Content marketing is the way of the future for small business. Gone are the days of blatant and incessant advertising; now, the best and most effective type of marketing for small business is all about content.
Content marketing refers to the process of creating relevant, valuable, interesting and/or useful content for a clearly defined target audience. All content has the aim of attracting and engaging this audience, with a view to driving customer action.
The ‘content’ part of content marketing refers to anything from blog posts and articles to posts on social media accounts. And whatever type of small business you’re running, you have the potential to reach a wide and engaged audience through successful content marketing.
There’s a lot to consider in this field, so let’s get started by taking a look at five tips for effective small business content marketing.
- Set yourself some goals.
The first thing you need to do when approaching content marketing is decide what you want to achieve. How do you want to use content marketing to your business’ advantage? Do you want to create a loyal online following? Do you want to encourage word-of-mouth advertising? Do you want to boost website hits or sales?
Whatever your goals, ensure they are clearly defined, noted down and understood by everyone on the team. These goals will play a key role in the development and maintenance of your content marketing plan (which we’ll delve further into below).
- Choose your platforms wisely.
The next step is to consider which platforms you’ll be using for your content marketing. It’s unwise to attempt to have a presence on every single platform. There are far too many social media sites nowadays for any one business to have an active, effective presence across all of them. Furthermore, if you attempt to do this, you’re likely to be spending more time on your content marketing than anything else just trying to keep up.
Instead, you should select and focus on just a few platforms, at least to begin with. We recommend that all businesses start a blog, as it’s a great way to deliver valuable content; you should also choose one or two social media platforms through which you can connect with your target audience (more on this below).
- Develop a content marketing plan.
No business activity should be undertaken without a plan, and content marketing is no different. Before you launch into creating content, you’ll need to develop a solid, well-considered content marketing plan.
Incorporating the goals you’ve already defined, your plan should involve the following components:
- Details of your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your content marketing? What are their likes, dislikes, wants and needs? How can you respond to and provide these things through your content?
- A brainstormed list of ideas for possible topics and posts.
- A schedule you can stick to throughout the development and implementation of your content marketing. This can involve a future plan for which platforms to post on, when, and what you’ll be posting.
- Consider your skills and those of your team.
Once you’ve got your goals, your platforms and your plans in place, it’s time to consider the skills you’ll need for successful content marketing. Not only will you need great communicators, you’ll also need people who understand how to create persuasive, engaging and user-friendly content.
Writers, graphic designers and digital experts are all key players when it comes to content marketing. If your small business doesn’t have anyone who fits these descriptions, consider hiring some external help, at least in the beginning to help you get set up and learn the basics.
- Review your content to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Once your content marketing plan is up and running, it’s time to evaluate its success. After you’ve posted a good amount of content, review, analyse and evaluate the response it’s gained from your target audience.
Did they respond well with likes, shares, follows and website visits? Were there posts that got more traction than others? Use your findings to determine which kinds of content work best for your business.
Good luck on your content marketing journey!