboured over the messages and content, published your website and made updates every now and again. With the introduction of blogging and social media, creating and publishing content is a daily requirement for most businesses. The expectations of google have changed, google likes to see you publishing regular quality content, this will help to improve rankings and drive traffic to your website. And crucially the expectations of your customers have changed, they too will and expect to engage with regular posts of relevant content, this will help to increase conversion rates and retain customer loyalty.
Here are 12 useful tips on content marketing for small businesses:
- Whether you’re a big or small business, content is essential for growing your company. If you’re not creating content on the web, you aren’t as visible as those that are. Consumers expect to find information about the things they need online and when they already know about a company, it’s even more important to provide useful content to answer questions.
- Embrace that you’re a publisher. Have an editorial calendar so you know what you’re publishing next. Be strategic and plan it out.
- Who are your customers? Step back from google and Facebook and create customer loyalty, what do they really want? why you doing it, don’t do it for Google or SEO, do it for your customers.
- Measure visitor behaviour. Monitor google analytics and measure the impact of your content creation, this way you can find out what your customers want to read.
- Get your house in order. Make sure you have a website. Every social network is rented land and you’ll need somewhere to send people. Also have a social media presence – Facebook is a necessity.
- What’s your story? Everyone has a story. Whether it’s about cup cakes or cars, there’s a story. Think about what your company stands for. What is your business passionate about? How does your story fit within all the content you’re planning and publishing for your company?
Time management, Self-reflection and Goals:
- No one has enough time or money. At least that’s what most people say about content. Make time! Content is instrumental for growing your business. Be clever about your time and find some for content creation.
- Play to your strengths. As a small business owner, find out what you really enjoy as it relates to content creation and focus on that – whether it’s creating videos, writing articles or developing interactive experiences. Everyone is pressed for time, so find something you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to do it. Even when you don’t want to.
- Keep an eye on what others are doing. Look at what other companies in your space are doing. Learn from others. If you don’t have direct competitors, that spells opportunity for you. Look at other information sources that are related.
- Think long term. There are no quick sure fire solutions to content marketing. This is a long term game, if you start blogging don’t lose heart too quickly, try different approaches (not too different that you alienate any loyalty you do have), but be agile. Focus on getting better every day and do it for the long run.
- Always be consuming. If you only focus on creating and not consuming content, you’ll miss out on great insights, competitive information and learning. (I’d also add “always be interacting” because participation is a great inspiration for content ideas and engagement to grow your social network).
- Never stop listening. Use persistent search on Twitter or at least Google Alerts. When someone asks a question on social media where you could be the answer, it could be an opportunity to interact and probably turn those interactions into business.