Content marketing is the most cost-efficient and reliable way to build brand authority, increase conversions, engage your audience, and generate leads. After all, there’s a reason we say “Content is King” in the digital marketing world. That’s why we’ve collected these content marketing tips for small businesses to help you get started.
Why is content marketing so important?
For small businesses with fewer marketing resources at their disposal, content marketing is even more crucial. Dollar for dollar, content marketing provides a higher ROI than any other form of marketing.
Content is also Google’s #1 ranking factor. This means that it is (or should be!) a vital component of your online presence and SEO strategy. When people go to Google, it’s usually because they have a question or query of some sort. “Why is my HVAC making that noise?” “What type of flooring should I put in the kitchen?” “Urgent care near me.” Content is how you make sure you’re answering those questions and showing up at the top of Google results.
Not convinced? Here are a few content marketing statistics that will help us back our claims up:
- 80% of people prefer to learn about a business through custom content
- 68% of internet users spend time researching and reading about brands they’re interested in
- 57% of people online read content marketing articles at least once per month
- 20% of people’s time online is spent reading and consuming content
- Content marketing costs 62% less than more traditional marketing methods
- 60% of internet users research or view a product after reading about it
Content is the driving force that grows your online presence. Releasing high-quality content that engages and delights while offering real value to your audience is the surest way to increase traffic and keep people on your site. KPIs like traffic and session duration is how Google decides to rank your business with its algorithm. And as you rank higher, your content will garner even more attention, turning your SEO efforts into a snowball effect that lands you in the coveted number one spot on Google.
What Does a Successful Content Strategy Look Like?
There are several tactics that will play into the overall success of your content marketing campaign. Before you start building a content calendar, you have to properly define your audience and message, and use those definitions to choose the right content and social platforms for your business.
Define Your Audience
The type of content you produce will be heavily informed by your audience’s demographics and market behavior. For instance, if your audience is primarily made up of younger people who spend a lot of time on Instagram, you should focus on creating visual content that can be easily consumed on that platform. Likewise, if your customer base is made up of older homeowners who spend a lot of time researching before they buy, your content calendar should be whitepaper, blog, and Q&A heavy.
Cater to your customer by creating and promoting the content they want to see. Figure out what questions they are asking and use your content strategy to answer them.
Before you get started, it may be difficult to draw a complete picture of your clients–especially if you’re a new business owner. Watch for trends in your data to help you build a clearer picture of your audience.
But even if you’re a seasoned vet in your industry, you should be watching trends and leaving room for growth and change. After all, generations–and their buying habits–come and go in cycles. Millennials are now parents and homeowners. You can’t market to them the same way you did ten years ago.
Manage Your Messaging
Once you have your audience down, make sure that your message is always focused on reaching them, no matter which platform you’re on. While your tone and the type of content you create may vary based on the platforms you choose, the messaging should remain cohesive.
To keep your brand messaging cohesive, make sure you’re answering the major W’s:
- Who your audience is
- What you offer them
- Why they need you
- Where they are online
- How you’re different
If you structure your message around your answers to these questions, you’ll be able to remain cohesive and consistent.
Pick Your Platforms
If you’ve completed your market research on your audience correctly, you should already know which platforms they frequent. Make sure you’re on those same platforms. And don’t limit yourself to just one or two of the most popular! Content is made to be repurposed, and you can leverage the work you put into creating it by using it on as many platforms as possible.
Every platform has its own purpose and personality. Choose a few to get started and gauge how they’re helping your business grow over time:
There are dozens more, but before you dive too deep, choose a few of these to get started.
How to Build a Content Calendar
Now that you have a foundation to build on, it’s time to create your content calendar. A content calendar is just what it sounds like–a calendar that lays out your content topics and when you will post them. But while it’s a deceptively simple concept, successful content calendars can be difficult to master. Some of the best content marketing tips for small businesses are centered around creating a calendar of relevant and engaging content.
Step 1: Understand Your Customers
As we mentioned above, the most important step in content creation is building an accurate customer profile. If you don’t understand your customer’s pain points, struggles, interests, and preferences, you’re not going to be able to write content that appeals to them.
A great way to get some insight into your customer’s search behaviors and patterns is to dig into your Google Analytics. Check your queries data. How are people coming to your site? What are they typing in to find you? What questions are they asking? Make sure that you are answering those questions and offering real value through your content.
Step 2: Determine the Frequency
The next step in content creation is deciding how often you’ll be publishing new content. Obviously, the more the merrier–the more frequently you post and release new content the happier your SEO data will make you. But we understand that for small businesses without a dedicated marketing department, it can be difficult to allow the time needed for a full onslaught of content.
And remember that taking your platform into consideration is also important. For instance, you should be posting to your Google My Business at least once a week because posts expire after seven days.
For best SEO results, you should be posting to your blog once a week or every other week. Remember that consistency is important to Google, so it’s better to space content out in regular chunks than to post a lot of content all at once.
With social media, you should try to post every day to keep people engaged with your brand. On some of the noisier platforms like Twitter, you’ll have to post multiple times a day to get ahead.
Content like email newsletters, on the other hand, should only be sent once a month at maximum to avoid overwhelming people’s mailboxes and earning you an “unsubscribe.”
Step 3: Identify Content Themes
When you’re coming up with content, it can help to work based on themes. Seasonality, for instance, is very important for engaging customers. Make holiday social posts, write about content that’s relevant to the season–show people that you’re aware of their needs and everyday lives by offering them useful, relevant, recent content.
Another useful theme is education. Build a content campaign based on frequently asked questions, shoot explainer videos addressing industry best practices, or write an eBook full of helpful checklists for your audience. The more educational content you produce, the more you become an authority in your field. This engenders trust and helps garner the attention of potential clients long before they even need your services.
How-tos are another very popular genre of content. This can fall in with educational content, but it’s a very specific category. Articles, videos, white papers, infographics…you can make almost any kind of content into a useful how-to.
Step 4: Brainstorm Topics
Now comes the fun part! Write a list of topic ideas. If you have staff, have them brainstorm with you and lend their insight into what customers may want and need from you. Once you have a long list of ideas, start to whittle them down to the best concepts.
Step 5: Create Your Calendar
Whether it’s a simple Google Doc with dates next to titles, a full-blown editorial calendar in Excel, or you adopt an all-in-one marketing platform, it’s time to create your content calendar! Choose your publication dates based on your research and you’re done! Now all that’s left to do is create the content.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
Want more content marketing tips for small businesses? Surefire Local can help. Our platform allows you to manage and distribute all of your content–blogs, social posts, videos–from one central dashboard. Manage your content calendar from anywhere with an all-in-one platform accessible across devices and browsers – so whenever inspiration strikes, you can act on it! Schedule a free demo today for more information.