Tag Archives: content marketing for small business

Simple content marketing for a small business

simple-content-marketing-for-small-businessContent marketing isn’t just for big businesses having deep pockets. In fact, small businesses are in a better position to leverage content marketing due to the flexibility and abundance of creativity small business owners enjoy compared to highly bureaucratic and red-tape-tangled big businesses.

Yes, it takes efforts. I’m not saying content marketing is a quick-reward tactic. It’s a mistake to call it a tactic, it’s a prolonged strategy with long lasting results. You have to build it brick by brick. You will even have to pay content writers and content creators if you cannot create content on your own. It’s just like any other business asset that requires investment and effort.

Need to know what’s content marketing? You may like to read What is content marketing? Explained in detail.

Why a small business should embrace content marketing?

Here are some reasons why content marketing benefits your small business:

  • Conventional advertising is expensive and unscientific
  • PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns can totally blow up your budget
  • Content marketing makes people trust you
  • Content marketing helps you build your own media platform
  • Content marketing increases your visibility on search engines as well as social networking websites
  • You don’t have to pay for every click
  • The visibility that you create with content marketing is long-lasting
  • Once you have created a presence for yourself through content marketing, you no longer have to depend on search engines
  • Frankly, there is no other way, whether you realize it now, or later

Simple content marketing for a small business

The entry barrier to content marketing is very low. It is not as formidable as it may initially seem. In fact, you can formulate a content marketing strategy right now and start implementing it within the next one hour (first complete reading this). Here are a few simple things you can do to start your own content marketing campaign for your small business:

  1. Define your purpose: Content marketing is very precise and it is advisable that you clearly define your purpose right in the beginning of launching your content marketing strategy.What do you intend to achieve with content marketing?

    Of course, every business wants to get more customers and clients and this goes without saying, but what should be your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Are you looking for brand visibility on social networking websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook? Do you want more subscribers for your business newsletter? Do you want more customers (duh!)? Read 12 most important KPIs of content marketing.

  2. Do keyword research: Keyword research is not as simple as it may seem in the beginning. You have to think how your typical customer or client would think when he or she needs to find your business. Don’t assume what keywords and search terms they should be using. There are many good keywords tools available (you can begin with this Google keyword tool).Keyword research isn’t just for better search engine rankings, it also helps you keep yourself focused and create the most appropriate content using the most appropriate language that your prospective customers and clients use. Keyword research gives you a direction.
  3. Create content topics: These are the blog posts and webpages that you are going to write or create content for. Remember that you need to create your topics keeping in mind what sort of traffic you want to get to your website or blog.If I want to get more clients for my content writing and content marketing services I write content that shows how much I know as well as how interested I am in getting your business.

    If you provide a consulting service than you want to tell people how much you know and how you help your clients. If you sell a product you would like to describe what are the benefits of those products in every possible way.

  4. Set up a domain account in Google Analytics and Google’s Webmasters Tools: These will help you monitor what sort of traffic your content is attracting. You will have to combine both of them to get a better insight.These tools will tell you what keywords people use to find your content. They will also tell you from where you get your traffic the most. Here is a good blog post on how to use Google Search Analytics to enhance your content marketing. If you find it difficult to understand, stay tuned, one of these days I will create a simplified version of how to use these tools to improve your content marketing efforts.
  5. Start publishing blog posts: Publishing blog posts is the easiest form of content marketing. Although, I repeatedly say that simply publishing blog posts on your blog isn’t exactly content marketing, it is your base. Without having quality content, there is nothing to market. So, everything starts with quality content that you publish under your domain name. Publish posts based on the topics you have created, based on the keywords you have researched.
  6. Use social channels to share your content: If you have a LinkedIn account (better for B2B businesses) start sharing the links of the blog posts you have started publishing. Use Twitter, use Facebook, use whatever social networking channel you prefer and where you would like to build your audience. This will bring visibility to your newly-created content.
  7. Monitor performance using Google Analytics and Google’s Webmasters Tools: You will need to be patient. These tools won’t get data initially. Google won’t even index your new content in the beginning if your domain is new. It may take a couple of months before you begin to see some data in Google Analytics and Google’s Webmasters Tools. Be persistent without worrying – every small business or big business goes through this process.
  8. Curate content from other sources: You don’t always have to create content from scratch. Awesome content is being created every minute on other websites and blogs. You can curate content from these sources from time to time and share it on your social networking timelines. You can also create smaller blog posts with your unique point of view with the help of curated content. Read Can you use content curation as a viable content marketing tool?
  9. Repurpose your popular content: If you observe that particular blog posts are getting more attention you can re-purpose their content. You can pick up the main points and create slides and then share the slides on a platform like Slideshare.com. If your blog post contains data, you can create an infographic and share it again on social networking platforms. If possible, you can create a small YouTube video, upload it on YouTube, and then share it again. There are many ways you can re-purpose your existing content. You may like to read How to repurpose old content.

These are a few simple ways a small business can use content marketing. As I mentioned in the beginning, just like any other business activity, it takes effort, consistency, a bit of creativity, and persistence. It’s not a shortcut. It’s an alternative, a way better alternative to conventional advertising and promotion. Revisit the above point: Why a small business should embrace content marketing.

Content marketing for local business

Local businesses can use content marketing to their great advantage but unfortunately, most of the local businesses aren’t even aware of the concept. I’ll give a personal example.

The housing society where I live has a Facebook page. The page was created so that the residents could exchange ideas and although, the exchange of ideas does happen, people mostly post messages to promote their local businesses, and one of such businesses is a small catering business that is perhaps run from within one of the apartments in another housing society.

In the beginning, when they hadn’t yet created a nuisance on our housing society’s Facebook page, I had contacted them because I was interested in getting early breakfast from them (which, they don’t provide, but promote anyway). Now I don’t remember how I shared my phone number with them, they also included me in a WhatsApp group. Later on I had to block their number because they were sending 5-10 messages every day about what a great catering service they have and what are their offerings for the day.

As I am always excited about helping new businesses in the beginning I advised them to register themselves with Google Local. I also told them not to spam the Facebook page and the WhatsApp group but, although, they didn’t know how to set up themselves in Google Local and I provided them step-by-step instruction, they didn’t take me seriously when I told them that continuously posting senseless messages is going to be counter-productive. Eventually people started complaining about them on the Facebook page and like me, many blocked them on WhatsApp.

Although the catering service is using the available content distribution channels like Facebook and WhatsApp, they are not providing any value through their content. They’re overdoing it by posting their menu multiple times in a day. They are not making personal connections. I help them with the Google Local listing, I initially showed interest in their service and even interacted with them multiple times but even with me, they have never tried to make a connection. They were simply crowding my timeline with their menus and photographs of the food they are cooking. They never even thanked me for the Google Local listing help. And the worst part is, when I eventually tried to order breakfast, they informed me that they couldn’t deliver, and that was the last straw.

A very nice example of creating a presence through providing content (in the form of a low-cost service) is the hair-salon chain owner Habeeb. Although he runs a chain, at the micro level, what he is doing is, running a local business. Although in the conventional content marketing sense, it doesn’t use the Internet, but it definitely uses the “freemium” service to attract customers.

In the local malls, mostly in the basement lobby, he hires a small space and erects a temporary, mostly wooden structure. In the wooden box (with good interiors) a sleek, unisex salon is run. You can get a nice haircut at 20-30% of what you would normally pay to a nice salon in a mall or a posh market. The hairstylists (normally very young trainees) are very courteous and friendly and give you a basic haircut with all the modern gadgetry. Seats are always occupied and one only has to wait for his or her turn. The place makes good money, it is very affordable, it offers good service and the initial investment is very little. Then, after a couple of years, he opens the big saloon where you have to pay the normal posh-salon rates. Does brisk business.

He doesn’t have to spend on advertising; instead, he advertises round-the-clock in various malls. Everybody is familiar with the name because the box is always set up at the most crowded place. At a fraction of the cost of conventional advertising, he doesn’t just create a presence for himself, but also makes good money while laying ground for the bigger, five-star salon.

What has it got to do with content marketing for local business? I think many of you already know what I’m talking about.

He is basically indulging in content marketing as a local business. Instead of providing content in terms of text, video and audio, he is rendering the service at a highly affordable rate at strategic locations. In the local community, instead of stepping on everybody’s toes, he is providing a useful service. Those who don’t want to get a haircut at a roadside unkempt barbershop but also don’t want to spend a ton of money in a salon, are very thankful that there is a place that is clean, well-lit and efficient and all the hair stylists are neat and clean and courteous.

But not every local business can afford to provide such a service either for free or even at a lower cost. Such local businesses can use content marketing to their great advantage.

Local businesses can use content marketing channels like Facebook, YouTube and to an extent even WhatsApp to stay connected with their customers without annoying them with useless updates. As a customer, from a catering service, I don’t need an update on their daily menu, but I definitely need to know what sort of service they are running, whether they are reliable or not and what the others think of them. For that they can create a Facebook page and invite people in the neighbourhood to join. They can create a food channel on YouTube. They can start a blog detailing how they cook various items.

As long as content is relevant, it doesn’t always have to be something about your business. Yes, eventually, it is about your brand, would be useful. Be a part of a community through useful content. Encourage people to talk about your business on social networking websites, blogs and even YouTube videos. Make videos of your satisfied customers if they don’t mind and then post them on YouTube. Create an Instagram account or a Snapchat account if you want to post daily pics of your food items.

Stay tuned – in the coming days I will be publishing posts on how different local businesses can use content marketing to their advantage.