A Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Businesses

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What is content marketing — and why should you care?

“Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”

Copyblogger

For small businesses, content marketing is an excellent way of getting visible, getting found online, getting people to like you, and ultimately, increasing your sales.

Content marketing whiteboard

Content Marketing Steps

How do you do this? There are four simple steps:

  1. Create good content that’s related to your business.
  2. Promote that content.
  3. Close the loop: find a way to sell.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

Read more here.

Content Marketing Strategy

But before you start, make sure you have a strategy. Your content marketing strategy should answer these questions:

  1. What are the objectives of your content marketing program?
  2. Who is your audience?
  3. What kind of topics will you cover?
  4. What forms of content will you use – text, video, pictures, podcasts?
  5. Where will you publish this content – on your website, your blog, on a popular industry blog, your social media pages, industry forums?
  6. How will you create this content?

Read more here.

Now let’s take each question one by one.

Content Marketing Objectives

Why do you need to define your marketing objectives?

  1. You know what you’re shooting for. Your messaging, your call-to-action, your design, should all be aimed at advancing your audience towards conversion. What’s conversion? It’s the action you want your audience member to take, like buy your product or forward your newsletter to a friend.
  2. You can measure progress. It’s not enough to just set a vague objective (“I want more sales”): you need specific, measurable targets (“I need to increase sales by 10% every month.”)

Dig deep to figure out what your most important objectives are. Ask yourself (or your boss):

“Why do I want this?” Or, “So what?”

Read more here.

Target Audience

Who is your audience? Who are the people who are going to read and share your content and ultimately, buy from you? If you know nothing else about them, you should know this:

  • What are their interests?
  • Where do they hang out online?

Read more here.

Content Topics

How do you decide what topics you should focus on? Your topics should be:

  1. Of interest to your audience, and
  2. Related to your business.

Read more here.

Content Forms and Channels

What form will you create your content in, and what channels will you publish them on? There are many questions you need to answer to figure this out. What are your skills and strengths? What does your audience prefer? What resources do you have?

Decide on a mix that works for you and your audience. Read more here.

Why Me?

Hold on, why should you be creating all this content?

Because you can. And because you’re the best person to do it.

There are three reasons why you, the business-owner, should be creating marketing content.

  1. Knowledge
  2. Authenticity
  3. Responsiveness

Remember:

Since you know the ins and outs of your business, you’re the best person to communicate to your audience and answer their questions…

That’s the big advantage small businesses have in marketing. Why wouldn’t you want to use that advantage?

Read more here.

But I’m Not A Marketer!

Yes, you are. As the business-owner, marketing is your job. But how do you create marketing content if you don’t think of yourself as a writer/creator?

You read and research. You get help. You answer your customers’ questions in the way you know best. Get more tips here.

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