No matter how small your business is, content marketing can work for you if you have a well-crafted strategy for how to implement it.
Creating content and posting it on the internet is a bit like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it out to sea. The odds of someone finding it are slim. Even if someone does, they may not be the person you were trying to reach.
Having a solid content marketing strategy is like having a super power that lets you control the currents, so your message washes up on the right beach at the right time.
So how do you build that strategy?
This graphic gives you some questions to get your mental wheels turning. For a more detailed discussion, read on.
Identify your Content Marketing Plan
Before you can create a piece of content, you need to figure out what your goals are. Are you trying to:
- Build brand awareness
- Influence decision making
- Drive sales
- Grow customer loyalty
- Set yourself up as a subject matter expert?
Content marketing can do all this and more. But you have to give your audience something in return. You have to provide value. How will you do that?
- Will you teach people about something in your industry
- Give them actionable instructions
- Keep them informed about the latest news
- Compare and contrast different options?
What is the overarching message you are trying to communicate and how is your message different from others being broadcast in your industry. For example, my message is “Great marketing is accessible to small businesses and solopreneurs.”
The internet is full of noise. If you want people to notice you, you need to stand out. What is different about your message? How is it new and fresh? For example: My focus is on the smallest of small businesses, so I’m talking directly to you about your challenges and how to address them.
Target your Content Message
Now that you know what you want to say, you need to know who you’re talking to. Who is your ideal client or audience? For example:
This blog is aimed at small business owners , freelancers, and solopreneurs. They’re passionate about what they do and they do it well, but they aren’t sure how to approach marketing. They are mostly likely between the ages of 26 and 55. Many are balancing a small business or independent contractor lifestyle with the demands of raising a family.
So that’s my audience. Now what do they need?
My audience needs easily understandable, accessible instructions on how to market themselves or their businesses.
And finally, how do I find them? This one may take some research on your part. Facebook is always the go-to option (at least as of mid 2016) but that could change. Since, I’m aiming at business people, LinkedIn might also be a good place to post. However, I have a business that isn’t very photogenic, so Instagram is probably not going to be my first choice.
Establish a Platform (or two or three) to Share Content
Knowing what you want to say and who you want to say it to, it’s time to decide how to say it. What type of content will you create? The possibilities are nearly endless. Check out this list from Hubspot.
Your choice depends on where your audience is likely to spend time, and what you’re comfortable creating (or paying for). For example: If you’re a great speaker but struggle with writing, you might opt for a YouTube channel over a blog.
For each channel or platform that you choose, you need to identify your goals. Which brings us to our last step in developing a content marketing strategy.
Track the Results of Your Content
There are lots of tools out there to track the results of your content marketing. Platforms like Facebook and WordPress.com have basic analytics tools built in. Or, if you really like numbers, you can go for something more nuanced like Google Analytics.
However you track your statics, you need to know what constitutes success for each type of content. Are you measuring views, engagement, sales? What is your target and how will you know when you’ve reached it?
Now Get Started
Once you have a strategy all set up. It’s time to implement it. But that’s another post. Come back next week to learn more, or contact me today if you need help building a Content Marketing Strategy tailored to your small business.