Content 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.