In the digital age, the question “how can I promote my business” has more answers than ever. As consumers are flooded with a barrage of ads and sales pitches every day, the popularity and effectiveness of content marketing has risen. There are different examples of marketing strategies that can work for your business. By providing value for potential customers, content marketing has proven to be a successful marketing tactic for both large corporations and small businesses.
However, creating quality content for all your marketing efforts comes with a handful of challenges. Successful content marketing strategy, which encompasses everything from social media posts to webinars, requires you to constantly generate literature and visuals that will resonate with your target market. With each piece of content, you’re fostering a relationship with potential customers and building up the reputation of your business.
But how can small business owners keep up with the demands of creating quality content to attract new customers? To help you become successful at content marketing, we’ve outlined six steps to a content strategy to help you brainstorm, create, and distribute your content effectively.
Content marketing is a way of attracting potential customers through the creation and distribution of text or visual content. Instead of a sales pitch, you’re consistently delivering valuable information that educates potential buyers and turns them into loyal customers. By recognizing your customer’s needs and pain points, you’re establishing yourself as an industry expert and building customer loyalty.
How can you consistently generate new and interesting ideas that will resonate with your target audience? Brainstorming ideas for interesting content is one of the most difficult aspects of content marketing. Start by investing time in building a content marketing process and automating the daily curation of engaging materials. Collect interesting blogs, Tumblrs, and new sites that publish content that you like and want to share with your audience. Find an RSS feed that works for (Feedly.com is a great one) to gather all your favorite sites in one place so that it’s easier for you to access and get inspiration from.
How can you market yourself to your customers? Well, before you start creating written or visual marketing content, you need to begin with a good understanding of what your target demographic is interested in. It’s vital to know who your audience is and how you want them to engage with your content. What is your audience looking for online? Does your content seek to entertain, inspire, educate or convince? You also need to figure out what their needs are and what other interests or similarities they have with each other. It’s through the process of understanding your audience that you can write or create content that will capture their attention and in the end, their business.
If your business has a website, use a tool like Alexa.com to breakdown your site’s traffic data. You’ll have access to information like audience demographics, the keywords people searched for that brought them to your site, and other sites that your visitors have looked at.
The same content can have very different levels of engagement depending on how you execute it. If you’re sharing an interesting quote on social media, you can either type the text out or transform the text into a visual image. Keep in mind that audiences on different social media platforms also consume content differently and graviate towards different forms of content. For example, if you find an inspiring quote your audience would like, you can share it on both Twitter and Facebook, but your content may find better engagement on Facebook if it is in the form of a visual. A main component of of your content strategy is to figure out which social media platform is the most effective channel to distribute your content on and if your target market is there.
Certain forms of content like blogs or whitepapers take more resource and time to create; they should be SEO optimized to gain more visibility. Optimize your blog posts with relevant keywords by using the Google Keyword Tool. If you have an interesting picture or graph that you’ve created, utilized the clickable hashtag function to increase your content’s exposure. Hashtags are now being utilized across Twitter, Google +, Facebook, and Instagram. Include social share buttons within your content and make it easier for your audience to share your information with their friends.
After you’ve created and optimized your content, post your content on your usual social media channels. The more platforms or sites your content is on, the more people will see it. Besides the top social media networks, there are several other sites (with rapidly growing fan bases) that are great for distributing different types of content. Slideshare and Scribd are just two sites for sharing presentations and documents that are great for both B2B and B2C content distribution.
As with any endeavor, it’s vital to have the right set of tools and resources to implement your content marketing strategy. To help business owners carry out their content strategy for marketing their business, we’ve curated a list of 45 free online tools and resources along with guidelines on how and when to use them. Download our free guide 45 Free Marketing Tools to Promote your Business to help you research, create, and publish your next marketing piece.
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG