A Simplified Guide to Content Marketing for Small Businesses
If you own a small business, you know that content marketing is a valuable tactic to increase your online presence.
But for many small businesses, resources are limited. They don’t have a dedicated marketing department, the budget for outsourcing content creation or the time to do it themselves. And since online marketing is always evolving, keeping up with the most current knowledge can be overwhelming.
We understand how hard it can be to create engaging content as a small business. Here’s the good news: You can keep it simple and straightforward, and still yield positive results.
Why Does My Small Business Need Content Marketing?
Whether you craft scented candles or provide accounting services, it’s critical for your business to exist in the digital world so your customers can find you.
Nowadays, most consumers search for products, services and local businesses online. If your business doesn’t have an online presence, it basically doesn’t exist.
So, how does content marketing benefit your business? By providing informational, useful content, you can build trust and respect with your ideal customers while positioning your business as an industry authority.
Well-crafted, thoughtful content also allows you to speak to your customer’s needs and desires. By demonstrating empathy and understanding their pain points, you’re making a memorable connection. You’re also able to show how your business can provide customers with concrete solutions via your products and services.
What Kind of Content Marketing Should I Do for my Small Business?
The thought of content marketing can be overwhelming, especially with so many channels out there. Here’s the thing: you only need a few channels to be successful!
Whether you’re new to content creation or exploring ways to expand your current content marketing, here’s how to decide which type of content channels are right for your small business.
1. Have an Awesome Website
One thing we’ll always recommend is having a website, as it offers so many benefits you can leverage for your small business. Through your website, you can:
- Establish your credibility: An official website will make you look professional and establish the legitimacy of your business. Most of all, it shows that you actually exist and allows people to find you on Google!
- Connect with your customers: The copy on your website will speak directly to your customers’ pain points while providing empathy and education. Plus, a well-made contact page can help you interact with potential customers.
- Showcase your brand: By clearly showing your values, what you stand for and your personality, you demonstrate what makes your business unique while establishing your brand authority.
- Receive leads and conversions: People love free stuff, especially when it provides value. From signing up for email newsletters to downloading a white paper, your website can provide visitors with useful materials in exchange for their email addresses. You can also build their interest in your products and services through your blog.
2. Start & Regularly Post on a Blog
Blogs are a staple in content marketing for many outstanding reasons. Most of the time, they live right on your website, which means you don’t have to mess around with another digital platform. With a blog, you can help drive traffic to your website and increase your business’s online exposure on Google.
A compelling blog is also effective at spotlighting your industry knowledge, which helps build trust with your audience. You can provide value while displaying your personality, which will encourage your visitors to keep coming back for more!
But before you board the blog train, it’s important to ask whether a blog is right for your type of business. Here are some things to consider:
- How does your audience consume content? Deciding on whether a blog is right for your business should always start with your ideal customers and target audience. Which online hubs do they hang out in? Are they die-hard online readers, podcast listeners or social media aficionados? If you determine that your buyer personas do online research and read articles, then a blog will be relevant to their lifestyle.
- How do you want to communicate with your audience? Having a blog gives you the ability to provide in-depth information to your audience. Does that ability align with your business’s brand, services, products and marketing strategy?
- Can you regularly post? Consistency is key when it comes to blogging, and it can be a big commitment. You’ll need to consider whether creating a timely, informative blog works with your schedule. However, you don’t have to post every day to have an effective blog. Here at CCS, we post new blogs every other week.
3. Choose the Right Social Media Channels
Social media can be an effective tool for building the online presence of your small business and interacting with customers. In fact, social networks are one of the biggest sources of inspiration for consumer purchases.
However, many small businesses can struggle with building an audience organically and generating leads. That’s because having a presence and posting regularly isn’t enough.
Think of your social media in the same way you would about your website or blog. Whether your platforms entertain or educate (or both), they need to provide value for your target audience. The more your social media content contributes to their daily content needs, the more your viewers will keep coming back for more.
With that in mind, you’ll first need to determine which social media channels to use. Don’t do all of them; instead, do some research to find out which platform(s) your target audience lives on.
Remember that you’re not speaking to everyone but to a specific group with specific interests, needs and values. Think about their demographics, how they prefer to consume content and which platforms provide their preferred content experience.
For instance, perhaps your audience’s generation is Gen Z, who are more active on Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube. Do a little market research and evaluate which of these platforms best fits your audience and business needs.
Here’s a breakdown of social media platforms so you can determine which best suit your audience and your business:
For Written Content
These platforms are great for sharing written content, from company updates to questions of the day. Besides building awareness, they also provide the opportunity to interact with your audience and conduct market research. Plus, you can easily share links to your website, blog posts, YouTube channel and more!
Media-sharing networks are all about visuals. These platforms are ideal for product-focused businesses, as you can share photos and videos of your products in action.
You can also use these platforms to contribute to your audience’s interests related to your industry. For example, if you run a tap dancing school, you can inform them about the best tap shoes for beginners, demonstrate tap moves and share your favorite tap dancing icons.
For Market Research
Discussion networks are platforms that allow people to discuss information and share opinions. Online users search for and join content threads to share their thoughts and see what others are saying.
While you may not use some of these to post content, they’re a great way to get new content ideas and see what interests your target audience. You can also find discussions on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin!
3 Steps for Successful Small Business Content Creation
Once you’ve decided on your content marketing channels, it’s time to go to work! Here are three beginning steps you should take for your content creation:
1. Build Your Marketing Materials
2. Create or Update Your Website
Whether you need a website or have an existing one, make sure it’s optimized to enhance your online presence. While the design and features will depend on your business needs, your website should always have copy that:
- Speaks to your audience
- Showcases your brand values and personality
- Is easy to read (think 8th-grade level) and is mostly absent of industry jargon
- Provides solutions for your audience
3. Start With a Few Channels & Build Slowly
It’s tempting to want to create content on many different channels, and might even be a fun way to exercise your creative juices. But trying to be everything everywhere isn’t sustainable.
Remember that content marketing is often a long game. Your channels most likely won’t become viral overnight, but that isn’t the goal.
Content creation is about providing value to the right people, so you can build trust, credibility and positive relationships with your customers. Keep investing consistently in your online presence, and allow the momentum to build.
Overwhelmed by Content Marketing? Let’s Chat!
Optimizing the copy on your website, crafting valuable blogs and creating email newsletters can quickly feel like an impossible mountain to climb. If you feel frustrated or are struggling with making the best decision for your business, we’re here for you!