Content Marketing for Small Business

April 21, 2015

Content Marketing for Small Business

Content marketing is a tactic that businesses are using more and more these days.

There’s a good reason for it too. With consumers becoming bombarded with messages, whether from television commercials, billboards, or online banner ads, it’s become a challenge for marketers to stand out from the crowd.

Not only that, traditional marketing has been mainly comprised of one-way conversations, the recipient only given the opportunity to receive, never reply. After a while, the average consumer starts to “tune out” these multiple, one-sided messages, leaving businesses scrambling to reach audiences in ways that not only gets their attention, but also makes them want more.

Thus, content marketing was born.

What is Content Marketing?

Simply put, content marketing is an engagement strategy that involves creating and sharing media in order to find and retain customers.

The media used can come in all kinds of forms, such as articles, web pages, pictures, videos, or music. Almost everything you see online, from editorial pieces to “how to make a cake” videos, is an example of content.

But whichever form of media you choose, there is one unbreakable rule: the message must be relevant and engaging to your audience. They must be able to “like”, share, and comment on content. This gives you a chance to respond, creating relationships and building loyalty as a result.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Content marketing should be an important part of your overall marketing plan. Unlike traditional advertising, it does a lot more than inform your audience about your products and services, so the benefits are unlike any other form of marketing.

Some of these benefits include:

Creates an audience

Providing regular, relevant content will build an audience that’s virtually yours alone.

Builds relationships

Your audience will be able to engage with you, and in turn, you will learn a lot about them. People prefer to deal with businesses that take the time to communicate with them.

Reaches far and wide at no cost

Start-ups can run whole marketing plans and reach thousands of customers, at no cost! All it takes is some planning, creativity, and time.

Content challenges that small businesses face

Just like many things, content marketing sounds easy in theory. Write some blogs, take some pictures, and post it all on your website.

But there some challenges that many business owners face, such as:

Time

You already work all day and spend your evenings doing paperwork. Do you really have time to write a blog, respond to each comment, and track your marketing campaign?

Skillset

Of course, you can write words on a page, but crafting a message that people will respond to is another skillset entirely. Is creating professional marketing content part of yours?

Organization

It takes a lot of organization to run a marketing campaign. Creating content is just one part of it; there is also the back-end work to contend with, such as scheduling and automation, data curation, and response analytics.

Fortunately, there are plenty of talented professionals available that can help you with any task you’re unsure of. If you want it done right, it’s best to pay someone else and free yourself to do what you do best.

Simplify your Content Marketing Plan

At first, the idea of content marketing can seem daunting. But by understanding your objectives, and creating a plan to achieve them, your content marketing plan will run like a well-oiled machine.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Create your objective

What is it you want to achieve from your marketing efforts? A prospecting list? E-Book downloads? Raise awareness? Write down exactly what your goal is, and make sure every effort is pointed at that goal.

Stay organized

Use a simple spreadsheet to outline the content type, schedule, keywords, deployment method, call to actions, and deployment dates of each marketing plan. Get in the habit of updating it regularly.

Create a Customer Avatar

Step into the shoes of your audience for a moment. What do they look like? What interests them? What problems are they having that only you can solve? If you can create a customer avatar, you’ve gone a long way in knowing what content to create in order to keep them engaged.

Look for Yourself Online

If you were your customer, how would you find your business? What search terms would you enter into Google? Experiment with different terms until you come up with the most likely, and try to include those terms in your online content.

Fill your toolbox

Use tools that can help you deploy your campaigns and measure results, such as MailChimp, Google Adwords, and Hootsuite (for social media).

For additional help, try some of these resources:

  • Questions to ask yourself to help you plan out a content marketing strategy

When executed correctly, content marketing will help build your audience, establish your business in the marketplace, and ultimately increase revenue.

Still feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? I’d love to help! Contact me today to book a free 30-minute telephone consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

Image purchased by InSite Creations via 123rf.com

Author

Jemma Fong

Jemma Fong has written a variety of practical guides on web site launches, redevelopment, and training manuals including 8 booklets for the E-Business Toolkit for the Ministry of Economic Development, Web Business Planning Guide and Online Marketing Guide. You can find Jemma on InSite Creations and LinkedIn.