There are never enough hours in the day when you’re a business owner. The last thing you want is something extra to worry about. Getting a content marketing program going for your business is still one of the best things you can do.
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways to establish your business’s online presence, thought leadership in your industry or boost your marketing and sales efforts. Demand Metric says content marketing has three times the ROI of paid advertising while costing 62 percent less.
It gets better. The Content Marketing Institute says regularly publishing content builds trust with audiences that have become fatigued by traditional advertising. If you’ve been struggling to increase traffic to your site, publishing 16 blog posts a month can get your numbers up 3.5 times as opposed to publishing between 0 and 4 times.
Regular content creation improves your SEO ranking. Good SEO rankings are the gateway to greater business and brand recognition.
If you want this for your business, once you get the basics right, content marketing is one of the most effective ways to establish a relationship with your target audience and turn them into loyal customers.
What is it?
Neil Patel says content marketing is “a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content and delivering it consistently. He adds, “It also means tailoring your content depending on what stage of the buying journey your customer is at.”
Taking this apart, you begin to understand a few things as you embark on your journey as a content marketer. You’re not talking “at” your audience, telling them how great your product or service is as is done in traditional marketing. You’re building a rapport.
What’s one of the best ways to do this? Storytelling. It’s been proven time and again that people love narratives. In building your brand narrative, remember that any content you create has to have relevance or value for your audience. It should help them solve problems or give them the information they need.
Because you build your most important relationships through constant effort, it stands to reason that your content marketing can’t be a one-off affair. You have to consistently deliver high-quality material that wins with your audience.
That means your content can’t be the same generic stuff that you can find on dozens of sites. It must be well-researched, have your distinctive stamp and of course, be interesting to consume.
This is a tall order. How do you do all of this as a small business owner with limited time and resources? You can choose to hire someone if you’re short on time and lack the expertise. If budget is an issue, don’t worry, with a bit of effort, you can pull off your great content marketing campaign.
Research Your Audience
What’s the target market for your product or service? What are their pain points? How can you solve them?
You’ll only know this by getting to know your ideal customer better. This will involve a bit of market research. This can be reading industry-relevant material. It may involve checking out places where your customers hang out online and seeing what they say. You can poll them through questionnaires.
You want specific demographic information about your target audience. That means getting details like their age, income, where they live, their level of education, what social media they’re on, and their hobbies to name a few.
You should also aim to build a psychographic profile of your audience. What’s their motivation for buying? Who are they likely to be influenced by?
Google Analytics can help break these down for you. This is a suite of tools that allows you to collect data-driven insights on your potential customers. Taking a peek at your competitors’ content can give you some clues as well.
Know What They’re Searching For
Your content won’t be much good if it doesn’t align with what your target is looking for online.
This is for two reasons. If your content does not contain critical search terms and keywords, it will have much lower SEO rankings on Google. Even if it’s found, it may not be read since your audience may not be perceived as relevant.
Keyword research should solve this problem for you. This gives you a better understanding of the terms your audience types into search engines and helps you select what kind of content to produce.
Create Your Content
You’re now ready to generate your business’ content. The wonderful thing about content is that it can be so many things. It can be a blog post. But it can also be an email newsletter, video, infographics, podcasts, photos, or social media posts.
We’re going to revisit a few terms we discussed earlier in greater detail to help you produce the best content you can.
Now, we’ve said that your content needs to be “high quality”. What does that mean?
Quality content is easy to read. It must obey good design rules. The white space-to-text ratio must be adequate. It’s tiring reading huge walls of text. Breaking it up with appropriate images works as well.
Great content sparks with the writer’s voice, which should reflect your brand’s authentic spirit. This gives your content that unique feel that makes it different from every other website or blog that’s in your industry.
No one has your experiences. No one sounds like you and these are the things that should be distilled into your content.
An original voice goes a long way to contributing a distinct voice to your content. But it needs a few other things. Even if the facts are the same there must be a new way to present them. There must be new ways to apply the same principles to problems that your customers are experiencing.
It’s up to you to find these new angles. Doing original research that goes beyond what you find online is a good place to start. You can get new information from books, academic papers, or even subject expert interviews.
No one likes coming to your site and consuming the same type of content again and again. It’s also likely that you publish your content on different platforms. This alone means that your content has to meet the specific requirement of that medium.
Some types of content also play better than others depending on the platform. For example, pictures, infographics, and videos are more suited to social media where people are looking to consume content in quick bites. Longer form content is better on your website or blog.
Imagine trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry but having incorrect information in your content.
You’d immediately dismiss a competitor who did this and people who read your content will do the same to you.
While your content strategy is part of a long-range plan to increase your business visibility and sales, the trust your audience builds in you is invaluable and hard to mend when broken.
It isn’t just incorrect information you should look out for. Bad grammar, broken links, and anything that contributes to a bad user experience with your content needs to get the boot.
Once you start publishing content, your audience is going to begin to expect it from you. Don’t disappoint. It’s not just one of the best ways to build loyalty, it’s also one of the best ways to find new audiences.
Regularly posting new content will improve your SEO ranks and visibility as well.
Getting Out There
So, you’ve found your audience and your content is in tip-top shape. Now you need to get it in front of their eyes.
Share Your Content
Use your business’ social media channels to tease new content as well as share it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers in your industry and ask them to share your content too.
Make sure you write a catchy blurb for it and include an attention-grabbing photo.
Build A Community
Social media isn’t just good for sharing content. Use it to gather a like-minded group of people around your content and business. Nothing like having your own in-group of followers to like and share your content with their friends and family.
Promote Your Content
This is a more indirect method. Guest posts on other sites allow you to plug your own content and provide readers with links … of course, with the permission of your host.
The reader comment section is underutilised as a marketing tool. Find and comment on similar content. Readers become curious and many eventually follow you to your content
Don’t be afraid to add internal links to related content that you created previously. This way you get readers to stay longer on your site and get them more familiar with what you have to offer.
Create An Email List
As your content builds momentum and you gain an audience don’t forget to create an email list inviting them to opt-in to receiving more communication from you.
Email remains one of the most effective ways to convert prospects into customers. It’s also another way to deepen the relationship between you and your customers.
Off to a good start …
Nasdaq predicts that by 2040, 95 percent of all purchases will be made online. You want a portion of that to be yours. This can only happen if your business is visible and relevant to consumers.
Digital marketing is critical to that happening and it’s here to stay. For the foreseeable future, content marketing will remain a cornerstone of digital marketing.
In the interest of securing your business’ future, set it up to succeed by having the strongest content campaign that you can create. These tips are some basics to get you pointed in the right direction and on your way.
Your content must be targeted and relevant. The one size fits all approach to content is liable to burn you out and offer nothing of value to your audience.
People want content and there are lots of ways to give them the content they’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what’s right for your business.