Small businesses often feel they cannot justify spending what small amount of marketing budget they have on content marketing. Yet, if businesses, whether large or small, have any kind of online presence, chances are they have employed some content marketing tactics even if it where unbeknownst to them. The reality is that content marketing can have a profound effect on a small business’ marketing efforts, while using a small amount of the budget.
It is possible that they have created some form of digital content for the business – a web page, a picture, a video, a blog post – and shared it with someone on the internet. Indeed, nearly every small business is now creating some form of content in order to create value for their customers.
With so much information being shared on the web today, it is no longer enough to sit and wait for traffic to come to your site. This way of thinking no longer is effective. To be noticed on the internet, your small business must create valuable and compelling content for your customers. This way, the business can take on an important role in the day-to-day lives of its intended audience; otherwise, you will be invisible to them.
Notice, the keywords in that last sentence are valuable and compelling.
Those two words are important to remember when creating and curating content for your company. As previously mentioned, there is a ton of content already on the internet. The amount of information is growing at an exponential rate. It is crucial that your company’s content cut through the clutter by providing what consumers are searching for.
Consumers, including myself, are fed up with all the interruption messages that are constantly being thrown at us. So much so, that they we now do anything in our power to avoid advertisement; paying for ad-free radio, skipping through TV commercials, and blocking pop-ups.
It goes without saying that your business must avoid being ignored by consumers to achieve any kind of success. The only way this can happen is by implementing a good marketing plan that includes a mix of paid, earned, and owned media. Good content creates a dialogue with your customers as opposed to a monologue.
The following are a few ways content marketing can help you go from invisible to visible in the eye of the consumer.
1. Create a Content Mission Statement
The content mission statement should clearly communicate what your company stands for and more importantly why you exist. This statement sets the tone for your content. Joe Pulizzi, author of Epic Content Marketing, says the mission statement is your business’ narrative, the promise, the story, the positioning, and the perception. First, you must ask yourself some questions about your business.
For example, who is included in your target audience? What need are you fulfilling with the content you are providing? What is the outcome for your intended audience? You may be thinking that those questions are obvious, but ask yourself how your content can be effective if it is not clear what the content should do?
2. Create Less Content About You and More About Your Audience
This may come as a surprise, but consumers don’t care about you or your product. As self-centered as it may sound, consumers only really care about themselves. Yet, many articles and blogs businesses sponsor continue to pour out content about themselves. Ask yourself if your readers will find the content your company is producing worth sharing. Does it touch upon a subject that keeps your readers up at night?
Your product or service might be awesome, but readers will not engage with you if you’re pushing products on them. Instead, look to create content that is invaluable to them and keeps them wanting more. The content must meet their specific needs and seduce your readers in order to be deemed shareable. I recommend reading Jonah Berger’s STEPPS to creating contagious content for more on that.
3. Organize Content with an Editorial Calendar
Now that you have a guide for your content and have an idea about what it should address, now you must organize it all so that it reaches the right people at the right time. An editorial calendar is an important tool your business should use to manage content. The calendar should include important data such as headlines, due dates and the types of content produced, but should also consider more important factors, too.
A good editorial calendar will map content production to channels for the content, include a list of prioritized content and assigned content creators. There are many online calendars you can use to keep things easy such as CoSchedule. CoSchedule provides an easy to use platform so you can assign tasks to your team easily, plan content frequency and execute your marketing strategy effectively. After all, if you are not planning to create valuable and compelling content, it will not happen.
Your company’s main goal is to create compelling content that readers will enjoy; Thus, rewarding you with repeated business. The business should strive to position itself as a trusted source in its field whether that is selling cars, fixing air conditioners, or repairing shoes.
See it is easy! You probably thought to yourself “I’m not a writer.” That way of thinking must change and you must embrace a publisher’s role in order to reach your audience.