When you own a small business, the idea of content marketing can land somewhere on the “where do I even start?” side of your plans. You’ve probably heard that content marketing is a cost-effective way to advertise and know you should be doing it, but you might not be sure where to start or how to get your content out there.
The good news is that content marketing is a lot easier that it seems. In most cases, creating a content marketing plan for a small business simply involves sharing more about what you do via social media and other channels. Chances are you already use tools like Facebook and Instagram. Content marketing just means planning out what you share, how you share it, and when you share it.
Content Marketing Overview
The term “content marketing” refers to a method of advertising where you offer free content to a designated audience as a marketing tool. Content can mean anything from photos, emails, tips, and ebooks to videos, blogs, and podcasts. Content marketing establishes your business or brand as a trusted authority to your ideal customer.
The idea is that when it comes time for the customer to purchase a product or service, your content marketing has raised enough awareness and established enough trust that the customer chooses you.
How to Create a Content Marketing Plan
Creating a content marketing plan can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re already running the other aspects of your small business. However, although plenty of businesses outsource their content marketing to advertising and content firms, it’s completely manageable in-house.
A solid content marketing plan takes the guesswork out of when and where to share content and puts your advertising on autopilot while still giving you the measurable results you want. The best part? Most content marketing is free, so it’s the ideal strategy for small advertising budgets. Here’s how to create your own small-business content marketing plan.
1. Define Your Goals
The most important part of creating your content plan is defining your goals. While increased sales and revenue is the most obvious objective, content can have a more subtle effect on your small business for long-term results. If you’re a new business, raising awareness might be your intent. Other goals might include building a potential customer base, increasing end-user sales, product education, and even community outreach.
Your end goal will dictate the most effective type of content marketing for you, so defining what success looks like to you can give you a better idea of how to get there.
2. Create Your Content
Once you’ve defined your goals, consider the best content to achieve that objective. If you have your sights set on better product education, for example, tutorial videos would be a great place to start. Hoping to establish your brand and foster trust? Content that offers tips or reviews gives you better bearings. If you want to expand your potential customer base, offering free blogs and other helpful content can help you convert followers to customers.
Consider these types of content and how they can suit your marketing needs:
- Photos. Images are great for showing off products or helping users get to know your brand and what it has to offer. Photos are a simple, visual way to convey your content and create and enforce branding.
- Videos. Videos can include tutorials and walkthroughs for specific products. These establish your business as a helpful authority and allow you to show a unique brand personality.
- Blogs. Blogs are a low-contact way to establish your voice and offer value to potential customers. Getting set up is quick and simple through WordPress. Then you can use the blog to answer frequently asked questions, offer advice and checklists, or just keep your customers in the loop about your latest news and product releases.
- Email Subscriptions. Email is still a simple, low-cost marketing tool that allows you to stay in touch and top-of-mind. Subscribers can get regular emails that offer a roundup of your existing videos, blogs, social media updates, and other free content. ConvertKit is a great service for getting started with email marketing.
- Reviews. User reviews create and keep trust in your small business. A stellar reputation and five-star reviews offer a foothold in your industry, even when you’re competing with much larger organizations. You can solicit reviews from past clients in exchange for perks like a discount on future sales, conduct email surveys, and make sure you’re registered for Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews. When you receive great reviews, share them on social media and your website.
- White Papers and E-Books. Have even more to say? White papers and e-books offer even more value to pote
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