Quality content is one of the best ways you can promote your products or services. A blog is a great way to promote your products and services. Nearly 70% of SMBs who publish a blog receive more leads than those who don’t. This is just one statistic. This article will discuss how to create a content strategy that your small business can use to achieve consistent results over time.
What is a Content Strategy?
Content strategy is a long-term plan that helps you set expectations for your audience and choose the content you will promote, create, and publish. This strategy also allows you to allocate resources needed for content development.
A content strategy can also help you grow your business by helping to discover new ideas, explore new markets, and establish relationships.
If you own a hardware store, and you publish DIY tips on your blog, you might notice that wall mounting TVs are the most popular topics. This data can be used to run ads on your blog for LCD screens.
A content strategy will simplify your business because it forces you to look at your goals, find your audience, and determine what interests them. Then you can create content that caters to their needs, and promote it where they hang out the most.
A content strategy, when done right, can bring qualified leads to your site and increase your brand’s visibility.
How to Create a SMB Content Strategy
Three broad goals are the basis of content strategy for small businesses.
You must first have a vision. This is a reason for creating the content. It is also important to understand who the content is intended for. The second step is to choose the content format. Third, you will need to decide how to promote and measure your content.
Let’s get into the details.
Define your audience and goals
It is important to have a clear understanding of your audience before you can start designing. This should include everything, from their demographics to what kind of vocabulary and voice you respond to.
Your business goals and market research will guide your selection of audience. Even if you have had a failure in content marketing, don’t forget about the past. You should also consider competitor analysis and social media analyses.
Collecting data is simple and affordable thanks to the many online tools. You can use the data to improve your marketing strategy as your business grows.
Analytics aside, it is important to think about your ideal customer. This could be a male between 50-60 years old, a contractor or a DIY enthusiast for a hardware store.
Cosmopolitan magazine is a real-life example. It considers 18-to 34-year-old females their primary target audience. The magazine and website use a variety of marketing strategies, but they are primarily targeted at this audience.
Deciding on the content type
You have many options for content to create for your business.
We’ve been talking about creating blogs and articles, which is text, until now. Although it is common to believe that people don’t read as much, text content is still important, especially if you are working on search engine optimization (SEO).
Another format that people love is audio content. Audio content is less demanding than text because it requires less focus. Listening to podcasts can be done while you’re driving, working out, or at lunch. A podcast can be started by your company.
Next, we have visual content. This includes videos and images. You can use visual content to supplement text content, such as Instagram posts. Images are also vital for SEO.
Videos are a popular content type and may be the most effective. Video content is supported by all major platforms, including LinkedIn. Live streaming is a common feature in online marketing to increase audience engagement.
Your marketing goals and the audience will determine which type of content you choose. A combination of formats is better.
Conducting competitor research to determine your position
Without looking at your competitors, you can’t have a complete content strategy. You can check out their blog, social media pages and website to see the type of content they use and what works best for them. This is important as it will allow you to create content that is effective by observing their results.
Competitor research goes beyond just observing your peers. It’s possible to see what doesn’t work, and then come up with something better.
Selecting the right content channels
Content marketing strategies that are successful have a defined audience. It’s better not to target a broad audience. Instead, craft a message that is targeted at a particular market segment most likely buy from you.
Google Analytics can help you see the source of most traffic and engagement, so that you can make more content.
Every platform is suitable for different audiences and subjects. You can use tools such as BuzzSumo, to locate the best content channels for your company. BuzzSumo allows you to see what content is performing well and on which channels.
Organization of creation and publication
Strategism doesn’t end with content creation. You also need to plan how you will publish your content. This requires an editorial calendar. It will help you plan when each piece of content will be created, edited, published, promoted, and so on.
It is a good idea to make a calendar for new content marketers and to keep it up for at least two to 3 months.
Experiential marketers, however, don’t get too attached to their calendars and allow for flexibility. They will adjust the calendar to accommodate feedback and be open to trying new ideas.
You can start to build a content library as you continue publishing content. A content library will help you avoid having to start a new campaign every time.
A content library can be more than just a collection or videos that you have created. You can include images, icons and contract templates.
Measuring the results
Within hours of publishing your content, you can measure the success of your strategy using the most recent analytic tools. These insights include page views, comments, likes, and shares. Long-term, more detailed analytics include conversion rates and qualified leads.
KPIs is the fancy term, which stands for Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are indicators of how effective your strategy has been. KPIs can be measured using tools such as Databox, Facebook Page Manager, Google Analytics and Facebook Page Manager.
Some marketers still prefer to use the time-honored spreadsheet for metrics such as revenue, subscriptions or referrals.
For more precise metrics, clean up your email address list if you plan to promote content via email.
Great Content Strategy Ideas for Inspiration
Let’s take a look at the components of a successful SMB content strategy.
Evernote has a great product range that includes notebooks, hardware and apps. They also have a catchy logo. Evernote also employs a smart content strategy. This includes a blog with a large following on several social media channels and a blog that is highly trafficked.
Evernote is a blog that focuses on a niche: productivity. They create informative and creative content all year, and regularly update the top-performing posts. This niche is important because it’s where people who are looking for productivity content will likely download Evernote.
Evernote’s marketing team is also focused on this niche. That’s why they rarely post about cultural fads.
A niche audience is also a key target market that they have identified through periodic surveys. They target professionals such as lawyers, doctors, chefs, and other professionals in their mid-30s to late 40s.
Evernote posts most of its content via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media.
This is an excellent example of a content strategy that is aligned with the company’s goals. Evernote is seeking to nurture leads via blogs, videos and social media posts in productivity niche. Then, they offer their readers a solution through their note-taking app. Learn more about B2C content strategies.
When we searched for “how do you stay disciplined”, Evernote’s blog was on page 1 in Google SERPs.
HubSpot is an excellent example of a market leader who built its brand using content strategy. They invented the term “inbound Marketing” and their strategy is efficient and scalable.
They draw readers with tons of value-added content that is both for marketers and converts them into customers.
HubSpot places CTAs strategically in their blog posts.
HubSpot offers freebies for every stage of the marketing funnel: e-books and marketing kits, user guides as well as webinars and video courses. Subscribe to the HubSpot blog and take their course on content strategy.
McDonald’s is a large business that has proven time and again the importance of content strategy in brand building.
McDonald’s Canada began answering all of their customers’ questions a few years back. They answered more than 10,000 customer questions and built strong relationships along the way. This was part the brand’s efforts to be more transparent.
This campaign shows us how to use customer services to gain insights, increase engagement, and build a solid reputation.
This is only one example of McDonald’s multifaceted content strategy. This strategy also includes creative Instagram Stories and YouTube content.
This brand is serious about its content strategy and spent $300 million to acquire Dynamic Yield Ltd. in order to use AI in its marketing.
Industry experts share their best practices for content strategy
Here are five content strategy tips from the pros before we close this article:
1. Ask the Public
It can be difficult for small business owners to see your brand objectively. You should encourage your audience to voice their opinions. You can make quizzes, surveys, or compile top comments from blog articles or social media posts. Then, you can use relevant quotes in an article or Facebook ad or white paper.
This content will be highly engaging because it offers real-world examples that your customers can relate to.
These are just a few examples.
Share a Coke
Coca-Cola’s Australian marketing team launched the “share a Coke” campaign through social media and paid advertising in 2011. Coca-Cola printed 150 of the most popular and well-known names on its bottles and asked people to share a drink with their family members. The campaign was a huge success in 80 countries.
An Art Maker Series was created by the designing software company. It allowed creative designers to showcase their talents using Adobe products like Illustrator, Photoshop, and more through videos. For product/feature promotion, recommendations, and expert endorsements, the company used artwork from users.
Citizens of Humanity
Citizens of Humanity, a denim brand, launched the #WEAREALLHUMANITY campaign through a social message. The brand donated $10 to charity for every photo posted by users using the hashtag #WEAREALLHUMANITY This campaign not only helped a cause, but also gave the brand a positive image. 75% of millennials are keen to associate with brands that do this.
2. Blogs are not the only option
As many content formats and budgets as you can afford. Some content types can help build SEO (blogs), while others will increase engagement (social media posts), while others may close the sale (whitepapers, chat support).
3. Boost Your Posts Sometimes
Paid marketing is required to complement your organic, free publishing. You can boost social media content and run pay-per click ads on Google SERPs. It doesn’t matter if nobody sees your quality content. Spread the word by spending as little as $30 per Month.
4. Make interactive content
This is very similar to #1. Interactive content includes polls, webinars and games to increase engagement. Interactive content is a big winner on social media. However, explainer videos and webinars also do well on platforms such as LinkedIn.
Clinique’s foundation finding tool is a great example of how customers can use a survey to help them make purchasing decisions. Buyers could select the best product for them based on skin type, skin preference, skin finish and skin care goals.
Interactive content promotes engagement. It also helps sales and customer service teams close more deals. Customers can interact with you using personal data. It builds trust.
5. Do a Content Audit
To create a winning strategy for content, it is important to take stock of what is working. You may be storing a lot of dead or low-performing content if you haven’t created a content strategy for the year.
These are the things you need to look out for when performing an audit
- The best content
- Content that is not performing
- When is the best time to publish content?
- Keywords that you are currently ranking for
- The worst metrics on content
- Your site should not contain content that leads visitors to leave
You can identify which content is not performing well and then revamp your strategy to produce more quality content.
Small businesses need to overcome the challenge of marketing. A good content strategy can simplify your content marketing efforts, even when your budget is limited. Regularly review your strategy by reviewing your KPIs, making any necessary changes and revising as needed.
Scoop.it Blog published the article How to Create a Content Strategy For Small Businesses.
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