Do a Google search for “content marketing for small business” and you’ll get more than 200,000 results. Simply put, content marketing is using content online to market your business. Social media and online content have created an engaged consumer, one that tunes out one-way advertising and demands conversation, responsiveness and interesting content. But plowing through all of the expert and technical advice to find the right approach can be overwhelming for small businesses with limited budgets and time.
The trick for small business owners and marketers is to think differently about creating content. Here are five content marketing musts to create stand out content that will connect with customers and drive high quality traffic to your business:
1) Stop focusing on adding content, and start concentrating on identifying and fulfilling customer needs. Do you often answer the same questions from customers? Ask them what they want to know and publish blog posts, case studies, newsletters, tutorials, reports, resource lists or podcasts to answer their questions. Customers will appreciate finding the information easily on your website without having to call you. You’ll appreciate the cost/time savings.
2) Content that generates the most benefit for your web site is also content that fulfills your customers’ needs. Stop focusing on SEO for its own sake. Not all content will boost your traffic and search rankings. Choose content for which there is demand but not that much supply. It just takes a little homework to find out what topics or products are searched for frequently but not well covered on many other websites. By demonstrating your expertise with this unique content, you’ll start to be established as an authority in your field.
3) Remember you’re just renting a room on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or other social media sites. Use social media and blogs to get out your content but always bring your friends to your home, your website. Then do what you do with friends in real life. Find out how they want to be reached and contact them regularly with exciting news. Have call to action items on your website such as email marketing enrollment or requests for more information. Make sure you add social sharing buttons to your web pages to encourage social media sharing and link building back to your site.
4) Think visually. We live in the age of Pinterest and Instagram. It’s important that you discover visual content that you enjoy developing so you’ll be more likely to create it on a regular basis. Whether it’s making videos, or sharing photos, creating Infographics or interactive games, or producing webinars and slide shows, always think about what visual images will grab your customers’ attention.
5) Creating a mobile-optimized website should be your priority if you don’t already have one. Google estimates that as much as 25 percent of all searches are conducted on a mobile device. Mobile search advertisers report higher click-through rates and higher levels of engagement with mobile search. All you need is a simple navigation stripped of text with a click-to-email and call functions and social sharing buttons for user friendly connectivity.
One final tip: Use content marketing to personally connect with your customers. I just read an amazing article by Srininvas Rao about his friend, Chris Buillbeau, who emailed every single newsletter subscriber personally for his first 10,000 subscribers. Rao decided to do the same for his email subscribers and recently received this email from a subscriber:
“Thanks for your email! Of all of the resources that I subscribe to, I don’t think I have ever received an actual personal email that wasn’t an obvious use of email marketing personalization features. Your content is awesome, and I am finding it really helpful!”
Can you imagine if you used this personal touch in your small business content marketing? Try it and let me know what happens!