How does content marketing benefit your small business?
Creating and publishing different types of content marketing for your business will all help in establishing brand awareness, developing brand awareness and communicating with your audience to build engagement and trust between your brand and them. Being the creator of fantastic content is a brilliant way to get ahead of your competitors, to position yourself as not only a thought leader but as an expert within your industry and it’s also a chance to show off that winning personality as a brand too. The more engaging, entertaining and informative the content the more chance you have at winning over potential customers and the hearts of your audience.
So, what formats can content take? Carry on reading this content marketing guide to start your journey into becoming a content marketing guru for your small business.
First things first, get to know your audience.
With all strategies and campaigns, you need a starting point, it can be time consuming, but it’s more than worth the work. Analysing your current audience in the first instance and having customer profiles is the foundation for starting your content creation, because without that knowledge how do you know what to create? Bringing into play the use of analytics tools is a great way to get to know your audience.
Inbuilt social media analytics, Google analytics, SEMrush and AnswerThePublic are all incredibly effective tools to create ideal customer profiles for your business and allow you to understand what your customers are searching for, in turn allowing you to create content that they will love, share and engage with.
Different forms of content marketing for your content marketing strategy.
Now we’re certainly not saying that all of these content marketing methods need to be utilised by each business. However, by getting to know your audience and establishing customer profiles, you can get a feel of what content works best for your brand. Content marketing essentially does involve A/B testing and analysing why something works (hopefully) or, in the early stages, why a technique didn’t work.
It all boils down to finding the techniques that work for your business and engages your audience. That’s why it helps to use a digital agency that have experience with small businesses as they’ve more than likely worked with businesses that have had similar goals to yours in the past.
Blogging – Blog your way to more website visits.
Blogging is the process of writing informative and entertaining articles that are published on your site in a separate ‘blog’ or ‘news’ space on your site, surrounding topics relating to your industry. Blogs can range from anything from how to guides, to covering one of your products or services in more depth. You can literally write about anything that you think may help answer your audience’s questions about your sector and services.
The goal of blogging is to get a higher amount of relevant traffic on your site, ‘relevant’ being the optimal word here. When people search in Google for something surrounding your industry you want your business to pop up as close to the top of Google Search results as you can get. When you appear in Google’s search results, otherwise known as SERPs (without paying for your position) this is called an organic search result. The higher you get up Google’s search results (ideally on the first page) the better your SEO is.
Blogs help in improving your SEO by including keywords your customers search for in your written content. For example, if you’re a floristry business in Leeds you may want to rank for the term ‘Bouquet Delivery Leeds’ so writing and uploading a blog encompassing that topic can help you appear when somebody searches for it. It’s definitely near the top of our list when it comes to effective forms of content marketing that delivers results. Blogging just requires a healthy dollop of time, a full cup of expertise and a sprinkling of creativity.
Website copy – Wow with website content that your audience WANT to read.
Is the written content on your website optimised? By this we mean does your copy include keywords that you want to rank for. Much like blogging, your website content will want to rank for certain keywords that are relevant to your industry. When people search for these keywords in Google, the better the optimisation of your site, the more likely it is you’ll appear in Google search results and the better visibility your business will have online. But optimising your site involves other factors not just including your keywords.
It is also important to make sure that your content is formatted correctly. By this we mean including page titles and meta descriptions for SEO purposes. Page titles help Google understand what your webpage is about and meta descriptions help both Google and the end user understand what your page is about as they appear under the title in Google search results.
Additional ways to optimise your site include:
- Ensuringthat your site is mobile friendly.
- Establishing an internal link strategy to make navigating your site a breeze and encourage users to visit other pages of your site, inviting your viewers to spend longer on your site.
- Images on your site shouldn’t be above a certain file size as this can cause your site to run slower. We recommend that images on your site should not be larger than 500KB. As multiple images that have a larger file size can really affect the performance of your site and that’s a big ‘no no’ when it comes to keeping your audience happy.
- Most importantly you want your call-to-actions to be clear and punchy. Give your audience a call-to-action that’s engaging. For instance, if you sell a product, you could entice your customers with a free sample pack and you can have them order one which would be their call-to-action or next step.
Social media posts – Engage, analyse and build connections with social.
It is pretty much impossible to build a brand nowadays without using social media to leverage yourself. People rely so heavily on social media for product and service research and finding out more about businesses. Facebook being the most popular platform used for conducting product research and the largest demographic of users on Facebook being users between the ages of 25-35.
So, if your products or services appeal to this specific demographic there is a huge audience to target there. In fact, 78% of sales personnel say that they are outselling competitors using social media compared to their competitors who aren’t using it.
But the list of social media platforms to promote your business is growing constantly and not limited to particular demographics. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, amongst others are all opportunities to engage with your public, either organically, using ads or even both if you’re becoming a bit of a social expert yourself.
Collecting fantastic reviews on social media can be the difference between a customer purchasing and a customer not making a purchase from your business. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also allow you to analyse your social media posts and how well your pages are performing in terms of visitors and engagement. As well as what type of posts perform best in front of your audience.
Social Media acts as the perfect gateway into getting to know your audience too. Delving deeper into your audiences likes, dislikes and ultimately what content they like to see is all available by doing background research into your viewers and their behaviour whilst scrolling with their inbuilt analytics software.
Video – The winner of the most engaging content award.
Videos are one of the most popular and engaging forms of content on the internet today. Videos have been proven to perform better on social media platforms and return better engagement results. Studies show that 72% of consumers would rather learn about a product or service through the use of video compared to other forms of communication.
Videos allow you to create a YouTube channel which is the second most popular social platform for consumers to conduct product research on. You can create a whole range of videos for your business, some examples of video content are interviews with your employees about your industry, product launch videos, recordings of customers using your products and reviewing them, the list of things you can create for video content is incredibly long and can see your engagement soar online.
Whitepapers – Become an industry thought leader, expert and source of inspiration.
A whitepaper is essentially an informative document that a business, or not for profit organisation issues to provide solutions around a topic related to the products or services they offer. They tend to be around 2500+ words which on average is substantially longer than your standard blog post.
When writing a whitepaper, you should ensure you fully research a topic beforehand, include an attention-grabbing introduction to initially engage your audience and lastly format the paper so that it is easy to read for your audience.
Whitepapers tend to be a lot more informative than blogs and in terms of research a lot more time and effort goes into this initially. They have a more serious tone and the aim of a whitepaper is to educate and argue the views of your organisation on a certain topic. It’s the type of content marketing that will push your brand forward as a thought leader and an expert that your clients and customers can trust.
Infographics – A picture is worth a thousand words.
Essentially an infographic is a graphic or visual representation of data or information. The purpose of infographics is to inform people but in a more engaging way than simply just using text. The benefits of using infographics are that they are highly shareable pieces of content and a lot more engaging than lengthy pieces of text.
Though whitepapers, articles and blogs serve an important purpose, infographics are used for less formal audiences, for instance on social media and will be used in scenarios where content needs to be quickly scannable, eye catching and catchy. They’re perfect for presentations when you need a piece of content to refer to but not bore your audience. 65% of people are visual learners, so including infographics in your digital marketing strategy is a must!
Podcasts – Connect through audio.
An increasingly popular way to learn, podcasts are ideal for people on the go, commuting, at the gym or simply pottering around at home. Listening to a favourite podcast is becoming one of the most popular ways to keep people entertained whilst getting from A to B and making those more mundane daily tasks more enjoyable. Not satisfied with doing just one thing at a time, those multitaskers turn to podcasts to learn and do simultaneously.
An audio file that is published to the internet for listeners to enjoy, they are an extremely valuable tool to promote a product or service. Podcasts tend to drive very high levels of engagement and are invaluable for being able to create other forms of content from, they even work in perfect unison with other forms of content marketing to create a full campaign. An ideal way to interview people as part of your content marketing strategy too. Podcasts allow you to connect with your audience on a more personal level like webinars, as listeners can hear and engage with the emotion. It’s an effective way to humanise your brand and build on the relationships you have with your customers.
Webinars – A Face to Face education.
Have you ever sat in on a webinar that you thoroughly enjoyed; you wanted more right? Webinars are the perfect marketing tool to educate your audience. They are a live (or sometimes pre-recorded) video stream that is hosted by a company or an organisation. You can have direct interaction with your audience through online video, which allows for Q&A sessions too after you’ve presented to your viewers. A perfect content marketing method to humanise your brand and engage your audience on a more personal level.
They are also one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a wider audience. If your business is only local currently but you’re looking to reach further afield, however far that might be, webinars are the ideal tool to do that. Webinars also allow you to build on your email marketing list by asking customers to sign up initially to join in on the webinar, this allows you to continue with contact after the webinar is over. It places customers at the start of their buying journey with you, meaning that the conversion time between sign up and sale tends to be a lot lower using webinars.
Digital presentations – Slide your way into higher engagement.
Going back to the fact that 65% of people are visual learners means that attractive presentations as part of your digital strategy is also a must. Presentations can be shared throughout your organisation in meetings, over email, with clients, on social media platforms and on sites like Slide Share and Google Slides.
The great thing about presentations is you can create them from existing blogs that have performed well or take individual slides and use them as images in blogs, or on social media as an individual post. If you’re a creative business, you could even create look-books and mood boards that can be published as a presentation too and then shared by your audience.
E-books – The digital library.
An E-book is quite simply put, a digital version of a printed book. It allows businesses and organisations to write in depth about topics surrounding their industry converting readers into leads. Much like a whitepaper it allows organisations to communicate in depth research and statistics, whilst engaging their audience. The number one benefit of E-books is that people who download them are actively seeking for information and to be educated. If you communicate your message effectively to readers, you instantly gain credibility with that person as a brand.
Email marketing – Nurturing your leads through their journey with your brand.
The number one benefit of email marketing? You’re targeting customers that have signed up to your mailing list. These are people that are interested in your brand and your message and they’ve shown it by subscribing to your mailing list. This means that you now have the chance to, what we call, ‘nurture’ your leads.
Email marketing gives you the chance to hit people with emails that take them on a journey with your brand. From an initial welcome email, to offers and fun engaging content, you can turn your email campaigns into leads. 50% of people end up purchasing from an email blast at least once a month so it’s a channel that you most definitely do not want to miss out on.
User generated content – Content straight from the horse’s mouth.
What is user generated content exactly? Well user generated content or UGC, as we like to shorten it to, is content that has been published digitally by a customer or client of a brand. Think reviews, images, tags, comments and direct messages but they can also be blog posts for example if your brand is mentioned in the post.
The main benefit of UGC is that it gives potential customers a real, honest insight into your brand or business and your customer service. Of course, we’re not saying you’re telling porkies when you upload content that ‘bigs up’ your industry or business. BUT imagine if a previous customer uploads a review with images hyping your brand up. They are likely to be a little less biased towards your company and so other people are more likely to take the UGC on board. Ultimately use content marketing to educate but use UGC to back it up!
Case studies – Back up your business with proven results.
Case studies are what some might say the most powerful way to back up your products or services. Phenomenally, 88% of marketers say that using case studies is the most effective form of B2B marketing. People want proof before they invest in a service or product and case studies are perfect to provide this evidence. You can upload them on to your website in a separate case studies section, share them on relevant landing pages, make video content from them or create PDFs to be downloaded.
Case studies typically include a catchy headline, introduction of the customer or client and their problem. Then outline how your product or services provided a solution to that problem, the results and your client’s feedback.
Need a bit of help with your overall content marketing strategy?
We know, that’s a pretty large amount of information to take in and on top of actually running your business you don’t have time to craft a perfect blog or design a wonderfully engaging presentation and upload it to the web AND keep your efforts consistent in addition to all that. But not to worry, that’s our job.
We want to be your digital marketing buddy in a very competitive marketing world. So, if you want to dive into the world of content and build your brand a story and put yourself ahead of your competitors, then get in touch with us for an initial call on how we can get your business out there.