5 Basic Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy for your Small Business

July 27, 2016

With the end of Don Draper era of traditional marketing, brands big and small are looking to make content marketing their top customer acquisition strategy. No matter if your business has been present in the market for some time, or you are just starting out, attracting and retaining customers/users is quite possibly your major challenge. To overcome it and stay relevant among multitude of competitors in the niche, you need to keep exploring new marketing techniques and methods.

Among the new ways to establish online authority and attract new users, content marketing emerges as a priority for virtually any type of business. This comes as no surprise taking into account some of the crucial benefits of this approach that make it:

  • Cost effective – investing in content marketing brings long-term results. An earlier study by Kapost and Eloqua revealed that cost per lead is likely to drop significantly with the application of advanced content marketing strategies.
  • More sophisticated – content marketing involves multiple levels of internal collaboration and requires a more creative approach than many other forms of marketing or advertising.
  • Educationalresearch has found that 74% of the general public trusts and demands for educational content from businesses.
  • Less aggressive – as opposed to native and direct advertising, content marketing is less intrusive and often better accepted by target consumers.

 

These four benefits are reasons good enough for virtually every brand to adopt content marketing. Yet to actually make it work, they also need to adopt the right approach to it. Some of the basic steps to take when starting with a content marketing strategy for small business include the following:

      1. Show your uniqueness
         
        First and foremost, your brand image needs to be distinguishable. If your brand exists in the market for some time, and your customer base isn’t evolving, think of improving your image. Your website is your business card, so make sure it has all the information about your services, and a killer design to match it. Luckily, there are platforms such as WordPress that provide easy and cost effective solutions for creating amazing and fully functional websites for any industry out there. Together with creating a unique look and style for your brand, it is crucial to differentiate your business by defining at least one feature or service that your business does better or more than the competition. In order to do this, you need to thoroughly research and meet the competition in the region.
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      3. Know your target user
         
        The second step in a successful content marketing strategy is to define who your ideal users are. Here is where the “less is more” principle comes into play. Contrary to the popular belief that the bigger audience you cater to, the more users you acquire, you actually need to do the opposite. By targeting greater audience, you risk scattering focus by delivering more general content in order to suit everyone thus losing interest of the potentially ideal users. Whereas when you focus on a more specified list of target users you will be able to find out about their

        • problems
        • needs
        • preferences

        so you can start to deliver content that engages them.

      4.  

      5. Content
         
        Once you have gathered all the information about your ideal group of customers, it is time to create content that speaks to them. Here is probably where the sophisticated feature of content marketing beats the aggressiveness of the traditional approach. Today’s user surfs the Internet in search of information on how to solve a problem or get informed about a certain topic and he has a way of completely avoiding ads. Therefore, in order to grab the attention of your target users, your job is to tell a meaningful story that

        • educates
        • intrigues
        • triggers engagement
        • evokes emotion
        • has great accompanying visual elements.

         
        By delivering relevant content that solves problems without self-promotion, you actually create a list of grateful users that trust your content and therefore, they will be much more willing to try your services and solutions. Company blogging the most effective way to link top quality content to your brand. Another very important thing to keep in mind is that you should always prioritize the quality instead of quantity of your content if you want to be perceived as a trustworthy source.

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      6. Create relationships with your customers
         
        The way you interact with your clients is nowadays as important as the quality of your product/service. Thanks to the fast development of the social media, customers’ voice has become louder than ever which is something you should use to your advantage. Depending on the industry you are in, choose appropriate social network to share your content, engage in conversations and gain feedback so you can improve your product. This means, for example, if you are an interior designer, you would use Facebook and Instagram since people relate these two platforms with home, family, friends and beautiful images. By answering questions and comments on social media, you are bridging the gap between your brand and your ideal users who then comment and share your content and recommend your services to their friends and followers.

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      7. Consistent presence
         
        Unlike advertising campaigns that last for a certain period of time only to sell a product, your constant presence and engagement online provides a long term solution for user acquisition. Moreover, it speaks of your reliability, quality and creates trust among consumers.

 

In conclusion, it is crucial that you let yourself and your team be as creative as possible when planning your content marketing strategy and always look for new and more inspiring ways to tell your story. And finally, in the words of the late great entrepreneur Malcolm S. Forbes: Failure is success if we learn from it – so even if your first few tactics do not succeed, keep on trying and exploring new options until you find the one that works.

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