Content Marketing Strategy – your way to success!

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:

Your audience

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 (cindymobey@outlook.com) to book your free 30-minute consultation – I look forward to chatting to you about your business.

Reasons why content marketing is crucial for small businesses

Content marketing and its value really can’t be stressed enough – especially in this digital age, where 59% of the global population use the internet. It is an immensely powerful marketing strategy that can help your small business become highly visible to your target audience.

By producing quality content regularly, you build trust, authority, and credibility with your audience, which helps you stand out from your competition.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as…

“…a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

One of the key words here is ‘valuable’ – content that will speak to your potential customers, information that they want and need; information that solves a problem or pain point.

Ways content marketing can help  

Content writing is more than just writing blog posts- it covers any content that you create to attract and retain your customers. But having your own blog on your website has its merits…

These are good enough reasons in themselves, but there are many different types of content marketing – not just blogging. These include:

  • Blogs
  • Video
  • Social Media content
  • Infographics
  • Case Studies
  • Checklists
  • E-books
  • Memes
  • User-generated content
  • Podcasts
  • Customer testimonials
  • Webinars
  • Success stories
  • Interactive content

What does all this content do for your business?

With 59% of the global population using the internet, you have a huge market for your products or services, especially if you trade worldwide. So, let’s look at some reasons for taking time to create all this content.

Get your business found on search engines

With all those people online, there will be potential customers out there looking for exactly what you have to offer. If you are not online, you won’t be found. You can put your business online in many ways. You can set up an online shop, through Etsy or Shopify, or one of the other online shopping host channels, but these do tend to be expensive, especially with the fee increases we’ve seen recently.

Having your own website is a great step to take, as it is yours. You do have to pay an annual fee, but this can be done fairly cheaply, and worth it as your website can not only host your shop, but it can also tell your audience a bit about you, and you can add a blog and advertise your email newsletter all in one place.

The other thing I would definitely advocate is setting up a Google Business Profile, which is fabulous for being found locally. Again, this includes a profile, you can post and share blog posts, as well as adding photos and videos.

More traffic to your website

Linking in with being found on search engines is that content marketing helps push more traffic to your website. If you blog about a problem that you solve or write an article on your website about what your business can do for your customers, when they do a search online, your article or website will appear. Once they’re on your website, it is likely they will have a look around, visit your shop and look at your details…and if they like what they see, they are likely to return in the future.

It’s important to have a CTA (call to action) on every page of your website, which tells your visitors what to do next. You can use these buttons to tell your audience to ‘buy now,’ or ‘sign up for my email newsletter,’ or point them to your courses, training or coaching and to your customer testimonials – in fact, anything that keeps them on your site.

More sales

When a potential customer finds a site they like, or feel that a site speaks to them personally, they will return again and again. And if they are returning, they are more likely to convert to customers.

Make sure that your website includes customer testimonials about the benefits that your products or services give. I always like to read about a product before I buy it, and if there are great testimonials, which show me how a product will benefit me, I’m more likely to press that ‘buy now’ button.

Testimonials are also proof, not just that you have good products, but also you have impeccable customer service, which goes a long way to getting that button pressed too.

Establishes you as an expert

Writing valuable content that speaks to your audience, also has the added bonus of setting you up as an expert in your field. If you’re sharing content that serves your customers and gives them valuable tips or information, they’ll want to know more. Setting yourself up as an expert promotes trust with your audience and engages them to want to know more about you and your products or services…and what’s in it for them!

Enhances your brand   

This might sound a bit harsh, but generally people are not really interested in your brand or in you, they are more interested in themselves – in their wants and needs. It’s not about being selfish, it’s human nature. When someone first looks at your website, shop, social media business page, they are not interested in your brand, no matter how hard you’ve worked on it. They are interested in what you can do for them, what you have that they might like, or something that makes their life easier. This is hard to hear, but it has an upside.

If you are providing something they’re interested in for whatever reason, or if your social media pages entertain or educate them, they will then become interested in your brand, as they will see it, and therefore you, as something they can relate to.

If you are consistently publishing new, unique content on your blog or website and promoting it to your social media pages – or if you are publishing new, unique content to your social media pages, consistently, more people will get to see your name or business name and will start to relate. If they like what they see, they’re more likely to share your posts, or tell their friends and family about your wonderful products or fabulous services, so your audience will start to grow, which is when your brand really shines through. This all takes time and is not something you can achieve overnight.

Helps you compete with your competitors

I’m not talking about copying or doing the same as your competitors, but there is something to be said to ensuring that you’re using the same (and more) marketing channels as your competitors. When your business and brand is not in a place where your competitor is, you’re potentially losing out on business.

It’s worth doing research on your competitors and finding out more about them, so that your business is in the right places to compete.

Improve customer relationships

Having good relationships with your customers goes without saying, we all know that. But it’s even more important in this digital age, as customers have so much choice when it comes to who they want to do business with. And it’s important to remember that customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

Content marketing is the best way to show your customers and potential customers that you understand their problems or pain points…and that your products or services solve those problems. If you have a website, you could add a list of FAQs to help explain how your products or services solve those problems, or you can write about it in your blog or email newsletter.

This really helps improve those customer relationships, instil trust, and encourages them to spread the word about your business.

Helps your overall marketing strategy

Content marketing is just one aspect of your marketing strategy, but it is the glue that holds each activity together to help you grow your business. If you can align all your marketing activities with your content, it will help you achieve your goals and keep them coordinated with everything else you do.

For example, you decide to create an e-book alongside a downloadable checklist. You can promote this on social media, or in Facebook ads. You can also send it to your customers in your email newsletter, and you can promote it on your website. You could even write a blog post about it and how it solves a particular problem. So, just this one piece of content will help support your multi-channel marketing strategy.

Content marketing is good value for your business

Finally, if you research and write your content yourself, it is an economical option and costs you nothing but your time. You’ll learn a lot from the research you do, and you’ll find more content you can use as you go.

Not everyone wants to write their own content, and if your business is very busy, it may be worth you outsourcing some of the copywriting work. This is still excellent value for money, as you’ll be asking for expert help from someone who already knows how everything works and will know about your kind of business.

Conclusion

Content marketing is crucial for small businesses. One of the biggest challenges that you face as a small business is reaching your potential customers. To create brand awareness without access to a huge budget for marketing campaigns, content marketing is your answer. Having the right kind of content marketing strategy in place to ensure that you reach your target audience, will help your business stand out from your competitors and build trust, authority, and credibility with your customers.

If you need help with your content marketing, take a look at my website to find out how I can help you. Or contact me for a free 30-minute chat to see how I can help.

Do you know how to market your content?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Content marketing isn’t anything new, but it is a term bandied about a lot in marketing circles. Those who have always got involved in the traditional kind of marketing would argue that they use content to advertise. But this is the crux of the matter and where the differences lie.

Traditional marketing vs Content marketing

Larger businesses will typically use traditional marketing as it is the kind of content that is pushed into the view of the public. For example, TV commercials, radio ads, print ads, brochures etc. You will see traditional marketing everywhere; on billboards, sides of buses, the ad breaks in the cinema, but they are all high end marketing which require a big budget to reach that large audience.

For the small business, content marketing is the way to go; it involves having a content marketing strategy, which comprises of all types of content being created and then published online in multiple locations. Instead of forcing your content on the public, your content will sit online forever, with the end goal of attracting your ideal audience or customer.

Content marketing is also different in that it doesn’t concentrate on just advertising your products or services, it’s about drawing your audience in by providing useful information that is helpful and solves problems. Your readers can follow you on social media to read more of your content, or follow your blog, in order to find out more. This helps you gain a loyal audience who trust you…and ultimately, will sign up to your email list in return for some kind of offer…be that a newsletter or a freebie checklist or e-book.      

What kind of content can I share online?

When your audience find your content useful, their connection to you and your brand is strengthened. They will share your content, so that your audience widens further. So, what kind of content can you share?

  • Your website copy (this is everything you write about on your business website)
  • Your Blog
  • Social Media posts (status updates, tweets etc.)
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • E-books
  • Printables
  • Guest posts on other websites 

To make your content work, it needs to be optimised for your target audience and it needs to be relevant to the niche you are in.

How do you market your valuable content?

Now you have your content online, what do you need to do to market it?

Website

If you have a website for your business, you can add a blog to it, so you are creating content that people will see when they visit your website.

Email

Do you have a ‘subscribe to email’ button on your website? If not, do it! When you have subscribers, you can send them a monthly email as a newsletter. You can include:

  • Links to any blogs you’ve written
  • Details of new products or services
  • Special offers
  • Send links to videos you’ve produced on YouTube
  • Links to any podcasts your record
  • Links to any articles, news or videos you think they might be interested in (not ones that you’ve done)
  • Generally talk about new trends in the marketplace, a little bit about you and what you’ve been up to, ask questions make them feel like part of an exclusive ‘club’. 
  • You can also enable buttons so that your audience can follow you on your social media channels

Social Media

Share your content to all your social media pages. You will have different audiences on Facebook to those you have on LinkedIn for example, and again different to those you connect to on Instagram.

  • You can schedule your posts, so you’re not constantly on social media (and therefore getting distracted by other things!).  
  • Share the link to your blog in your profiles on social media.
  • Ask questions linked to your content and respond to anyone who makes a comment. In fact, respond to any comment you get and thank people through messenger or private DM for following you.
  • Share you blog posts as soon as you publish them. The more immediate responses, likes and shares you get, the more credibility your post gets.
  • Share your blog posts more than once…share again the next day, with a different caption and image. And again a week later. This way, you will pick up people you have missed, or who didn’t see your original post.
  • If you notice that an old blog post went well and got lots of engagement, then share that again…not all of your posts, just the ones that had great stats.
  • Posts with images get better engagement, so really think about the images you use to entice your audience in. There are lots of free image sites out there (such as Pixabay, Pexel, Unsplash and Canva) that you can download licensed images for commercial use. DON’T just google images and use one as you could be fined for copyright.
  • Join groups on social media and participate in group discussions, giving advice, answering questions etc. This helps get your name known and helps you get seen as an expert in your niche. They also have ‘share your blog post/business page’ type events, which help get your content in front of a different audience.
  • Use hashtags, which categorise your content for your audience.
  • You can also pay to boost your reach on social media.
  • Write a guest post for someone else’s website or blog – you then tap into their audience.
  • Make sure your blog/website has social media sharing buttons, so your audience can click to go look at your social media sites.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Choosing the right keywords will help your content get seen.

  • Google’s keyword planner will help you pick the right keywords and help you brainstorm ideas.
    Log into the Google Ads platform with your account, then choose ‘Tools and Settings’, ‘Schedule’ and then ‘Keyword Scheduler Tool’.
  • Write a long, compelling blog post and use your keyword(s) and variations of it throughout the blog.
  • Optimise your whole post for the keyword you decide on. Include your keyword in…
    – your title
    – your Meta description
    – your main headline (H1)
    – use the keyword frequently throughout your blog post, without stuffing it anywhere – it has to make sense! And you don’t want Google to think you are being spammy!
    – Use related keywords in subheadings and in the first 100 words of your main body of text.
    – use your keyword in your URL slug
    – use keyword and related keywords in your tags and categories

Link building

Internal links: A good way to get your content noticed is to build internal links into your blog post. This simply means that you link to previous posts you’ve written. For example, in this article, you will see highlighted phrases or words – these are links to articles I’ve written about that subject before, so my audience can take a look at those.  

Revisit your older blogs from time to time and add internal links to newer blogs that you’ve written.

External links: where other people link to your blog post.

  • If you send out a newsletter email, ask your customers to share a link to your blog posts.
  • When you publish your blog on social media pages, ask your audience to share.
  • If you publish entertaining or educating blogs that capture your audience’s attention, they are more likely to share.

Headlines

A headline really matters – the ones that seem to get the most traffic are lists, how to, or a question. Also, headlines that contain numbers, e.g. 101 ways to …….

Emotional headlines also seem to hit the mark too, as well as a bit controversial headlines!

Images

Using great images can help market your content. Images don’t just have to be photos; it can be GIFs, infographics, graphics or video. These help capture and keep the attention of your audience.

If you have a Pinterest account, make sure your images can be pinned (shared) by other Pinterest users.

If appropriate, also put a caption on any image as this helps with search engines – images alone won’t necessarily be picked up by search engines, but if there is text, they will be.

Revisit and repurpose your content

Revisit your old posts and content regularly. Revisiting content means you can update it with new information, add new images/infographics and maybe add a short video you’ve made on the subject.

You can also repurpose posts into e-books, video or a podcast. You can also use ideas from them to make social media posts.

Conclusion

I’ve shared loads of different ways to market your content. But the most important thing to keep in mind when marketing is to always have your customer/target audience at the heart of everything you do. Do it for them, aim it at them, and make sure it’s something you know that they will be interested in.

Keep your brand in mind and write in your own particular style – don’t try and copy anyone else. Keep your content original and engaging. Remember, content should always entertain, educate and engage your audience.

If you found this post valuable, please share on your social media site. And if you have any further ideas as to how to market content, please leave a note in the comments box.

Happy content writing and please get in touch if you need help with your content!

Right person, right time, right reasons…RIGHT CONTENT!

brainstorm-4222728_640

business-3189797_640.pngSo, you have your own business and you want to promote it – get your product or services out there. How do you go about it? Where do you start? It’s really important to have a content strategy….as this will help you structure exactly what the needs of your business are and what exactly is the right content for your business.

Anything you put out about your business needs to go to the right people at the right time and for the right reasons….and of course, the right content is crucial.

If the content is NOT right, then the people you are hoping to reach won’t read it. Whatever content you put out needs to be valuable to your potential reader, so make sure your content is useful and relevant – what’s in it for your reader? Does it solve a problem for them? Does it give them a solution that they need?

If you DON’T target the right people, then your content won’t be read and definitely won’t be acted upon. You need to ensure that you know who your audience are – just sending content to ‘people’ in general won’t cut the mustard, you need to be specific.

thought-2123971_640If you don’t send content out at the right time, then you are wasting your time. You need to firstly understand your audience or intended audience – what do your customers want? Do your customers or potential customers have questions that you can answer? Do you have solutions to your customers’ problems? If you are aware of these things, you can plan to put content out at the right time.

If you’re NOT putting content out for the right reasons, you are also wasting your time. When you are writing your business plan for the year, you will include measurable business goals. These goals are usually a reason for sharing some kind of promotional content to pull in more customers, or address an issue that your customers may have. The content you publish won’t necessarily sell your wares, but can help to set yourself up as an expert in your field. This, in turn inspires confidence in your abilities and business, which can lead to those all-important recommendations.

Plan your content for 2016

computer-1185626_640December and January is the ideal time for you to look at planning for next year. It’s time to take stock and look back over the last year – what worked well for your business and what didn’t work so well? Which way are you going next year?

Take the time to look at last year’s business or marketing plan (or both) and decide what you need to change to make next year more successful.

Have you ever asked your customers for feedback? Amongst that feedback, is there anything you can address to make your business more attractive? Do your customers have any problems you can solve? If you can pinpoint what it is that your customers want, that you are not currently giving them, you have the greatest opportunity to truly delight them in solving those problems.

future-2372183_640.jpgIf you haven’t asked for feedback, then why not do it now? Why not send out a short survey asking some questions to help you decide which way to go next year – get your current customers’ opinions and ideas – their input could open a whole new market to you.

Once you know what your customers want and have a new plan for next year, with new goals, you are ready to plan your content strategy and will be one step closer to a successful 2016!