Do you want to double-down on content marketing for your small business? Small teams need to find creative ways to work smarter, not harder. A quality versus quantity approach might be your best strategy for content marketing.
When it comes to blogging, many small businesses fall into one of two categories. Some businesses believe adding an occasional news announcement will increase customer engagement. Others think a business blog requires a continuous stream of "10 Ways to do XYZ" articles. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creating content is challenging for small businesses, but learning how to write great content produces long-lasting results.
Keep reading to learn sensible small business content marketing strategies and key reasons to invest in your blog.
What is Small Business Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
"a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action."
The basic steps of content marketing: (1) create, (2) promote, and (3) measure. You create and share valuable educational content. This attracts and converts prospects into customers. Then you make adjustments to your strategy based on feedback.
Content comes in many forms:
Articles & Blog Posts
As a small business, you do not need to create every type of content. Take a common sense approach — start by focusing on the format that is easiest for you and your team. Do you like to write? Create blogs for your website (tip: a CMS platform like Squarespace makes this easy). Or do you already have outstanding videos? Develop a YouTube channel.
Add in new forms of content as time, staff expertise, or your budget allows.
After you've created super useful content, you need to get it in front of your ideal customers. Don't chase down every marketing channel. You can start by using your current social media profiles or email newsletter. And if you focus on blogging for SEO, your content will get discovered organically in search results.
Measure results & refine
Analytics will show you which topics resonate with your audience, how people access your content, and where to promote your brand. Make adjustments to your approach based on what works best.
How Content Marketing Helps Grow Your Business:
Drive web traffic. Fresh content helps to drives traffic by giving you something to share with your audience.
Build brand awareness. Content gives your network a natural way to introduce your business to new audiences.
Create customer loyalty. Existing customers enjoy useful content and it keeps your business top of mind.
Establish industry reputation. When you share your knowledge, people come to view you as a leader in your field.
Generate leads. Content marketing can be an excellent source of conversions.
Content Marketing Truths your small business needs to understand:
1. You can succeed even if your competitors have a bigger brand reputation online.
It's not the small business with the largest content catalogue who wins — it's the marketer with the most helpful content. Take a look at your competitor's content and make sure your articles and blog posts are twice as good. Customers will go where they find the best help, so make sure your content is overflowing with information potential buyers can use. Quality will beat quantity.
2. Content marketing isn't a short-term game.
You can't create a content campaign and expect to see significant ROI in a short period of time. In the same way that it takes a long time to earn the brand loyalty of customers, it takes time to build your online reputation through content distribution. Slow and steady will win the race — just be consistent with quality content.
3. You won't get to the first page of Google via lousy blog content.
Keyword stuffing died a long time ago. The only way your content will drive significant traffic to your site is if online readers find value in what you share. Do not throw together a post or video just to say you’ve created content. When you focus on wowing your audience, search engine traffic will follow.
4. Your small business needs a defined content strategy.
An army would never go into battle without a clearly defined strategy. The same truth holds true for content marketing. Attempting to build a brand without a content strategy is a fool's errand. Define your goals and devise a plan — anything less will result in mediocre results at best. (Scroll down for more on developing a content strategy.)
5. You will become more effective when you change the way you think about content creation.
Your job isn't to sell your products or services. Your job is to assist customers in their buying journey. Developing content and blogging from your customer's standpoint will help your ROI significantly increase.
6. Content marketing provides a big return on a small investment.
Did you know you can hire someone to write content for you? And it can still be less expensive than other forms of advertising. Quality "evergreen" content can have a positive impact on your business for many years. Content marketing is a budget-friendly way for small businesses to get big results.
Develop a Content Strategy:
Strategy will guide your small business on what content to create and how best to allocate your resources. According to Moz:
"Content strategy concerns itself with the vision—the ins and outs of how and why your content will be created, managed, and eventually archived or updated. It looks at all of the content your customers ever encounter. It overlaps with content marketing."
Your content strategy outline will address the following:
Why you are producing content? What differentiates your brand?
Who is your ideal audience? How do they make buying decisions? What are their pain points? What are their preferred methods of communication?
What format will you use to create content?
How you will promote your content? What platforms will you use?
And how you will measure your efforts? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) might include traffic volume, engagement, and goal completions. Try measuring content by its desired purpose. If your purpose is sales, are you performing well there? If your purpose is brand awareness, evaluate the amount of time site visitors spend on the page.
As you answer the above questions, document your strategy. A documented strategy simplifies your business. As you review progress, you learn who your audience is, what they’re interested in, and how best to serve them.
Benefits of Content Marketing and Blogging for small businesses:
Should your small business invest in content marketing? Probably. Recent research gives us the following stats:
Small business websites with a blog see 126% more lead growth than those without a blog.
Content marketing generates 3x times the leads of paid search for every dollar spent.
Inbound marketing costs 62% less that outbound marketing — and it brings in over 3x times as many leads.
Content marketing has conversion rates 6x higher than traditional marketing methods.
If you think your small business will see an increase in sales after just a few months of blogging or other forms of content marketing, you will be disappointed. The path to increased profits will be long, but the journey will be worth it. Content outreach has plenty of benefits, from improved search engine optimization to better brand reputation. Focus on your customers and your content creation efforts will be rewarded!
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