Content marketing is creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined audience – to drive profitable customer action. The more content you create, the better your chances are for success.
- 60% of marketers report that content marketing generates demand/leads.
- 81% of marketers view content as a core business strategy.
Here are 11 tips to create a smart content marketing strategy for small businesses.
1. Mission: Define your company’s mission to create a clear goal for your content.
The mission defines the goal or purpose behind every piece of content, and not all content will yield the same results.
Some goals may overlap, but it still needs to be inherently defined.
- Generate qualified leads
- Build brand awareness
- Increase retention
- Increase customer engagement
- Turn leads into devoted customers
- Build thought leadership
For example, if you are a local restaurant, your “why” might be to share great recipes or cooking tips.
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2. Audience: Know whom you’re talking to so you know what they want to hear from you. Not only defining your mission’s content is important, but also who the content will be targeting.
You may have more than one audience you want to speak to, but these personas should know exactly who it is you want to attract and where they are:
- Semrush (paid): Has a great content marketing platform that lets you research topics based on keyword phrases. You can even enter a domain that will assist you in finding topic ideas.
- Quora (free): Will also give you great ideas about what questions people are asking. It will give your insight into what people are asking and what people are responding to regarding the questions.
- Content Crowd (paid): This isn’t a tool but a service. If you do have some budget to invest in but do not have the time, then Crowd Content will give you access to thousands of freelance writers. This type of professional service can help you better scale your content needs.
3. Objectives: Create objectives for each of your goals so you know what success looks like. For example, if an objective is to build authority, then:
- Reach out to others in your industry and have them be interviewed, share that content on your site and promote it.
- Share educational content, how-tos tips, and more. Let’s say you’re an interior designer. Share insights on how to decorate with small spaces, trending colors, and any DIY hacks that are cost-effective and impact a space.
4. Goals: Make sure your goals are measurable and realistic. How will you measure results and your performance?
Make sure you also have tools in place and ensure they are installed properly so you can measure effectively. Some content marketing measurements can be:
- Revenue: How many sales, subscriptions, or paid downloads (if applicable) has your site acquired month-over-month (MoM).
- Leads: Form submissions, newsletter subscriptions, conversion rate, opt-ins.
- Brand awareness: Site visitors, video views, engagement within your social media accounts.
- Loyalty: Returning customers, bounce rate, subscriptions minus unsubscribes to anything subscription-based.
- Engagement: Social media growth over time, reactions, comments, shares, views, retweets.
5. Resources: Figure out how much time, money, or staff you have available for content creation and promotion. Start with your budget, goals, and objectives with your content strategy.
Need additional resources? Sites like Upwork and FreeUp are a couple that could help with any needs regarding the content or virtual assistants.
6. Content calendar: A content calendar is the main tool to keep you on time and task. It doesn’t have to be done in any project management tool if that’s not accessible.
All you need is a simple spreadsheet. Form fields to include are:
- Platform (paid social, blogs, videos, listicles, whitepapers, social media posts, etc.)
- Focused keywords
- Inspiration (preliminary research you’ve done)
Start with the idea of what format would be suitable for the topic and decide what platform would have the most impact on this topic(s).
7. Optimize content. Keyword research is key. Start by finding keywords with high volume and low competition.
Researching what other people type when doing research will make your content easier to find, but it will appeal to the audience. Google’s autocomplete is a quick and easy way to find ideas on what people are searching for.
Additionally, the content must be visually appealing, so put effort into the images associated with your content. Make sure your CTA (calls to action) are in the right area.
8. Repurpose content. Look into your data (Google Analytics, YouTube, social posts that got great engagement) and see if you can recycle that content into fresh blogs, social media posts, infographics or videos. This tactic can save you a lot of time, as the initial legwork has been done.
9. Update evergreen content and pages. Make a note every quarter to go through old content and see what evergreen content needs to be updated. Every industry is different, but many industries’ rules, regulations and/or stipulations will change. Your content must be updated, so you don’t appear outdated or not abreast of what industry information is coming out.
10. Ongoing content promotion. Similar to repurposing content, evergreen or popular content should be promoted not just once or twice, but as long as possible. Make sure to spread it out. You’ve invested time, effort, and budget into the content. Make sure you get the most out of it.
11. Analyze. Once you know what you’re tracking (see step four) you can easily see what worked and what didn’t. Look into ways you can replicate it. Maybe it’s short-form content, maybe it’s the topic. If you’re constantly looking into analytics, it will uncover new opportunities that can help with your goals.
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