Are you a small business owner that wants a cost-effective way to build brand awareness and get more eyeballs on your website?
Content marketing may be the solution you’re looking for.
When employing a content marketing strategy, your business will create and distribute valuable content to attract and engage your ideal customers. Content marketing for small business can include assets such as blogs, tutorials, Q&As, photos and videos, among others. When creating content, remember to look toward your team. Put faces to your brand name (consumers prefer interacting with people versus brands) and you’ll soon understand how your business benefits from first-hand narratives from your staff and leadership.
In general, content marketing for small business will not look the same as it does for larger companies and big brands. This is okay! A small business actually has a few advantages when it comes to content marketing.
In most cases employees and the people creating the content will be more educated about the business and better able to tout its benefits on a more personal level, which makes it easier to connect with customers in meaningful ways. These connections can turn into leads. Content marketing generates about 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.
Still not convinced? Check out these stats from Kapost’s roundup of content marketing facts:
- 70% of customers prefer learning about a company through articles rather than advertisements.
- 60% of customers say they feel better about companies that deliver custom content and are more likely to buy from those companies.
- Inbound marketing can save brands over $14 for every new customer.
- An inbound marketing strategy can double website conversion rates, from 6% to 12%.
Content marketing for small business obviously has benefits, but it also comes with a unique set of challenges. For example, in 2014 small business marketers cited lack of time and an inability to produce enough engaging content among the barriers to creating effective content marketing programs.
It’s true that big businesses often have teams of employees to handle content creation and distribution, which allows them to churn out a high volume of content assets. A small business may only have a single team member to handle these tasks or may need to seek out a content creation freelancer or agency. While this may seem like a disadvantage, it’s important to remember that not every business that does content marketing does it well. A business of any size can fail at content marketing, but a business of any size can also succeed at content marketing. This means that your small business has the ability to knock the big boys out of the water with your content and messaging.
Ready to get your content marketing program in place? Here are four tips to guide your success with content marketing for small business.
Learn more about your audience.
The best way to create content that your audience will respond to is by understanding what makes them tick. Guesswork doesn’t have any place in content marketing. All your decisions should be based on actual data and research. You can conduct focus groups, send your customers surveys, or gather information online. You’ll want to learn about your audience’s motivations, goals, business needs, pain points, and any other information that will help you better understand how to sell to them. Once you understand your audience you’ll be better equipped to create content they’ll actually care about and want to share.
Don’t fly by the seat of your pants when brainstorming and writing content. Create a content marketing calendar and put together a content marketing plan. These assets give you a roadmap to follow and help you avoid gaps in your publishing schedule when you feel a bout of writer’s block coming on.
Optimize for search.
While content should always be written for people, it’s also important to think about how search engines will find and understand your content. You can start by researching relevant keywords (including long-tail keywords) and considering how they fit into your overall strategy. (Also take into account how your customers will be searching for your business and products and create content that matches these terms.) Include your keywords in titles, headings, body copy, and even file names – but remember to avoid keyword stuffing. Your keywords should be incorporated organically into your content, not just shoved in at every opportunity. If it “sounds” wrong to a human reader, you’ll likely get a negative result from search engines as well. Remember: humans first, search engines second.
Understand your distribution channels.
After your content is created and published, it needs to be distributed. Whether you plan to post your content on social media, share it on forums, or send it out through an email newsletter, it’s important to understand the rules behind your chosen distribution channel. Each distribution channel will have its own nuances and you’ll need to change up your promotional copy for each network. (For example, what works on Twitter won’t work in your email campaign.) Take some time to hang out on these channels for a bit and get a feel for how the community talks with each other before you post anything.
Content marketing has become a new requirement for small businesses, particularly in today’s world where consumers are turning away from traditional advertisements. Content marketing for small business works by consistently creating relevant content that engages customers and inspires them to share (and buy).
Content marketing is hard work and requires an investment, but it is one of the most effective ways for small businesses to compete with their larger peers.