Many small businesses contact me saying that they have no idea how to incorporate content marketing into their business plan. For most, it seems as if content marketing is something that only the big businesses can do due to affordability or accessibility to creative talent. This is a tragic fallacy that small businesses have unfortunately swallowed without question. There are a few ways that you can effectively use content marketing for your business. You can take a few extra hours every week to create content and monitor your web presence, or you can outsource content marketing to a trustworthy company.
Whether you decide to dedicate extra work hours to your web presence or pass it onto someone else to manage, it’s always better to have at least some input rather than none at all. Here are 5 easy and effective ways to use content marketing to help boost your web presence.
5 Content Marketing Tips for Small Business
- If you have a smart phone, start using your brain and take some pictures already! Photos on the job, at a charity event, or of something funny around the office can be great pieces of content for driving engagement. Depending on what the photo is actually of, it can let a possible customer in on how your business operates, or it can expose the more human side of your corporation. Vitrue, aquired by Oracle this year, did a great job of showing off their employees and culture around the office. Check out their blogs or Facebook page, and you will occasionally see photos of an all company breakfast, or of them gathered around a keg at the office for an early cocktail hour. For a small business, Micah from Old Try, “A Southern Print Shop North of Mason & Dixon’s”, kills it with content. I can’t go a day without seeing a new photo of their newest work, of them hanging out at a local bar with friends, or hard at work in the print shop. It requires very little effort for Micah to pick up his iPhone, snap a photo, and upload it to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Micah is also a contributor on my other website, The Trot Line, which helps him extend the reach of Old Try via my readership and through natural link building as well (SEO). The screenshot in this post is from Old Try’s Facebook page. If you think that pictures are a waste of time, check out any Facebook page that seems to be doing well… They drive engagement with photos.
- Unless your in the business of making top secret weapons for the government, you can probably handle getting a few client testimonials. Do yourself a favor by pulling out your iPhone to get those client testimonials on video! People might ask their friends about working with your company, but they also want to know what everyone else is saying as well. I suggest using video client testimonials because you can SEO a YouTube video, and you can also benefit from embedding the video into a blog post on your website. You can gain valuable content on your blog post by transcribing the video into texts as well.
- Write blog posts that interest or edify your (potential and current) customers. Clients often say that they don’t maintain a blog because they don’t know what to write about. This is mostly due to the fact that they are under the impression that blogs are online diaries or places for geniuses to transcribe their pearls of wisdom across the internet. It’s time to erase that misconception, especially when it comes to small business. With a blog, your local business has the opportunity to dominate your local market with well written content that is targeted to your hyper-local market. Let readers know about what’s going on in your industry, new additions or changes made to your company, or take the time to solve a few problems that customers frequently have or search for with Google. This is not only a great SEO opportunity, but it is also a great way to actually help others out. Write for people and the search engines. Usually, these two ideas go together like peas and carrots.
- Don’t forget about e-mail marketing. A large portion of your inbound marketing strategy should involve gathering information of your clients, website visitors, etc. Figuring out a way (honestly) to get people to sign up for your e-mail list is a still a very strong way to market your business with content. Similar to your blog posts, your e-mail marketing should be helpful and informative. Before you press that send button, make sure that you have a great reason for showing up in someone’s inbox. For most businesses, you don’t need to be flooding the inboxes of your loyal fans every day or even every week. A monthly, or even quarterly blast with intent to edify your following is a great way to stick in their mind and offer value at the same time. I really like MailChimp for managing e-mail marketing. They make it pretty easy for folks who don’t have access to graphic designers or coders.
- Write guest blogs. I’ve had the opportunity to write for a few blogs like Search Engine People, or another southern culture website (to compliment The Trot Line.) Writing a guest post accomplishes a few things: 1) It says you’re not a jerk, because you’re really helping someone else by adding content to their site. 2) You are getting cheap, inexpensive exposure to your brand. 3) You are earning natural links from one site to your own. Writing a guest blog post for a site with more authority, a different or larger audience, and is not in direct competition as you will typically help you out. Make sure that the organization that you guest post for shares similar goals and ideals.
These 5 tips for content marketing are pretty easy. However, that does not mean that they don’t require time and dedication. There is a reason why outsourcing the majority of your content marketing is a very popular option among small to medium sized businesses. Whichever way you choose to go, make sure that you have a content marketing strategy built into your business as soon as possible. The businesses who start today have a head start on the businesses who start two years from now (if they’re still open). If you’re a local business who implements all five of these marketing tactics before your competition does, then it’s going to be all that much more difficult for them to get around you and your footprint on the web when they finally start implementing a content marketing strategy as well.
I put together two short case studies last week showing how implementing a content marketing strategy helped these two small businesses be found on the internet.