Small Business Content Marketing Strategy

Just as the Lone Ranger, as awesome as he was, would never rush into the bandits’ camp without a strategy, you should never assume that business will be in the bag just because you’ve created a blog or designed a gorgeous website. Until you develop your small business content marketing strategy, your greatest ideas will shine only in your dreams.

Are you looking for simple tactics you can implement today that can get generate the level of traffic you’ve been seeking?

If so, read on and consider building your content marketing checklist from the items provided below.

1. Get a Partner

partner_collaborationRegardless whether your small business is a one-man show or an enterprising five-hundred-man corporation, a great way to lighten the content marketing load is to find a partner to help you generate ideas.

Step One: Determine who you know that knows your business, understands the need for good content, and has the ability to help you develop a great content plan. Non-competitive business owners in your network or niche can be great choices. Together, you can create a brand alliance that provides a broader reach than either of your businesses could achieve alone.

Step Two: Call or email your potential content strategy partner or partners and ask if they’d be interested in joining forces with you for brainstorming and content creation endeavors. You aren’t asking them to write articles for you; instead, you’re asking for them to help you develop a content marketing strategy that can benefit everyone involved.

Step Three: Schedule a time to meet and plan a long-term content brainstorming session. Devising a large volume of content is the most daunting part of content marketing, and many brains make light work.

2. Make Full Use of All Content You’ve Created

content_reuseDid you appear before the local Kiwanis Club to thank them for their support of your community initiative? Why not repurpose your speech as a blog post for all the people that would be interested in your community service but weren’t at the meeting?

Step One: Determine if an existing piece of content can be adapted to suit your online audience.

Step Two: Frame an opening to demonstrate why this information is relevant to your readers. Give them a hook they can’t resist.

Step Three: Consider removing all traces of dated material to make your post as evergreen as possible.

3. Share, Share, Share

What good is great content if nobody sees it? Have a presence on as many social media sites as you can practically support; use a social media juggler like HootSuite to keep your content before your followers without keeping you tied to Facebook and Twitter all day.

Step One: Sign up for social media sites if you haven’t already.

Step Two: Without going overboard, make sure your best content is shared frequently – although any more than a few times a week, and you’ll begin losing followers. If you haven’t posted anything in a while, share something from a few months back that you think will be relevant to readers today.

Step Three: Along with sharing, make sure to add easy plug-ins and widgets to your website and blog posts. Carefully appeal to your readers to share their favorite articles with their friends.

4. Use Variety

varietyThe name of the content marketing game is variety. Who says you have to only use text articles? Why not include a video, infographic, list, or interview?

Step One: Look back over your most recent posts. What do they all have in common? Make a list of glaring ho-hum similarities.

Step Two: Browse other successful businesses in your niche and make a list of fresh approaches you discover.

Step Three: Implement some of those ideas in today’s post.

5. Engage the Emotion

People will make decisions based on their emotions when they have neither the will or nor the ability to accept sound logic. As much as possible, engage their emotions to make your content riveting and shareable.

Step One: Consider the worst-case scenario of what could happen if your audience fails to use your services.

Step Two: Craft a story that brings to life the reasons why they need to take the call to action.

Step Three: Make sure to use touching, heart-wrenching language. Describe the ragged scrapes and deep gashes that can mar your reader’s beloved truck bed if he fails to buy some of your roll-on bedliner. Create urgency without sounding salesy by using stories that aren’t far-fetched.

6. Listen to Your Clients

Another great way to settle the question of “What do I write about” is to let your clients decide.

Step One: Keep a notebook handy and write down every question you can recall clients asking.

Step Two: Use those questions as topics for your writing.

Step Three: Make sure to keep an ongoing list of client questions to keep your content relevant and engaging.

7. Offer Usable Tips

useful_tipsStep One: Brainstorm what your readers might be interested in learning, even if it only partially relates to your business.

Step Two: Decide if you are capable of covering the topic or if you need help writing it.

Step Three: Write it if you can. If not, find a writer who can. Sites like Textbroker and Zerys are great places to find helpful writers who don’t charge an arm and a leg.

8. Stop Marketing

stop_marketingNothing turns people off like a stale commercial.

Step One: Study your latest posts and determine if you have been acting too “salesy.”

Step Two: Limit your marketing to a polite call to action at the bottom of your page.

Step Three: Write this down and don’t forget it: People will respond to someone who’s already helping them. Help them by providing relevant, free information and don’t ask them to respond until you have.

9. Keep it Personal

personal_contentThe old saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Keep your content as personal as possible to make it truly social.

Step One: Pick a client or employee who is doing a stellar job in their particular realm.

Step Two: Write a post honoring that individual for their great work as a former veteran, a Little League coach, a mom, or a post-grad student. Keep it honest but heart-warming.

Step Three: Take note of how much more widely shared this post is compared to others you’ve tried in the past. Remember, enlarging your coast is the name of the game. When people find a company that respects others, they take notice.

10. Invite Honest Reviews

Ever noticed how addicting it can be to read online reviews, both good and bad? Search engines take note of how long visitors stay on your site; one great way to keep them there is to invite honest reviews.

Step One: Take a deep breath and decide whether you can honestly handle it if clients leave negative reviews. Coming back with defensive posturing or hostility won’t help anything. If you feel you have a good chance of receiving mostly good reviews, move to step two.

Step Two: If you feel you can handle honest critique in a public forum, create a post asking for clients to send real feedback that you will post on your site – as long as it’s clean and not over-the-top abusive.

Step Three: Make good on your offer and make sure to publish it all – the good, the bad – just not the ugly.

conclusion

In conclusion, this list is by no means the complete list of all components of a comprehensive small business content marketing strategy, but it is a good place to start. As you should notice, most of these tips are fairly logical when devising your strategy a bit of common sense and logic should be used.

Using a simple one thought approach, simply put yourself in your reader’s shoes and when publishing content, ask “What can help my readers be more effective and/or more successful?”

Furthermore, this content marketing strategy framework will change and evolve over time just as your reader’s needs change and evolve.

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