Do you have a content marketing strategy? A lot of small businesses don’t – and if you are one of those businesses, you are missing out on planning your way to success!
A content marketing strategy includes all the things you do to attract, engage, and keep your audiences’ attention, by creating and sharing content, such as blog posts, videos, newsletters, podcasts, and social media content. In fact, anything and everything that keeps your business in your audiences’ minds when they decide they want to buy what you offer.
The strategy is about the planning of that content so that it achieves your goals and is aimed at your specific target audience.
You can’t achieve your goals if they aren’t clear, and you know what steps you need to take to achieve them. Your content is what helps you achieve those goals, so that you grow your audience, and push them towards your website, online shop or whatever you want them to do.
Why is the strategy important to your business?
I’ve seen lots of people on social media saying that they want to grow their business and it’s just not happening.
Is this you?
You’re consistently posting on social media, you might have a newsletter, you show your products or services, publish your blogs, pay for ads – and are consistent – but still you’re not getting as much business as you hoped.
If you’re doing all this and don’t seem to make much progress towards your goals, it’s likely that you don’t have a content strategy in place. It could also be that your goals aren’t realistic.
Content marketing is a long game – it’s not something that you can implement and get results within a few months. That’s why so many big companies have a whole marketing department. They know that they need to have people working on it constantly and over a long period of time to get any return on what they do.
With the right strategy in place, you can:
- Generate leads
- Raise your brand awareness
- Engage your followers and target audience
- Retain your current customers
- Position yourself and your business as an expert in your field
You can’t just wing it!
Unfortunately, content strategy isn’t something you can wing! You need to conduct research, know your target audience, know what keywords to use and have a clear idea of your buyer personas.
Most small businesses will know their target audience(s), but quite often still post and focus on what they believe to be important or interesting, rather than what their audience and perspective customers need and want. Having a strategy addresses this matter.
If you do take the time to develop a content strategy, and work to it, you should expect to see growth over the first six months.
It’s not a secret that creating content is time-consuming, but writing short blog posts, or putting up a social media post just because you haven’t done one today – or trying to put out three posts every day, means you’ll probably do something quickly, just to get it out – and this could end up with you losing out in the long run.
High quality content helps you to rank better in Google, helps you to build trust with your customers and followers, brings you leads and importantly, helps you to convert those leads into customers.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for short-term content strategies, as these can produce some instant results, but a long-term strategy will allow you to build a rapport with your audience, provide real value to them and keep your business in the front of their minds long term. Long-term strategies also tend to build bigger audiences and don’t concentrate on the hard sell, which puts a lot of people off.
How do you build a content strategy?
Your content strategy is the foundation of your customers’ journey with you. It helps you have better customer satisfaction and helps you with sales.
These are the things you need to know and include:
Who will be reading your content? Who is your target audience? Do you have more than one?
Create a buyer persona for each of your target audiences – this will help you tailor content specifically for them.
What problems do your products or services solve?
What are the benefits and features of your products/services? What are your customers’ pain points and how do you solve them?
What makes your business unique?
What do you do that is different from your competitors? What makes your products/services better than theirs?
It might be that you have years of experience; you might have a distinctive way of speaking to your customers (your tone of voice).
What are your business goals?
This is very important as you need to know what goals you want to achieve, so you can tailor your content to help you achieve those goals.
What kind of content format will you use?
Bear in mind that you need your content to reach your customers, so where do they hang out? This might be social media, a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, and of course an email newsletter.
Once you know what format you need to use to suit your audience and to reach them where they are, think about your budget and what you can afford to be able to use all these channels effectively.
Where will you publish your content?
Linked to the previous point, where you publish your content will depend on where your audience are. This might be your website, or social media. If social media is a big part of your strategy, which sites will be best for you? Which sites do your audience use?
If you target a younger audience, you might want to opt for TikTok and Instagram.
How will you manage your content?
Once you know what channels you’re going to use, you need to think about how you will create and publish all your content. Will you be doing it all yourself?
Have a plan, and plan at least two weeks ahead, so you know what posts are happening and when. For social media, you can batch-create content and schedule it in advance. Blog posts and email can also be planned and written ready for publishing.
If you plan your content around a particular theme each week or month, it makes content creation much easier. If you write a blog, or have a podcase, you can also repurpose that content to make social media posts/videos.
Make sure that your content tells your customer how you can help them solve their problems, use your unique voice, and try and weave in your overall business message.
I try and use the 80/20 rule for my content. 80% entertaining, engaging, educating, or inspiring my audience and only 20% sales posts.
Your strategy also needs to:
- Ensure your content points your audience to your website or online shop…or somewhere they can get more information
- Be cost-effective
- Include an audit of the content you’ve already published. Look at your insights on social media to find out what kind of posts work best you’re your business. And, if you blog/podcast, look at your stats to see which articles/episodes are the most popular. What works and what doesn’t?
- Does your current content align with your goals, and will it help you achieve it? If not, you may need to look at changing what you do and how you do it.
There are loads of different types of posts you can create to keep your audience interested, and to help you achieve your goals.
Content Marketing is all about reaching your target audience with the kind of content they want to see, in a place where they hang out.
Planning and having a strategy are key and will really help you achieve your goals, reach your audience, build trust and rapport with your followers…and ultimately make those sales.
If you’d like help with your content marketing strategy, I’d love to help and get you moving towards building your audience and growing your business. Contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book your free 30-minute consultation – I look forward to chatting to you about your business.