Have you come across the term content marketing? If so, have you ever found yourself wondering what a content marketing strategy for small businesses like yours may look like and how it could help you promote and grow your business?
In this post, I’m going to share information about different types of content and real-life examples of how you can use content for your small business. But first things first, what is content marketing?
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation of online material (content) that doesn’t explicitly promote your business but is designed to create a genuine interest in your products or services. When I say content, it could be blog posts (much like the one you’re reading), videos (live or pre-recorded), audio content (like a podcast), social media posts, or visual images like memes or infographics, for example, that you could share on Pinterest or Instagram.
The key here is that content marketing isn’t direct selling. And it’s not advertising either. When creating and sharing content about your business, you should really do this with a view to educate your ideal clients about why they need your products and services. Your content should focus on how you can help them.
Another (great) ‘side effect’ of content marketing is that you get to showcase your knowledge, your experience and expertise, and the key messages and values of your brand. Over time, this allows your prospective clients, who will be consuming your content and engaging with it through comments, likes, and shares, to develop that know, like, and trust factor that is so important in helping them make the decision to become a paying customer.
So how can you use content marketing to your advantage?
1.Create regular content
Content marketing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It won’t work overnight. And there’s a good chance you won’t see tangible results for a while. But over time, you’ll start to notice that your clients signed up to a class or bought a product from your website because they saw your Facebook posts, watched your videos, or read the blog posts on your website. The best way to set yourself up for success is for you to pick a medium (written content, audio, or video, for example), a channel you’re comfortable with and that your audience seems to like, and create regular content in that space.
If you’re just starting out, you should aim to create at least one piece of fresh content per week (or two if you can). Only when you have a considerable amount of content you should consider reducing the frequency, but at the beginning consistency is key.
2. Interact and engage with your readers
So, let’s say you’re a fitness instructor. Perhaps you’ve decided to share a daily photo on Instagram of the type of work you do with your clients. Post consistently for a few weeks, and you’ll start to see your following increase. Your followers will come to expect that daily photo in their feed from you. They may even miss it if you don’t post for a day or so!
Answer any questions or comments you receive and start to note down what people post. Pay attention to the type of content that gets the most engagement, and create more of the same. This will give you precious information and insight about your ideal clients’ needs and pain points, which you can use to adjust and tailor not only your content but your offers too! You can also use Google Analytics (for your website) or social media tracking tools to track what content is most popular so that you know to create more content like that in the future.
So let’s have a look at some examples of (regular) content you could create.
3. Write Blog posts
You have an amazing opportunity to showcase your talents and the virtues of your business through your own website. So make use of it! There’s no limit to the number of blog posts that you can write and publish. So unleash your creativity and publish written content that your ideal clients will find not only useful and informative but also engaging.
- Help them develop trust in you and what you offer. Remember that to nurture leads through the customer journey they need to know. like and trust you.
- Show them (with words, photos, and case studies) that you’re an expert at what you do.
- Answer their questions – address any doubts or objections they may have about buying from you.
- Tell them why your business is the solution to all their problems!
Written content is also extremely helpful because by learning how to create search-engine-friendly content, you increase your chances of being found when your ideal clients head to Google with a question. This is called Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO). Generally, if you are writing really good content which is being read, shared and linked to, then that is a sign to Google that you are good at what you do – a positive signal as such.
4. Create Videos
Broadly speaking, you can create two types of video content – pre-recorded and live. Live streaming is becoming more popular with platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram stories. The benefit of live video is that you can interact with your audience in real time and adjust and tailor your content accordingly. You can then download your live videos, edit them if needed, and upload to platforms like Vimeo or YouTube. Pre-recorded videos can also be shared on YouTube and on social media or uploaded to your website. They can even become an important part of any teaching material you may have.
In 2019, the vast majority of content consumed online will be video, so if you’re not using this medium already, you’re missing opportunities. People feel they can get to know someone a lot more through video – it’s easier to relate and connect to someone when you ‘see them in action’. So creating video could be a great content strategy for your business.
For example, if you’re a Health Coach, you could record yourself preparing some of the recipes that you regularly share with your clients. This would be a great asset for existing clients and also a way for new customers to find out about you and your work.
5. Launch a Podcast
Do you listen to podcasts? Over the last few years, the number of podcast shows has literally exploded. There are podcasts on any topic you can think of (and quite honestly, on topics you’d never think of, not in a million years).
I have recently started my own podcast, the Feel Great podcast, the topic being health and wellbeing for working mums. One of the reasons for me doing this was to see how easy it is to actually create a podcast. I keep telling my clients to do it, so I need to practice what I preach and at least know the process. It’s not that easy, to do it well, but there are some steps that you can take to make it simpler.
Why are podcasts so popular?
The reason why podcast shows are so popular is that they provide an easy way to reach people ‘on the go’, while they’re doing something else. You can enjoy your favourite shows while going out for a run, doing your workout at the gym, cooking, walking the dog. I like to do the ironing when listening to podcasts! Much like video, a podcast is a great way to create a deep connection with your audience. You’re in their ears day in and day out, keeping them company while they do other things, and your prospective clients feel like they know you! When they’re ready to buy from you, they will!
6. Visual content and social media content
By visual content, I mean images, photos, quote cards or memes, pinnable images, infographics, digital posters or banners, etc. The most popular visual platforms out there at the moment are probably Instagram and Pinterest. Visual content is well-contained and brief. And that’s a great asset in this busy, loud world. It’s easy for people to share, save, forward on, comment on, and generally engage with. It’s memorable and easy to consume and is ideal for visual learners with a photographic memory. So don’t’ forget to explore this avenue.
Visual content is ideal for sharing on social media.
Generally, the algorithms of all social media platforms are said to be displaying more visual content in their users’ feed rather than written content with no images or video. However, the beauty of social media is that you can share written content too. So complement your images or photos with relevant text. Granted that not everyone will see it or read it, but it may be a great way for you to connect with prospective clients. When I post on LinkedIn I always try and use an accompanying image as people seem to engage much more, than when I just write text. It stands out more. You can use Canva to create branded images that you can use on social media. Video content also works well on LinkedIn.
Connect with me on LinkedIn if we are not already.
7) Did you know you can re-purpose content?
What do I mean by that? Re-purposing content means turning existing content that you originally created in one format into a different format. So if you’re a massage therapist, you may have written a long blog post on why having regular back massages is beneficial for you. Can you turn that into several shorter social media posts? Could you turn the post into a video? Or into an infographic? Re-purposing your content allows you to reach a wider audience as well as people with different learning styles and preferences. It also saves you time as you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, and it allows you to reiterate your core values and beliefs, which will help your clients better connect with you.
8) Don’t forget to promote your content!
If you’re putting in all the hard work in creating this amazing content, don’t forget to share it! So promote, promote, promote!
Share your content wherever you can (without spamming) through all your channels in different forms and formats, if appropriate for your audience. Always try and reach your audience where they are. The idea ‘build it and they will come’ doesn’t work anymore – you need to help your prospective customers find your content. I read somewhere that you should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of the time promoting it, which would seem quite a lot, but you get the gist. If this blog post takes me a couple of hours to write, then its definitely worth me taking some time to promote through my networks. In addition, I can ensure its SEO friendly so that potential clients searching in Google can find it.
Do you need my help?
If you’d like some help to craft an easy and effective content marketing strategy for your small business, don’t forget to get in touch. I can help you find ways to create and share consistent content that will help you put your brand on the map. Just get in touch to find out how I might be able to help.