When it comes to content marketing for your small business, there are so many options.
It’s easy to get stuck in the myriad options of blogging, podcasting, videos and lives, and that’s before you consider the many available social media platforms.
Before getting caught up in a state of analysis paralysis, our best advice is to keep it simple.
Done is better than perfect, and small businesses will get far superior results from doing something well than nothing to the highest standards.
In this blog post, I share a simple content marketing strategy for small businesses.
Follow these six steps to get your content marketing off the ground today, and don’t let perfection become the enemy of progress.
1 – Identify your target audience
Before starting with a programme of content marketing, it’s essential to understand your target audience.
By identifying a niche audience, you can speak directly to those prospective customers who most value what you do.
You can capture your target audience in what we call a customer avatar, a one-page (fictional) description of their key attributes.
Focus your content on solving their most significant challenges and resolving their pain points.
Your content will become genuinely valuable to your target audience as they get to know, like and trust you.
2 – Start blogging
Given a choice between blogging (writing), podcasting (audio) and video production, the most straightforward place to start is always the former.
If you can speak, you can write.
Don’t worry about becoming a professional author. Capture your thoughts as a voice message on your smartphone, or run it through one of the excellent AI transcription services, like Otter.ai.
Use Grammarly to catch any typos or grammatical mistakes, and then press publish.
Get into the habit of writing a blog post each week.
Your blogs should be at least 300 words long, and an excellent strategy for blog writing ideas is to list the questions your customers commonly ask. Answer those questions in each blog post.
3 – Master one social network
There are so many social networks out there!
Rather than keep up with posting and conversations on multiple social networks, pick one to start.
The right social network to start with will depend a lot on your target audience – ask your customers about the social media platforms they most often use.
Without data to support a decision, a good place to start is Instagram.
You can snap and share behind the scenes photos or create more eye-catching posts using the free design software Canva.
At least once a week, go live on Instagram and share your thoughts on what is happening in your business world.
Speak to your customers and suppliers.
At first, going live can be a scary prospect. It gets easier in time.
The more you do it, the more confident you will become on camera, allowing your true personality to shine through.
4 – Optimise your blogs for search
After six months of weekly blogging and with 24 blog posts under your belt, it’s time to think more carefully about search engine optimisation (SEO).
While SEO is a highly technical and complex area of website marketing, the basics of SEO are straightforward to master.
Think about the specific keywords and key phrases you want your business to dominate, and then write blog posts that provide helpful information about each of these.
You can go back through your existing blog posts and edit them to optimise them for search engines, never forgetting that your ultimate reader is your target audience and not Google.
5 – Create a compelling lead magnet
While search engines will, in time, send you plenty of prospective customers who fit with your target audience profile, you will need a couple of other tactics to attract them to your site.
A lead magnet is any free item of service given away in exchange for an email address or other contact details.
Lead magnets can include white papers, e-books, trial subscriptions, video courses, or free consultations.
By this point in the process, there is a good chance that you can package together a series of related blog posts to create a PDF lead magnet, given away in exchange for an email address and permission to stay in touch.
Website visitors can find and download your lead magnet organically (via a search engine or a link from another site), or as a result of paid advertising.
6 – Send a weekly email newsletter
Your email mailing list is one of your most valuable digital marketing assets.
Capture email addresses (and the permission to email the customer) at every possible opportunity.
Once you have at least 100 email addresses on your list, it’s time to start writing a weekly email newsletter.
The simplest place to get started is Mailchimp, where you can email a limited number of contacts for free.
Make sure your email newsletters follow the Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook approach coined by marketer Gary Vaynerchuk, offering plenty of value over and above the number of sales pitches.
Don’t forget to throw in the occasional call to action, such as the offer of a free consultation or trial.
If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, chances are content marketing is on your mind.
I hope this post has given you some direction and inspiration to get started with a simple content marketing strategy today. All it takes is six steps!
And if you need any help along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re here for you every step of the way.
In fact, I would love to spend 30 minutes chatting with you via Zoom about your content marketing strategy. There’s no cost or obligation, just a chance to pick my brains and come up with a series of ideas designed to get you started or improve your existing approach.
Ready? Let’s go!