Who has time for content marketing?
While small businesses are called the backbone of the American economy, they are also challenged with smaller budgets and less employees, which can make things like marketing and advertising very challenging. Content marketing is more than a valuable addition to a successful advertising strategy, it can also help:
With brand reputation, management and awareness
Connect better with existing and potential customers
Increase website traffic and gain new leads
Increase visibility for the brand and business
But for our struggling small business owner, who has the time for content marketing these days? The answer to this question is, make the time. Here are some tips on how to have a successful online content marketing strategy without spending an inordinate amount of time or money:
As they say, without a plan, there can be no victory. Start by mapping out your strategy. Decide exactly what you will be doing, publishing articles on your website, starting a blog, posting on social media, preparing helpful how-to guides, publishing popular top ten lists and writing industry-related product reviews are some great options.
Even if you are considering content for your website or a blog, a presence on social media is simply a must in today’s digital age, especially for small businesses. For both your existing customers and new consumers, they are already looking for businesses like yours on these channels so it is vital to have a presence there. While some believe that these platforms can be a waste of time, there is so much traffic and engagement to be found there, it is simply impossible to ignore.
Think of the “chicken and the egg,” conundrum, which came first, content marketing or social media as the two are remarkably synonymous with each other. Often when one envisions the term content, they think of written words in articles and blogs when this word actually points to many things, videos, images and infographics just to name a few.
The main purpose of these social platforms is connecting with people. Monitoring a few social channels doesn’t have to be overly time consuming, just a few minutes several times a day should be all that is necessary. Thank people for their likes, acknowledge posts, respond to questions and offer advice. Users love this type of interaction and by engaging with people on these platforms, your small business will see bigger results with this audience.
Consider dividing the task of your strategies to occur over the course of a week. For example, with a basic content publishing plan, you could spend less than an hour a day doing the following and post one topic topic weekly, which is better than nothing:
Monday: Research and list topics for relevant articles and posts.
Tuesday: Outline your ideas and get a rough draft.
Wednesday: Write your piece.
Thursday: Add embellishments, pictures, videos and links.
Friday: Proofread and PUBLISH!
After you’ve gotten into the habit, you’ll probably become more proficient and will start posting more often. This strategy works for social media networking as well as other strategies, blogging, website articles, weekly newsletters and more.
Don’t forget to include video, images and/or pictures, as they are a vitally important part of this strategy. I know what you’re thinking, finding pictures may be the easy part, but then you have to fiddle around with them before you can include them in your content. Shopify offers a free, online image resizer that optimizes your images and delivers the finished product directly to your email in basket.
For writer’s block, try using sites like Google Trends and Buzzfeed to find hot, trending topics. Enter your business, industry, product or service into the search bar and find results that are gaining a great deal of online attention. This will help to better target your audience and find more users who are interested in your content.
Some people are big “do it yourself” kind of folks, and some would rather pay others to do it for them. Thankfully there are affordable alternatives to employing an entire marketing department or using pricey content providers. There will still be some work necessary on your part, but much less than one might imagine.
Websites like Scoop.it can provide a content service that brings all of the technology into one location. For example, subscription to their services provides:
Content suggestions and hubs
Branding and analytics
Connections to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
Mobile apps and more
A beginner can sign up on the free platform and take their tools for a test drive without many options, but their initial level starts at just $11 per month (billed annually). They also offer a free trial for the higher levels and a demo version of their unlimited option.
Now you can conquer the online content marketing battle with ease and agility. Discover the author inside of you and reap the rewards of reaching a new audience with by launching a successful online content marketing strategy.
If you want to get 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!
It’s a good core bit of advice to keep looking outside at trends and generally getting in touch with the interests of your audience. Too much content marketing is “we us our” talking about what the office meetings are interested in, not customers.