Ok, so you don’t have tens of thousands of pounds to hire a kick-arse marketing agency and get an influencer to parade your product around, so what can you do?
Content marketing is essentially any text, image, sound, or video that helps you sell your product, service, or brand. For a small business, content marketing is the BEST and relatively cheapest way to get yourself known.
Your small business is invisible unless you can get people to notice it. The easiest and cheapest way to do that — is to invest some time in content marketing. Content marketing can not only increase your reach, but it can build your authority, boost your brand, and convince prospects that you are the right business for them.
Here are 10 easy content marketing tactics you can do right now, that will help your business be found in search and on social media.
1. Start a Blog
I’ve been blogging back when it first began in the dark ages of Dreamweaver and Blogger. There was no notion of SEO or headline optimization, people just shared what they were passionate about and offered solutions and insights for the hell of it.
I think there’s a lot of value in just starting to put your finger on the keyboard and just start writing. Find your style, find your voice, and then worry about supercharging it for search engine domination.
At the start, just remember to tell a good story. Read it aloud or get a friend to read it to make sure it makes sense and get it posted. Then keep on posting, regularly.
Once you’re in the swing of it, start thinking about blog posts that your customers want.
Start with researching your keyword topic and see what people are talking about. What questions are they asking? What’s already been posted. Is there anything you can say better, or explain better? Or is there an angle that hasn’t been looked at yet? Try sites like Buzzsumo and Answer the Public to help with your initial research.
Start with a hook — a fascinating fact or a question or something that makes your customer stop and think — yes that’s me!? I must find out more.
Then have a well-structured middle, using sub-headers, bullet points, or numbered lists. Bold key phrases or words to make it easy for people to scan and process your words. I have the attention span of a goldfish, so really appreciate blogs with short paragraphs or punchy lists.
Once you’re happy with the text, think about how you are going to make it stand out with some added multimedia elements. Perhaps you could break up your text with real images as opposed to stock, create video teasers, add a GIF, make an infographic, or quote graphics using an easy online graphic tool like Canva?
Then, add valuable external links to sites that back up your points or give other information.
Once you’ve posted, don’t forget to promote across all your social channels, and write bespoke copy for each one with researched hashtags.
2. Syndicate or guest post on another site
A couple of weeks after your post is live, think about syndicating your blog to another site. That way you will increase your reach and hopefully gain some new followers as well as boosting your backlinks. It also makes that one blog post work much harder for you.
Try posting your blog on Medium and LinkedIn articles as well. At the end of your blog copy make sure you add a link to where the original post was from on your own website.
You could also look at using Quora or Reddit too!
Or maybe there is a blogger that would welcome a guest post?
What about small publications in your industry? Some of the bigger trade magazines offer expensive sponsored advertorial posts but don’t discount the smaller ones.
Try googling your niche + write for us (e.g. “content marketing + write for us”) and see if there are any sites open to submissions.
Neil Patel has a great article on syndication and how to avoid being penalized for duplicate copy.
3. Launch on a new social media channel
Are you where your customers are? If you are missing a vital channel, then think about launching on to a new one.
Pinterest is a massive channel and one that is usually overlooked, but it can be fantastic for driving traffic to your website. You can integrate Pinterest to your website, so people can pin your images, or you can create your own Pinterest Graphics to link to your blog posts. You can even automate the posting of pins using schedulers like Tailwind.
Pinterest allows you to curate boards related to your product/service range and also other interests that might appeal to your users. Pinterest is VERY addictive, so if you offer content that appeals to the Pinterest demographic, you could do very well on this platform.
YouTube is also the 2nd largest search engine behind Google, so getting on to YouTube could dramatically increase your reach. If you’re not fond of being in front of the camera, why not use Canva to create some slide graphics with voiceover instead?
Just make sure that if you are posting any videos that you create a custom stand-out thumbnail, have some good copy and use at least three hashtags at the bottom of your text.
4. Make videos
Every social media channel is prioritizing video and they all want you to post it natively on their own apps.
Instagram is pushing its 15 second Reels which are in portrait format, but there are also longer IGTV videos too. Reels are quick to do, and you can customize the cover so it fits your square feed.
Facebook also prioritizes native videos, and you can even post video headers too! That’s a great way to quickly showcase your service or product in a 90-second video.
LinkedIn is also pushing the B2B native video that plays automatically in people’s feeds. This is a great platform for showcasing your brand, customer testimonials, or company culture.
If you already post videos to YouTube, think about reformatting it for use on other social media platforms, and adding a graphic frame around it, or cutting it into shorter trailer videos.
For all videos, consider adding captions/subtitles as most people scroll through their social media with the sound off. YouTube has the option to auto-generate captions, but you can also order them for as little as $1.25 a minute through companies like Rev or Clipscribe and then burn them on to your videos for social media or YouTube.
5. Go live
With more people at home, unable to attend conferences, meetings, or networking events, going live is the next best thing.
With dramatic improvements in video latency, live video content has taken off during the pandemic. Live auctions live make-a-longs, live courses, sports broadcasting, live Q&As, the sky’s the limit now. You can go live on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. For LinkedIn Live, however, you’ll have to apply.
Going live is a great way to connect with and engage your audience and show that you know what you’re talking about. The questions they ask and their feedback will provide you with valuable content going forward as well.
6. Write up your case studies
I personally love reading a good case study. Why? Because the detail that goes into explaining the situation, the problem, the complications, the process, and the final amazing result and customer reaction lets me imagine that that could happen for me too.
A well-crafted case study is a great way to turn prospects into buyers. They prove your worth and your ability to deliver success.
However, a great case study will be well structured, contain lots of useful and measurable detail, and show and quantify the value to the client. It should also have high-quality images, or graphics showing the product or service where possible.
Even better…add a video! What about a demo or an animation or even a customer testimonial.
Check out Hubspot for some inspirational and well-formatted case studies.
7. Optimize your website
Is it clear what you are offering to your customer in the first 5 seconds of looking at your website? If not, then consider changing what is “above the fold” so you have a very clear message that states, this is what I can do for you and why you should choose me. Donald Miller’s book “Building a Story Brand” is an excellent resource for nailing your value proposition and your homepage.
You can also look at improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO boils down to giving Google clues about what your website is about. Every element on your website should signal to search engines what the content is about, from the headings to the alt text describing your images. All of this should help your site show up when someone searches for your particular area.
Try conducting a simple self-SEO audit. Check you have a meta description for your site with your keywords in. Check you are using header tags, for example, my sub-header number 7 is a Heading 2, not paragraph text. Check you have relevant keywords on all your pages and lots of lovely value-laden content.
If you are blogging, make sure you are consistently posting as search engines like sites that have fresh, new content.
Finally check your analytics, what pages and posts do your audience most enjoy? What pages are they bouncing away from? What can you do to make them stay?
8. Create some lead generators
All a lead generator is, is a piece of content that you offer, usually for free, in return for a juicy customer email.
I’m very spam email averse so I don’t just hand out my email to any Tom, Dick, or Neil Patel, but if you are offering me some piece of juicy content that is going to SOLVE MY PROBLEM or TRANSFORM MY LIFE in just 10 easy checklists how to steps!? Boom. Sold.
So start thinking about what your customer needs that you could offer for free in return for an email? A checklist? A How-to Guide? A one-page tutorial?
You could create a guide or checklist using Canva and then offer this as a downloadable extra at the end of your blog post behind an email pop-up. That way, even though you are offering a free resource, you are getting an email for potential campaigns later down the line.
Find out what people are asking for or struggling with by checking out Facebook groups, or mining in your social media comments and create something that would help in the short term.
9. Write an eBook
If you have already generated masses of useful content on your social media accounts or on blog posts, think about collating it all into a useful eBook.
Or perhaps you have a load of case studies that you could collate into a brochure.
10. Create a course
If you are unable to offer face-to-face courses, then why not create your own online course. It’s much easier to do that you think, with sites like Teachery and Thinkific offering low-cost plans that just involve uploading pdfs and videos. Any advice that you regularly dispense could go into making up a course, and you could add extra value with video demos.
If you only have time for one of these, go with the blog. Start small and hopefully things will grow.
In Marketing, content is King for a reason, but don’t let it overwhelm you, and don’t attempt to do all 10 at once.
If you only have time for one of these, go with the blog. Start small and hopefully things will grow. If you create quality content, people will like and share what you offer and you will create trust, loyalty, and hopefully lots of paying customers.
For more content marketing tips follow @jfwmarketing on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
This post originally appeared here https://www.jfw.marketing/blog/10-content-marketing-tactics-to-power-your-small-business on the 4th January 2021