Your 8-Step Guide to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy That Works
Small business content marketing success requires an effective strategy tooled specifically for your ideal customer. Before you ever craft a single word, you must establish a list of marketing objectives and how your content helps you achieve them.
Whether you want to boost brand awareness, direct more traffic to your website, or generate more leads, your content efforts must tie in with measurable goals.
Maneuvering your brand’s content creation and distribution to align with goals requires an upfront commitment. However, a limited budget doesn’t have to hold you back.
You can learn how to craft a content approach that gives you a competitive edge that pays dividends over time by following these 8 steps.
1 – Know Your Audience
Blindly creating content without first nailing down your target audience is a rookie mistake in small business content marketing.
Conducting customer research helps you understand the demographics, interests, pain points, and values that influence your ideal customers’ buying habits. Combine the following research methods for the most comprehensive customer profile.
2 – Set Measurable Goals
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer and understand how to meet their needs, the next step is to set measurable goals for your content marketing plan. The most effective way to determine if your content marketing strategy works is by tying content goals to business objectives.
Using the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) method for setting content strategy helps you identify marketing goals that align well with business objectives. Let’s examine a few of the most common goals and measurable metrics you can track to determine effectiveness.
3 – Create a Content Guide
Some small business content marketing agencies call these content calendars. They may recommend creating a year’s worth of content materials and publication dates for your brand to help improve content consistency.
Mapping out content topics for each month and pairing them with promotional tie-ins that align well with your brand’s products or services isn’t a bad idea. However, don’t over-plan your content to the point that you squash creativity.
Leave room for original thoughts inspired by industry trends and other insights that might not present themselves that far in advance. Your content is more likely to stay fresh and relevant for your target audience if you leave some wiggle room in the planning process.
One way you can get the most bang for your buck is by repurposing content. Finding ways to recycle and reuse your content saves you time and money.
Don’t worry about people realizing you’ve published a specific item before. You might retain customers who visit your digital assets regularly. However, as your brand grows, you’re going to attract new people to your website and social media feeds who have never seen any of your earlier content.
Even if someone views your content frequently, the chances they’ll remember you made the same post 4 or 5 months ago is slim.
Don’t be afraid to take posts that have performed well in the past and republish them again later. If aspects can be updated to provide more value, then feel free to make some minor adjustments before hitting the publish button the second (or third) time around.
4 – Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Never lose sight of the fact that you’re producing content for people, not search engines.
Does that mean you shouldn’t pay attention to SEO best practices for helping your content get found online by consumers eager to do business with your brand? Not at all.
However, getting found by search engines like Bing and Google doesn’t mean much if you can’t close the deal once someone finds your content.
Small business content marketing strategy works best when it includes content that builds brand awareness, educates your ideal customers, and solves problems. The key to creating relevant content that keeps your ideal customer coming back for more is to conduct thorough research, relying on subject matter experts to provide valuable insights not found elsewhere.
Don’t forget to promote your best-performing content across multiple platforms to get the most out of your content strategy.
5 – Distribute on Multiple Platforms
Content that performs well is ideal for this small business content marketing strategy to maximize your ROI.
You can take a blog post that’s generating significant traffic on your website and turn it into smaller chunks of information presented in stunning graphic mode for your social media platforms. Just make sure you’re meeting your audience where they already consume content.
More than 100 social media platforms exist. Narrowing down which ones work best for your brand goes back to the first tip in this guide about knowing your audience.
E-commerce brands do exceptionally well on platforms like Instagram and TikTok because they’re set up for visual success. You can feature photos and videos of your products and services, customer testimonials, and even snippets of your products in action to boost engagement.
A common mistake small businesses make is to try to be everywhere online. The only thing spreading yourself too thin accomplishes is unfocused content marketing that leads to burnout for the person handling your social media feeds.
Start with two platforms your audience frequents and begin creating shareable content that aligns with your marketing goals and prioritizes quality over quantity. Track your metrics to determine if your efforts are producing results.
Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to discover which social media platforms yield the best results. However, give content creation enough time to work before jumping ship. You can expect a solid 6 months to get reliable measurable results.
6 – Diversify Your Content
A solid content marketing strategy uses a variety of formats. While some customers may prefer infographics that deliver snippets of valuable information, others may connect most with in-depth blog posts or instructional videos that educate and entertain.
Go back to the first tip in this guide about knowing your audience. Social media listening is especially valuable for determining the content formats your audience prefers.
As with social media platforms, you’re going to want to experiment a bit before you determine which content types generate the most engagement from your ideal customers.
7 – Analyze Performance
Small business content marketing success relies on analyzing performance data. Otherwise, you’re just taking shots in the dark. Refer to the second tip in this guide to learn some effective ways to track metrics for common small business marketing goals.
Analyze patterns to determine which topics and formats resonate most with your ideal customer. Identify any content gaps where competitors are outperforming you and figure out meaningful ways to plug the holes.
Lastly, review buyer journeys to reveal how prospects interact with your content, then refine your strategy to increase your ROI.
8 – Outsource Small Business Content Marketing
Creating content isn’t as easy as it looks. Designing pretty graphics doesn’t do much good if the messaging behind the visuals doesn’t resonate with your target audience.
Plenty of courses exist for learning how to create content. However, not everyone is cut out for creating content that achieves your marketing objectives.
If you’re a small business owner struggling to use the power of content marketing to build brand awareness and generate leads and revenue, there’s no shame in asking for help to achieve your goals.
Consider hiring small business marketing content creators who can manage your digital assets to reach your audience more effectively. Large agencies may charge more than you can afford. Options include working with independent content providers who align with your budget and take on increased responsibilities as your brand grows.
Outsourcing to the right content creation partner allows you to focus on your core business while still executing a smart content marketing strategy.
Small Business Content Marketing Solutions to Help You Grow
Focus on the 8 tips in this content marketing guide to find the solutions you need to consistently provide value through content.
With a strategic, targeted content marketing strategy in place, your content can effectively attract prospects and convert them to loyal customers over time.
Invest the time to research your audience, set measurable goals, and focus on quality over quantity, and your ideal customers will reward your business with engagement and trust.
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