Publishing quality content is a great way to support your lead generation tactics, develop a magnetic presence online and give the user more reason to reach out, connect and ultimately convert more prospects into clients. However the series of actions needed to achieve this increase in targeted clients: planning, creating and distributing content can be overwhelming for many small businesses who have limited resources.
With the right plan and commitment, a prominent and effective content marketing plan is possible for all small businesses. By following these keys you can put content marketing to work for your small business growth.
1. Clarify your budget.
Yes, you are going to need a budget. It might not be monetary but you will need to commit resources to it, whether that’s your time or a percentage of your workforce’s time. Perhaps include producing one piece of content per month per employee into their contracts. If you have ten employees then suddenly you have 10 pieces of content each and every month!
Setting a clear budget for content will help you spend your marketing budget wisely and narrow in on the techniques that will be most effective for your business.
How much should you spend on content marketing? According to a recent survey from econsultancy*, companies surveyed are spending 36% percent of their total marketing budgets on digital. While according to the content marketing institute report**, B2B marketers dedicate approximately 26% of their total budgets to content marketing initiatives.
Do you have a content marketing budget? How much do you commit?
Of course there is no hard and fast rule as to what a business should spend as ultimately it comes down to what you are looking to achieve from your online marketing initiatives. But having a clear figure in mind before you start developing content in house or looking to outside providers can help you stay focused and spend wisely.
2. Know your customer.
Your content marketing has to be customer-centric to be effective. Content marketing isn’t a promotional brochure. It’s a way to connect with your audience and help them solve their problems while building a relationship of trust and positioning yourself as the go to business when they need you.
Your goal with content is to provide the information that your customers are looking for that helps them satisfy their needs in a way that is attractive to them.
For example, if your customer does a search for “Vintage Cars” and you have developed and published an article titled “5 Things to Look For in Vintage Cars” that is ranked highly in the search engine results pages, they find your article easily, read it and are impressed with your expert insight. They explore your site and sign up to the exclusive glossy 12 page Magazine on the 1955 Mercedes Gullwing. They then receive your weekly newsletter with more informative articles and regular special offers on vintage cars. Then they fall in love with 1965 Aston Martin DB5 and they become a business partner.
Apply the same strategy to your own business. Figure out what your customers need to know, what they want to know and create content that addresses those needs.
3. Repurpose the content you create.
One article on one site is not content marketing. In order to reach as many targeted user as possible you need those users to find you wherever they may go.
The same 12 page Glossy Magazine that was used to entice people to give you their email address and contact details can be broken down into 10 different articles that can be posted on 10 different sites.
Now along with the original article you have 11 other articles pointing back to your site and attracting users from all over the web. Use the images that are inside the glossy presentation and record sound over them, of you reading the information that was in the magazine and then publish this on video sites such as YouTube or Vimeo and post them on Facebook.
One piece of great content can go a long way. By investing in great content you are giving your marketing department fuel to create more and more interesting and inspiring pieces to attract people back to your business.
4. Curate cleverly
Many people will follow you as they see you as someone who is interesting with relation to a certain topic or field. Therefore it is better to supply quality content with relation to that field than not supplying any content.
Rather than your followers or readers migrating to other sites to find good content bring the content to them. If there are great articles, videos or blog posts that you find interesting and are related to your field then share them.
By sharing other content and adding your own take on it, people get an insight into what makes you tick and gives the reader an opportunity to connect with you.
Don’t send so much varied content that you start to make your audience forget why they followed you in the first place. Your audience should know what to expect and trust from you and the content should be worth them spending their time consuming.
5. Promote your content with social media.
A piece of online content cannot be GREAT unless it gets consumed, liked and shared.
Content marketing and social media go hand in hand. You need to support your content marketing plan with regular social media usage.
The promotion of your content is just as important as the content creation. Every time you publish an item you need to mobilise your brand evangelists to passionately share the content for you. But you need to be proud of the content and be willing to share through the social media and digital spectrum.
The more eyeballs that see your content, the greater the chance of someone following through and connecting.
Develop a following on Twitter and Facebook, Google+ Linkedin, and then update your fans and followers when you post new content. Constantly look for opportunities to post your content on additional sites or providing articles or guest posts to niche related sites.
Small businesses are using content marketing to support multiple business goals, brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention. Get clear on what your customer wants to know and then publish, curate and share great content that will market your business for you.