When developing a small business marketing strategy, placing a serious focus on content marketing is an absolute must if you want to create lasting relationships with customers, establish connections, improve sales, and grow your business’ bottom line.
Traditional marketing methods are quickly becoming outdated. Marketers today have started enjoying immense success making by the shift toward content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines this as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience… and, ultimately, to drive profitable action.”
In other words, content marketing involves creating content that helps a business’ target audience – i.e. its customers – solve problems they face daily.
Here are a few ways how your small business marketing strategy can successfully incorporate a content marketing strategy.
Develop high-quality content that ranks well on Google.
For the content you create to really resonate with your audience, it needs to be thought provoking and engaging enough to drive actions.
An engaged audience will stay invested in every word, digesting all that you say or write. But to reach this level of engagement, you need to:
- Leave your audience with questions. Ask simple questions about how your readers plans to act on the tips you’ve shared.
- Start with a promising and engaging introduction. Immediately capture your reader’s attention by hinting at what they’ll learn if they continue reading.
- Tell relatable stories. Human interaction greatly relies on feeling empathy towards each other. We’re far more likely to remember something when the information is presented in a story that speaks to something in which we can all relate.
If you develop content that ignites a flurry of comments, Google’s search algorithm will realize your post features not only engaging content but that the page is also being regularly updated. This type of regular traffic makes it far more likely that Google will index your site more frequently and improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Clearly identify your audience.
A content marketing strategy can only be effective if you clearly understand who your target audience is. Many small business owners believe they intrinsically “know” their audience, but experienced marketers understand that only through careful research can a business truly determine who it should be marketing towards.
Determining your target audience requires understanding their basic demographics and their interests. Comments left on your Facebook page, photos shared by your clients on Instagram, and Tweets that mention your business by name can all provide part of the picture of what best engages your audience and how you can better capture their attention.
Repurpose your content.
While Google places a high value on the creation of original, high-quality content, there’s still room for repurposing older content.
Unless you only produce evergreen content, older blog posts, videos, or infographics you’ve created typically contain valuable information that may only need a slight tweak or change to become relevant once again. In fact, the idea of repurposing and adapting your older content can actually help you better connect with different segments of your audience. Some people respond well to visual content like videos or infographics, while others prefer to digest information through in-depth blog posts or white papers. By adapting a great blog post into a short video or an infographic into part of a white paper, you offer the content you produce to your audience in the form they prefer.
Distribute and promote what you create.
All of the time, effort, and research that went into creating your latest blog post or video will go to waste if your audience never finds the content. A 2014 study from Altimeter found that while 53 percent of business owners understood they needed a content distribution strategy only 26 percent actually developed one.
No matter how great the content you produce, it won’t find an audience on its own. The Internet is a big place and your content will become easily lost unless you promote and distribute what you’ve created. Develop a plan for the when, where, and how you’ll promote your content.
Set realistic goals.
Many business owners fail to either establish or set realistic goals when it comes to the content marketing strategy. When pressed, some may simply say they hope the content will “increase sales.” However, rarely will one blog post, video, or infographic – no matter how great – single-handily boost your bottom line.
A better way to frame what content marketing can do for a business is to think about how it can grow your brand. Helping to increase leads, improve brand awareness, and retain customers are all far more realistic goals for a successful content marketing strategy. Not only are all of these facets important to the health of a business, they all contribute to improving long-term sales.
By thinking of content marketing as a means for enjoying steady growth rather than immediate short-term boosts in sales, you’ll have a far more accurate idea of what the strategy can do to help improve your business.