A quality content marketing strategy for small businesses is ideal for several reasons. Two of the most important, it establishes you and your business as an expert in the field and, the share worthiness nature of great content gives your business a further reach. You have probably already heard the buzz words ‘content marketing’ amongst your business associates, online networks and from marketers who preach about the value and benefit of content marketing.
So what is content marketing and what does it mean to businesses who would like to use this method of marketing? Think of content marketing as an alternative marketing avenue that reaches potential customers through blog posts, videos, podcasts, visual infographics, written interviews, photographs, ebooks among other medium types.
Although, content marketing can be challenging by way of spending lots of time, constantly being creative, developing new ideas of interest, consistently outputting new content and most importantly, producing content that is engaging and speaks volumes for your business and expertise, it can also deliver your latest information to your audience, customers and potential customers in the quickest possible time and directly to their inbox. Thus, making the challenge of content marketing worthwhile.
When you decide to take the plunge, the first thing you will want to begin with is researching and understanding your content marketing strategy. By this I mean, a thorough understanding of your industry, competition, target market, goal sets, and of course your own business.
In order to help you get started, here are some ideas on a good content marketing strategy for small businesses:
Content marketing is an essential element of successful online marketing and brand awareness. In order to maximise this, you have to get social by creating, establishing and actively utilising all your chosen social media channels.
Content needs to be shared and wants to be shared if you are to make any impact on your business. The more your content is shared, the greater the reach and the bigger your audience becomes.
So, the first thing you will definitely want in place is your business’s social media accounts where you can broadcast your content. Secondly, your site should allow for easy sharing of the content by providing the most popular social media links. Lastly, engaging content will naturally increase chances of the content being shared, but at the same time, why not build social friends on the various platforms and encourage them to share too.
You and your content need to be share worthy!
The plan with content marketing is to frequently distribute valuable content that in turn establishes you and your business as the industry expert. The more niche, engaging and compelling your content, the more likely your content will be shared and will tremendously increase your exposure.
Content marketing comes in many forms, but whichever method you use be it text posts or visuals, podcasts or videos, it has got to deliver an expert view from yourself which ultimately benefits the reader, listener and viewer. Sure, your content can deliver some instances of fun and humour, but remember, whatever you put out there will reflect on your business.
Therefore, your content must be well researched, beautifully crafted and remarkably engaging to get the best out of your content marketing strategy.
The strength of any creative content marketing effort comes from the execution of the best possible idea combined with the best possible content. As previously mentioned, content comes in many forms and each type is best determined by who the target audience is, where it’s being distributed, the type of message being delivered and what kind of reaction you want to gain.
One of the most common and highly effective type of content marketing is blog posts that educate and inform the audience about ’how to’ do something. ’How to’ posts that are well crafted with a mix of text and images or video, tend to get a lot of traffic as they often get naturally shared and searched for.
The most important thing to remember is to continuously create great content about your chosen topic and expertise. The majority of the content on your blog should be about your expert topic so that you may prove yourself as knowledgeable and trustworthy in that field. For example, if you’re a Business Coach then you should be talking about business growth, company culture, team building, better planning and so on.
Every now and then, you should write content that may not necessarily be your speciality or may be something controversial, but is associated to the industry. Firstly, this would enable your blog to attract an audience from a cross section of people who may not have found you otherwise. And secondly, this content may be shared even more so due to its worthiness.
Other Popular Content Mediums
If you like talking more than writing, then podcasts might be your forte. Nevertheless, the same principles apply, talk about your niche topic or your speciality and extend you spoken knowledge to your audience. Video blogging would share similar sentiments.
Create podcasts on a regular basis by producing new content week after week and you will soon be building a great audience around your spoken word. Soon, your listeners will be anticipating your next podcast release and subscribing to your blog and newsletters.
For video blogs and podcasts, I would suggest adding a paragraph or two about that particular work with any links that may offer the audience more on your other productions. Also, it’s advisable to add a transcript of the production on the page as it makes it accessible to everyone.
Get permission to deliver the latest content
One of the most important elements and super ideas of a content marketing strategy is to obtain permission from your audience to deliver content to them as soon as it’s published.
Your readership should be kept abreast of all your latest content for they are the one’s you are writing this content in the first place. Offer them subscribing options such as an RSS feed or via email. You need to make it easy for them to do so by designing a visible area with the subscription facility at the top right of your blog or at least, somewhere within the top third of your blog page.
It’s hard to gauge the true value of your blog without growing a database of your loyal readership. Monitoring the number of subscribers will help you set goals towards achieving a bigger number, and in a sense, will also give you an idea of the worthiness of your content.
Create conversation through Auto-responders
An auto-responder is a fantastic tool to open up conversation between you and your subscriber. This should be an essential part of your content marketing strategy and each one should be crafted with intent. The intention being, giving the subscriber valuable information to take away and immediately benefit from it.
Some of the key points auto-responders should include; a courteous thank you note for subscribing and a brief introduction to yourself, offering a helping hand should they need one, ask for feedback, and most importantly, ask questions to learn more about your subscribers.
Whatever you think might benefit the subscriber which in turn brings you insight, you should include in the auto-responder. These auto-responders should ideally be a series of emails spread over 10 to 14 days that unveil a little more information each time the subscriber receives one.
Remember, you’re informing not selling. Do not start selling your services and products from the very first email the subscriber receives. Care about what you say to them, educate and inform them with knowledge they feel happy reading about and which they might share with others. Make them trust you by building their confidence in you and only after that, you can offer them a bit more of your service by way of salesmanship if that is your intention.
Give value first, promotion second
A bonafide content marketing strategy starts by ’giving’ great content to your audience which they absolutely ’want’. These two words ’give’ and ’want’ should help devise your strategy through delivering compelling content consistently. Then only, comes promotion.
I’m not saying that you should give no priority to your promotional intentions, but the point I’d like to put across is to create a remarkable reason for your audience to take up on the promotions when you make them available.
Why I say this?… think about it. If up to now you haven’t ‘given’ or offered any information (at least in the eyes of the readers) that anyone has benefitted from, then why would they want to purchase anything from you now?
The truth is that through your quality content marketing strategy, you will know exactly what your audience ‘wants’ and that is what you should give them. If readers are happy with all the value you’re offering, promotions will become easier to place within your strategy.
So here goes, 90% of your content marketing strategy should be made up of fantastic content delivered to your audience for their insight, benefit and knowledge. 10% promotion of your expertise to monetise on the 90% ‘giving’ you have done so far.
This is quite an amazing way of creating brand awareness, showcasing both expertise and benefits, distribution of a thought process which could be unachievable any other way, and most crucially, the building of a community which absolutely love your content who are waiting for you to publish your next piece.
Now that for me is the most powerful. ‘Giving’ to a community who is waiting to hear more!
Do you have some tips on a content marketing strategy? Perhaps a success story you’d like to share?