By our partners at .us domains
The “content is king” adage isn’t going away anytime soon, and there’s a good reason for that – content marketing works! Large corporations and hot tech startups leverage this marketing approach often. But small business owners can benefit just as much, if not more, from content marketing efforts.
What is content marketing exactly?
Content marketing is a category of marketing that focuses on the creation and distribution of quality and relevant content. Think of it as a way to connect with your customers in an authentic and relevant medium, to form a genuine relationship. You are offering your customers value, perhaps solving a problem they may have and you’re making a lasting connection in the process. Interested? Read on to discover industry insider tips from our partners at .us domains, and get this strategy working for you.
When starting a content strategy, focus your attention on your immediate products and services. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or conduct massive hours of research. Think about what you do every day, knowledge that may seem second nature to you could be very valuable to your target audience.
Let’s say you’re a local pie company. A great idea is to share quick blog recipes like “how to create an easy pie crust,” or “the perfect whipped frosting in under 10 minutes.”
What about a small social media agency? Create a cool infographic about “how to make your Instagram page look beautiful.”
Interior designers should consider creating a video series featuring instructions on simple ways to spruce up your home.
You get the idea. Strategic content empowers businesses to share their brand story, enlighten their audience and establish themselves as industry experts.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get started:
1) Keep content valuable and engaging.
Sit down and brainstorm ideas and blog topics that you can confidentially speak to as a small business owner. Think about educating your target audience and answering their most pressing questions. Quality blog content should position you as an expert in your field.
Plus, quality content written about your business, products and services, provide natural keyword relevancy to help boost your visibility in search rankings.
2) Go beyond the blog.
Create resources that can help you gather information about your customers. This might require more in-depth, specialized content like whitepapers, checklists, and guides that can help your audience learn more about your industry, company, and services.
Also, think of going beyond the written word. Our smartphones have become great tools for recording high-definition quality video, so consider posting an instructional video to your website and/or social media channel. Give locals a video tour of your new brick-and-mortar. Again, get creative as video has become a dominant digital medium and an effective way to keep people engaged.
You don’t need to be a big company with a massive ad budget to create these resources. Small business owners often underestimate themselves. If you’re a local florist, for example, think of creating a seasonal gardening guide. If you’re a nutritionist, consider creating a keto recipe booklet. These helpful resources might entice your customers to trade in their contact information for your valuable, gated content (see more below).
* Because this type of content is more resource intensive, consider gating these resources behind a contact form so you can collect your customer’s names and contact information for email follow-up and building your newsletter list. This means, visitors will be required to enter the contact information in order to download your content.
3) Let the small business marketing campaigns begin.
Once you gather your leads’ information you can engage with them further, be it to alert them about a sale/deal, product launch, fundraiser, etc. For example, if you capture a customer’s email, you can store it in your customer database. Then, when it comes time to build a newsletter or e-mail marketing campaign, this customer will automatically be among the subscribers, and up to date on all your business has to offer, especially when it comes time for a sale.
As you create these emails, just be sure that each has one call to action that leads recipients back to your website to engage with you further or prompts them to schedule a call. A critical step for any email marketing campaign to work is to ensure you are sending from a business email account. This is not the time to leverage your @gmail or @hotmail personal address. If you haven’t already, secure your custom business email address with a domain as unique as you.
4) Bring your content to social media.
While blogs, whitepapers and videos will result in a resource-rich business website, you must also think of larger distribution. In addition to e-mail campaigns, look to social media as a great (and usually free) vehicle for sharing your small business content.
Post and share any new blogs or content pieces on your social channels to draw more eyes (and potential visitors) to your content-rich website.
5) Be consistent.
Whether you start small with a free blog or have a long-term plan of building up to a gated e-book or podcast series, make sure you’re consistent in the publishing, sharing and distribution of your content. In other words, don’t leave your audience hanging. Think of a packaged content series that covers a given topic in depth.
Also, as an entrepreneur, time management is everything. Allocate a set number of hours each week to content creation.
6) Be authentic.
Again, content marketing is an indirect form of advertising because it’s encouraging the business and the customer to form a connection beyond the transaction. As business owners we invest so much time to convince people to buy your product, but if we invest time and effort in educating and helping them to solve problems, overtime you’ll build greater brand loyalty, which is absolutely priceless for small business survival.