There are only two things in businesses that make money-- marketing and innovation. Everything else is cost- Peter Drucker.
Think of any truer statement than this.
Found any? Yeah, me too.
However, marketing isn't just marketing nowadays. Traditional forms of marketing aren't just cutting it in this fast-paced world and are becoming less effective by the minute.
And what does this mean to you as a forward-thinking business owner or marketer?
There has to be a better way.
Enter content marketing.
Content Marketing is a Surefire Way to Grow Your Small Business and Get the Clients You Want
If you've been around marketers for a while, then the term content marketing isn't something new to you-- but I'll still take you through a refresher course anyway.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing method that focuses on providing valuable, relevant, authentic, and useful content that attracts and retains a defined target audience, to the end that you get profitable customer action from them.
So instead of pitching your products and services to just anyone, you provide useful content that engages, informs, and entertains your prospects while helping them solve their issues. In the end, you stand out as an industry leader and gain the loyalty of your prospects.
"That sounds great but to effectively carry out content marketing successfully, I need a huge budget like Amazon," you say.
These tips I'm giving you don't need a humongous budget and are actually practical to small and large businesses alike. All you need is to incorporate a few into your strategy, test them out, refine them, and finally come and take some more for extraordinary results.
So if you have limited resources, don't fret. These full-throttle actionable tips will give you an edge to compete at the same level even with companies with big budgets.
1. Know Thyself
You don't have to be a Socrates' follower to understand this-- but if you've been to a philosophy class, you're better placed.
Content marketing is all about informing and educating your fans, nurturing them into leads, and retaining them into loyal customers. But you can't educate them in a field you know little or nothing about.
You need to understand your business inside out, your unique selling points, your strategy and how your product can help your target audience solve their problems. Understanding yourself and your business will improve your capacity to understand your prospects and the best content format to reach out to them.
2. Understand Your Audience
Think for a moment.
When you're having guests visit your home, you try to fully comprehend what they like and prepare your dinner menu accordingly, right?
You don't want to be making beef bourguignon for vegetarians.
Starting on content marketing without knowing your audience is like preparing that supposedly great dinner for mystery guests. You can do it well, but it won't make sense if it doesn't vibe or appeal to your target audience.
To save yourself the effort of publishing content that doesn't get read, understand your audience, their pain points, values and who they are.
Don't just say, "They're women above 18 years."
That's too vague. Break it down to the bone.
3. Aim at the Heart with Raw Emotions
Don't just curate content. Convey emotions.
Remember, you're a marketer, and you're in a market of persuasion. This means that you have to get the words that push the emotional buttons of your audience while giving them loads of practical advice. Add an element of surprise here and there and make them feel great about sharing your post.
Even if you don't get anything else from this blog, always remember: emotion is the big daddy of all the viral triggers.
4. Be a Storyteller
Before I started writing this blog, a client just called me to tell me how a certain blog I wrote for her got a spike in engagement and reactions and is driving traffic like crazy. This is what I did for her to get such extraordinary results.
See the power of storytelling?
You already want to know more about the client and what I did to increase her web traffic. Stories will hook your readers and increase engagement, especially on content formats like case studies, press releases and event coverages.
So recount those humorous anecdotes against yourself to illustrate a point, and tell real-life stories that inspire, amuse, and entertain.
5. Solve an Actual Problem
It's all about the issue that keeps your audience up at 2.am at night. If you can help them solve this problem and give them authentic and actionable solutions, then you've won their loyalty.
Don't make the advice too generic. Make it concise, straight to the point and valuable.
6. Use Keyword Tools to Research
The last thing you want to do is write amazing, helpful content that ticks all the boxes but doesn't get read.
That's why you need to carry out proper keyword research before you even start writing. It helps you find trendy topics that your audience is interested in reading and increases your chances of getting ranked on Google.
You can also type your keyword on the Google search bar to see some of the ideas people are searching for the most. Also, visit forums like Reddit and Quora where your audience interacts and see what bothers them at the core and solve it by putting it down in writing.
Pro Tip: Please, you'd rather write excellent content on more competitive terms rather than writing content that isn't competitive. The reason behind this is because most marketers think that if people haven't written about this, they have a higher chance of getting ranked-- big mistake! No one else is writing about that topic because no one wants to read that content.
7. Plan and Outline Your Content
Always plan your content using an editorial calendar to give you enough time to research, collaborate, and curate.
Think of an editorial calendar as a map during a road trip. Without it, you know where you're coming from, where you're going, but you don't know how to get there.
Planning eliminates the last-minute stress and gives you ample time to create fresh and engaging content.
8. Vary Your Content Format
Of course, you love repetition because it gives you a sense of certainty and comfort.
But here's the downside. We human beings, at our core, get bored by repetitive mundane things.
So what does this mean for your content marketing game?
Avoid one content format like listicles only. Try diversifying your content into how-to's, e-books, infographics and so on. This will ensure that your audience does not get bored by just reading the same content again and again.
Besides, it makes your brand a bit unpredictable, and your audience will always be looking forward to new insights delivered differently.
9. Be Timely
You can get a lot of free organic traffic when you hop on the bandwagon of a trendy topic when it's all in range. You can benefit by being in the loop about the current trends, news, events, and press releases in your industry and posting fresh content about it.
Furthermore, your target audience will come to trust you more because of your agility and providing them with quick and timely industry insights.
10. Don't Pitch on Every Post
The reason content marketing works is because your audience reads your blog for excellent content-- not the sales pitch.
You see, whenever someone reads your blog and feels like you already want to hard-sell them something, they get sceptical. They go like. "This blog is trying to sell me X, and so it was clickbait to lure me in." And Phiff! They're gone from your site in a puff of virtual smoke.
Your content helps them know you, fall in love with your brand, and trust you more. When they're ready to make a purchase, you can trust them to think of you first and come back.
11. Tell Your Audience What to Do Next
We call this the call to action (CTA) and is placed at the end of your blog.
You've done a great job keeping your reader engaged to the end, so never let that journey end in a whimper. Always give them clear directions on what you want them to do next.
A call to action can be something like signing up for your email list, downloading an e-book, watching a webinar or leaving a comment. Whatever it is that you want them to do, be sure to state it.
Hot Trends in Content Marketing You can Adapt
12. Go Live with Videos and Webinars
Videos provide a live and highly engaging medium that you can use to communicate with your audience effectively. Besides, they answer questions on the go.
It's also worth noting that it's not everyone who wants to sit down through 30 slides; if you're hosting a webinar, make it very interactive with your audience.
13. Create Infographics and Visual Images
Have you ever clicked on an article and couldn't even read past the first few sentences because it was ad-filled? Oooof!
However, I can bet you'll spend a lot of time looking at a well-written and visually appealing infographic that further illustrates a point.
About 65% of human beings are visual learners, and that's what you should also aim at with your content. Visual content that's appealing, engaging and good to look at-- has high chances of going viral.
14. Go Mobile
More and more people continue to browse through the web using their mobile devices rather than desktops. In fact, a report by Techjury shows that 50% of the traffic comes from mobile devices, which is slightly higher than desktops which account for about 46%.
Make your website mobile-friendly, usable and easily navigable.
Content marketing doesn't end on just curating content and posting it on your website. There's more to it.
It involves a lot of people to make creation and promotion easier. And if you're a small business on a tight budget, then making sure your content gets the maximum exposure is vital.
15. Use Your Own Experts
Everyone is good at something, including some of your employees.
You don't need to hire expensive voice-over artists to do video presentations for you. If someone in your organization has a smooth, soothing voice and excellent communications skills, then you can use them for videos.
However, for issues that take up a considerable chunk of time as writing, you'd rather hire a freelance writer to do that for you. Not only is it cheaper in the long run, but efficient.
16. Write and Ask for Guest Posts
Writing guest posts for other brands in your industry is a great way to get your name out there. Once the blog gets published, you can earn some traffic from the blog and gain a backlink to your website.
If you feel like guest-posting takes time, don't write these blog posts all by yourself. You can delegate these duties to a freelance writer for hire.
On the other hand, by accepting other bloggers to guest post on your site, you get to focus on other essential aspects of your business without neglecting your blog. So it's a win-win for both of you!
17. Involve Everyone in Your Business
You can also make your employees play a participatory role in your content marketing strategy. This includes:
Ask them to present during videos and live webinars.
Post and promote content on the respective social media channels.
Participate in research.
And contribute to your company blog regularly.
Be moderate on this to ensure your employees are not overwhelmed and start becoming unproductive on the delegated roles and important aspects of your business.
18. Leverage on Your Connections
Your connections and relationships are hands down some of the most valuable assets you got. This is because these connections contain valuable information that you might otherwise have to pay to get it.
You can capitalize on these relationships by asking questions on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can then use the answers and questions you get as potential ideas for your blog.
Besides, you can email or direct message some industry experts about a topic and ask them about their unique views on specific ideas. Using these suggestions from industry experts will increase your credibility while getting insane sparks of ideas. However, before quoting any person, make sure you confirm whether they're okay with it.
Promoting Your Content
Content is king. Promotion is Queen.
19. Comment on Related Blogs and Forums
Answering questions and actively participating in forums make you stand out as a thought industry leader. So please spare a few minutes every day to connect with other people on forums and answer their questions.
Please note: Always provide useful answers that are valuable, helpful and actionable. Stray away from promoting yourself too much-- trust me, the organic traffic will come if you do it right.
20. Respond to Comments
Content marketing is about building relationships with your prospects. Make up your mind to reply to all comments on your posts, be it on your Facebook Post, Youtube, Twitter or LinkedIn. Answering these comments shows that you care and want to connect with your prospect at a personal level.
A few minutes dedicated to this will ultimately do the trick.
21. Make Sharing a Habit
Share every content you create as well as any other content you deem excellent even if it's not your own. Sharing your content gives the word about your brand, while sharing other people's content is a sign of goodwill and shows you genuinely want to help your customers.
22. Drop Useful Content to Various LinkedIn Groups
You can join up to 50 LinkedIn groups and many more subgroups. Some of these groups have over 10K members, and each has members interested in a particular topic. You can ensure that you distribute some of your content to these groups.
However, make sure each post is helpful to the audience in that group and does not necessarily spam the discussion area.
23. Link to Helpful Content on Q&A Sections
This works particularly well if a question inspired your post. Answering questions to your prospects solve their problem and brings more traffic to your website. So answer a question and leave a helpful link on where your prospects can find further information on your website.
24. Share Visuals on Media-Related Channels
The recent rise in social media visual-related sites has made it imperative for marketers to tap into their power. This means using great photos, graphics, videos and sharing them on multiple sites.
These sites include Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, Tumblr and Flickr.
25. Mix Creative and True-tried Promotions Tactics
What has worked well for you and your competitors before? Now do that.
You can also use some little-known promotion tactics like supplementing your emails with some out-of-the-box ideas, such as sneak peeks to upcoming events and giveaways.
26. Reuse Content You'd Written Before
Reusing content you'd created before saves you time and saves you the stress of creating content again.
You can do this by:
Embed a video on your blog that relates to it.
Collect related LinkedIn and Quora answers to compile a post.
Combine different but related blogs to make a whitepaper.
Collect emails and newsletter together to create a blog.
27. Revamp and Repurpose Old Content
Old content might not be performing as best as you'd want it to.
You see, tips that worked five years ago might not work as effectively as they did then.
So instead of writing a whole blog post on the same thing again, you can dust it and revamp it to become a solid and current blog post with tips applicable to today's standards.
For small businesses, content marketing is a great way to expand reach, increase engagement, nurture leads and convert them into high-paying clients.
But it's not an exact science.
So, please, don't leave these content marketing tips to chance. Apply at least some of them and come back for more!