By Susan Tucker
In a perfect world, small business owners could rely on word-of-mouth and basic marketing techniques to accomplish their revenue goals. However, in the past few years, as consumer intelligence has grown and with the constant availability of information by searching online, SEO has become the base component by which to be found by potential customers.
So, how can small business owners effectively and creatively make use of the benefits of SEO in their marketing? By utilizing Content Marketing techniques.
Content marketing is about creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire YOUR target customer – the goal is to make them take some sort of action.
You may enjoy: Creating an Effective Calls-to-Action That Gets Results!
Here are 10 Awesome Content Marketing Tips for Small Business
The first four tips for content marketing happen before you actually publish. To get your content marketing moving in the right direction, first you need to:
1. Make A Schedule
Want to have a successful content marketing run? Get organized. First, create a calendar (I like to use Google Docs); you should create an outline of what each month of your year looks like as far as seasonality, industry events, holidays, and company-specific happenings, then add them to your calendar. Allot time each week for filling in content ideas, developing strategy, researching, and actually creating your content. This could take between 2-4 hours per week (depending on how in-depth your content is and/or if you outsource any portion of this). The more successful marketing campaigns are the ones that were well thought out and planned properly.
Content marketing for small business owners can only be successful if you know what has worked in the past for other small businesses. Take some time to do some research and look at other small business websites and social media channels. Also, you don’t have to limit your research to small businesses, sometime you can take an idea from a Big Brand, and replicate it on a usable scale. By no means are you going to copy what is on those other websites but just perusing other sites will give you an idea of what type of content will help you further your marketing potential. Pay attention to popular keywords, web tools and stats for the most successful small business sites on the web. There are some online services available you can subscribe to that will give you a closer look at a competitors site traffic and ranking.
Surveys are a great way to get inside consumer’s minds and see what they like. You can use surveys to improve your website, improve your product, learn about what type of content they want to see and more. Consider incentivizing for responses; a $5 iTunes gift card to all participants, one “grand prize” drawing or several smaller prizes. Team up with like-minded businesses for list exchange, sponsored prizes and other co-marketing efforts to cast a wider net for survey respondents. Some popular survey sites are: SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo and Google Survey Forms.
4. Understand Current Trends
In order to market to the masses you need to know what some of the current newsworthy trends are. Check out social media sites to see what is trending and use those items to create popular content. You can use those trends as leads and do your own research to further dive into the topic; drawing people in.
5. Use Images
While there is tremendous value in text-based posts, you must still integrate imagery into your content creation. Visual content is a fast and easy way to get your point across. You might want to take a longer piece of content and replace a paragraph with an image you have created instead. Making it visually appealing and easy to understand. Some ideas for imagery include using infographics, bold photos with text on top,
6. Use Video
Videos are a great way to get your content out while also helping to build trust with your prospects. When folks connect with information through the sights and sounds of a video, they can make a deeper connection to you and your brand. You don’t need to get fancy with video production – sometimes creative editing with mobile phone footage or your computer’s built-in camera is all it takes. Another way to get video is via micro-video as used on Vine or Instagram or by outsourcing it to a vendor on Fiverr.
7. Publish Case Studies
Chances are you’ve been in business for a while and chances are you’ve done some really amazing work during that time. Gather your information and publish a few case studies on your site. Not only will this serve as proof to your potential customers, it can also be great fodder for your content strategy. This post on Kissmetrics gives some great tips for creating case studies.
8. Create an Encyclopedia
One of the most underused ideas for content creation is for companies to create an online encyclopedia of terms related to the industry. Chances are many prospects are not going to understand some of the terminology used, make it easy for them by providing the information on your website, you can then link to it in various blog posts. This is a great way to help build up your indexed keywords for online searching, as well. SEO benefits, too? Yes!
Any easy way to create content is by simply curating posts. That could be your own posts that fall in a specific category or posts from other industry leaders with your comments about why you chose them.
10. Reuse Your Content
Sometimes a simple repackage of content can attract a whole slew of new leads. Take common topics of old blog posts and turn them into an eBook, take the transcript of a webinar and turn it into a white paper, grab all your tidbits and convert them into visuals for a short SlideShare presentation. If you’re simply not inspired to create new content, just think about ways in which you can reuse old content.
These are just a few content marketing tips you can start using TODAY to revamp your marketing efforts. What is your go-to when uninspired?