Developing a Content Marketing Strategy for your Small Business
It’s no secret that content marketing is gradually becoming one of the primary forms of business to customer (B2C) marketing that business owners turn to when looking to connect with their current and future customer base. Writing insightful blogs; sharing videos; and posting interesting social media content is a great way for businesses to indirectly promote their brand, products or services via an accessible and useful medium in the eyes of the public. While content marketing is often effective, it can prove to be fairly time-consuming and does require some practice and experience. If you’re looking to dip your toes in the water, here are a handful of things that can make the process a little easier to digest.
Know your audience
Content marketing is about your audience – not your products, services or even your brand. When you start developing your content marketing strategy, keep your audience top of mind, including what they like, what they might find useful or interesting, and what will ultimately lead them to engage your business down the line. Adding value to their work life, personal life, social life or any other aspect of their day is what content marketing is all about, so try to get yourself in their shoes to determine what they may find valuable. Take into account your current client base, as well as your ideal client type; and then create a profile for them. This can include what their age, gender, income and other demographics; goals and aspirations; current needs; and other relevant dimensions. There are several free online resources that act as a template for your client profiles – you can even make a few different ones to summarise a couple of broad groups of clients. Once you have an idea who your audience is, and who you’d like to consume your content, then your targeting is set.
Content Selection – Curate vs. Create
A common stumbling block for many small business owners when it comes to marketing their business is a lack of time. Those who are time-poor often fall into the trap of spending too much time working “in” their business rather than working “on” their business. With this in mind, curating content can be a viable option for those without the capacity to sit down and make their own. This can come in the form of re-posting blog articles from reputable sources (and of course referencing them where appropriate), or even simply sharing thought-provoking article on Facebook or LinkedIn. These are quick things to use to give your followers and clients some value, while not taking away a chunk of your busy day. On the other hand, those with the time to create their own content can certainly benefit from doing so.
Not only does this give you the freedom to create something that your audience will respond well to (using your client profile helps here); you can also make something that you’re passionate about and want to share. For example: if you ran a small supermarket, and are passionate about environmental awareness and reducing waste, you could pen an article on ways to embrace recycling in everyday life. Then in your store, you could promote the re-use of cardboard boxes from your stock in place of bags, tying in nicely with the article you’ve written. The consistency of your message with what goes on in your store is something that customers are likely to respond positively to, and those who share your enthusiasm can quickly become valuable word-of-mouth marketing.
Pick your channels
It’s crucial to select a medium that suits your audience. If your customers are more likely to respond well to a short Facebook post, that’s a good place to start. Similarly, if you feel that a longer-form blog post is appropriate, then give that a go. Sometimes you’ll have to exercise a bit of a trial-and-error approach to find the sweet spot, but once you’ve discovered the balance the effectiveness of your content marketing may be more noticeable. Juggling the different platforms can also be a challenge, depending on how much time you have to spend on marketing. Developing a marketing calendar in Excel or on a whiteboard is a good way to not only remain consistent with your content; but can also act as a place to jot down ideas for future content as they spring to mind.
Overall, the rise of content marketing and its ability to add value to the lives of your clients (and prospective clients) has motivated many businesses to give it a go. While it can sometimes be time-consuming, indirectly putting your brand and business at the top of consumers’ minds with thoughtful and relevant content can prove incredibly powerful for your bottom line down the line, with relatively little financial outlay to begin with. That’s why they say “content is king”!
Does your business need a marketing health check? At McKinley Plowman, our Brand Plus Division helps clients promote and grow their new or established business through sound marketing strategy, world-class branding, up-to-date digital solutions and an experienced support network. Call today for a FREE no-obligation consultation on 08 9301 2200 or visit www.mckinleyplowman.com.au/contact-us/.
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