Nearly every type of business interested in success has developed some kind of content marketing strategy. At this point, content marketing has become widely adopted, with an estimated 94 percent or small businesses, 93 percent of B2Bs, and 77 percent of B2Cs having developed and implemented a strategy.
However, while most marketers recognize the value content marketing brings their business, they don’t necessarily always develop a successful strategy. This is especially true for small businesses venturing out on their own by trying to develop compelling content. Surveys have found that only 9 percent of B2B marketers believe their content strategies are “very effective,” which means that the vast majority of businesses are still trying to find the right path that will lead them to success.
If you think your small business is doing everything correctly with your content marketing strategy, only you’re still not generating the kind of results you’d like to see, you could be making an easily correctable mistake. Here are a few issues to keep in mind when trying to refine your content marketing strategy.
Refine Your Marketing Plan
A successful content marketing plan needs to outline exactly how you plan to get from point A to B. However, despite the logic behind creating a content marketing strategy, the majority of small businesses don’t have a specific plan in place for what to do with the content they create.
Here are a few ways you can start to develop a strategy:
Identify your metrics: Not only does a good content marketing strategy require you set goals, you also need a way to determine whether those goals have been met. Determine which metrics offer the most value to you in terms of click-through rates, conversions, shares, “likes”, traffic, and views, then carefully track those metrics over several months. Keep in mind that you need plenty of time to collect enough data to ensure the information you’re working with shows an accurate image of your campaign.
Evolve and adapt: Once you’ve collected some data about your most important metrics, you should have the information needed to adapt and evolve, based on what’s working best for your content strategy. Any aspect of your strategy that’s not providing the results you want should be scrapped, while those aspects meeting or exceeding your expectations should be reinforced.
Add your input: While you can hire a team like Local Fresh to help design your small business content marketing strategy, you still need to play a role in helping to devise the best strategy for your small business. No one knows your business better, and even if you’re not creating the content yourself, your input is invaluable in helping a team like Local Fresh create a winning marketing strategy that will enable your business to thrive.
Many small businesses follow the “if you create it, they will come” mantra when it comes to their content marketing strategy, falsely believing that the organic traffic generated by their content will automatically boost page views, conversions, and profits. Unfortunately, creating content is only the first step. The next is promoting what you’ve created. By forgetting to promote what you’ve created, you’re only completing the content side of content marketing.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can promote the content you’ve created. However, you still need to do some testing to determine what promotion strategies best meet your needs. Some small businesses find that email marketing offers a great way to generate interest in their blog or newsletter, while other small businesses focus on using social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to create buzz.
Don’t make the mistake of creating great content and then not promoting your material. If promotion isn’t a primary focus on your campaign, you need to readjust your approach and focus.
Develop Quality Content
Occasionally the real problem with a small business’ content marketing strategy is the quality of the content they create. There are many reasons why your content may be falling short of the level needed to attract business. Two of the most common reasons include:
You hired the cheapest writer available. Small businesses just starting their content marketing strategies often focus on saving money where they can. However, you can’t be surprised if hiring the cheapest writer you can find yields poor content that generates neither interest or conversions for your business. You get what you pay for, and paying a few pennies a word isn’t going to get you the type of high quality content needed to drive a successful content marketing strategy.
You don’t know what to write about. Most small business owners are experts in their respective industries. But just because you know your business inside and out doesn’t mean you naturally understand what areas you should focus on when developing content, especially if you have no experience as a content producer. Try developing topics and themes that best relate to your business and industry, and use your industry knowledge to create content on these subjects your target audience would find most interesting.
Set Realistic Goals
Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot realistically expect to see the results you want in a matter of weeks or even months. You need to give the content you create enough time to attract the attention required to generate organic traffic. If you can stay patient, you’ll eventually start to see the results you want.
You also need to maintain the right perspective and remain realistic. Your page views and unique visitors may not double or triple immediately. However, even a small increase can have a significant impact on your business’ bottom line. Don’t’ dismiss gradual improvements just because they aren’t the huge swing in numbers you were hoping for. Gradual improvement also leads to success.