Juan Martinez | Content Marketing Institute
Establishing a content marketing approach can be daunting. Even the largest brands with a generous supply of resources to commit to the process often struggle to determine the right method for generating and distributing content. So for small businesses with limited resources and staff, content marketing might seem like an unnecessary luxury.
However, content marketing can build brands, drive engagements and, ultimately, lead to vital conversions. For these reasons, no company — no matter how big or small — can afford to avoid to ignore its benefits.
The following three-step guide to building a content marketing strategy for small businesses can help you turn content into conversions.
Step 1: Start a blog
Before posting content on your blog, you should determine your target audience and its primary interests. For example, Mike Klassen, author of “Increase Sales & Build Deeper Connections: Maximizing Your Content to Boost Sales and Generate Better-Quality Leads,” says “[marketing] content should not necessarily be about the exact product or service you offer but what it’s going to do for your customers.”
Klassen consults small businesses on content marketing strategy. He says he often finds that the notion of content marketing, “scares the hell out of some people.” Despite this fear, it’s essential that marketers blog because, as Klassen also says, “a blog gives people a reason to come back to the site. Most small businesses think throwing up a website and a sales letter should be good enough. But nobody’s sales letter is that good.”
The frequency with which content is posted to a blog should be determined by how motivated your employees are to write. While it’s important to produce enough content to keep readers interested, it’s also important for marketers to not force the issue by posting boring or redundant articles.
“The reality is most people who have a fear of starting a blog don’t have something to say every day,” Klassen says. He recommends posting at least one article each week and increasing output if interest and ambition develop.
Step 2: Distribute your content
Just posting articles to your blog won’t give you the reach you need to connect with prospects. Social media is simple-to-use, cheap, and effective, so to extend your influence, you need to use sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest to share your content.
Klassen recommends brands move beyond “just tweeting and doing a status update.” He says that he urges clients to monitor LinkedIn Answers’ Q&A section to see if people are asking questions about your blog posts. “It’s an ideal place to go in, and answer the question, and share additional content.”
Content distribution isn’t just about sharing your content on social media. Content discovery platforms enable you to integrate content below articles on premium publisher sites so articles are presented to readers who are actively looking to discover new and interesting things. If you have a limited budget, you can use a self-serve platform to determine daily budgets and cost-per-click in order to distribute content to peak audiences for as long as you think the information is relevant.
Step 3: Repurpose your content
Most articles live on a blog’s homepage for a few days and then get buried in an archive. If you’re fortunate, readers will share one of your posts with their friends and the post will continue to circulate several weeks or months after it’s originally published. In order to ensure that interesting articles continue to drive engagement long after their original publication dates, it’s helpful to repurpose some of the most relevant content contained in your posts for use in other interactive formats.
“How you ultimately repurpose your materials will be dependent upon the industry you’re in and where your prospects are,” Klassen says. He recommends webcasts, podcasts, videos, and even PDFs for content repurposing, though he cautions marketers to determine the right channels based on where their prospects are most engaged.
“I did a talk with a group of business people and a woman from a cosmetic brand was in attendance,” Klassen explains. “Video is an obvious channel for the cosmetics industry, for makeovers [and displaying products], for example. Video will be a more likely path for this woman’s content than a white paper or audio would.”