In this blog post, I take a look at 6 quick ways to plan your content marketing and what content small businesses can share when updating websites and blogs.
Many solopreneurs and SMEs, have a great deal of knowledge they could share with their online visitors.
This knowledge is likely to single them out as authority leaders in their field.
But, the biggest challenge many small businesses face is making the time to:
- Write a content marketing plan including blogs, social media posts, promotions and whatever else they have at their disposal
- Physically engage in the act of writing and committing to a calendar, so it gets done.
And while this post doesn’t offer a magic wand to do it easily, it will offer up some ideas to consider if you’re stuck, or you don’t know where to start.
Why does your small business need content?
Content has been the driving force of many social media posts and has been discussed for many years.
It is seen as the cornerstone of content marketing strategies dominated by large companies.
Small businesses have cottoned on to the importance of promoting their own useful content through social media. The challenge is to do it regularly and consistently.
Where do you start?
Have a clear goal
I think of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, habit no. 2 begin with the end in mind.
It keeps me focused on my main objective and resultant goal.
Start with being absolutely clear about what you want to get out of your content marketing campaign.
What’s your end game?
Is it email signups for your monthly newsletter increase your Facebook page likes, a free download you’re offering or more followers on Instagram.
The goal then influences every blog, podcast, social media post you have in mind.
It’s not about how and what medium you’re going to use to promote your content, but why are you doing it.
My why is simple: I love to write and share what I’ve learned in the hope it will help other small businesses.
My why is I want to be seen as an authentic and trustworthy person who has knowledge acquired through the years of being in business?
And with that knowledge pitch my services to help small businesses writing their content rather than doing it themselves.
Understand your visitors wants and needs
This is about solving customer problems.
Much has been written about putting the customer at the centre of your content universe, customer-centric, and other jargon.
The truth is, that is the truth, without customers, we have no business.
Social media posts must put your customer at the heart of what you do.
You solve their problems first and foremost, but you need to find out what those issues are.
To do that you really need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
That’s okay if you have a plethora of existing customers but not ideal if you are starting out in business.
Both require a different mindset. So, let’s begin with the start up.
You are passionate about your product/service, but how do you find out who your ideal audience is?
- Consider what problems you are likely to solve or have solved for your most recent customers?
- If you are a new business, put yourself in your ideal prospect’s shoes, what do they want?
- How does your product or service make them money?
- How does it save them money?
- How much time can you save them?
- What is it that they don’t have to do anymore if they buy your product/service?
Your content answers the very questions that your prospects are searching answers for.
What you write for an IT person will be entirely different for a Payroll Manager.
For an established business, you know who your customers are so asking them what they like about you, why they chose to work with you will provide the context to create content for them.
What types of content should you share?
List all the ideas that come into your head about your business and what you do.
For example, a cakemaker who bakes celebration cakes.
What subjects can you write or talk about?
- How to make a perfect victoria sandwich
- How to make fondant icing
- What utensils you recommend for cake baking and why?
- What flour is best for cakes and what to avoid.
- When to use baking powder VS Bicarb?
- How to make fondant icing?
- The best recipes you’ve made and would recommend baking
- The funny failures you’ve had and how to avoid them
And so the list goes.
It ends up being a brain dump of all your ideas.
They can be broken down into short posts for Facebook and Instagram or blog posts for your website with links to your YouTube channel to demonstrate how you make a cake.
If you are a small business, you won’t have the resources to accommodate all content types to suit every channel.
You have to decide where you’d like to spend most of your time and what social media channels will be most effective for your business.
Instagram and Facebook are likely to feature for active engagement for the cake maker.
But this will be dictated by the persona profile you’ve created for the ideal visitor/customer you want to engage with.
You make a great start with planning your ideas and slowly but surely the plan drifts to the bottom of the To-Do list.
I’ve used many social media idea planners too numerous to mention here.
But I will say this most of them need to be honed to fit your product or service and some just don’t work, but that’s not to say they won’t work for your product/service.
But what they do offer is a starting point in which to create an idea for your post.
This is an outline of my calendar at a glance:
Monday – is a motivational quote because I like to get myself in work mode and like to share it with my followers.
Tuesday #Tuesdaytip I like to share a tip regarding content writing to help Small Businesses.
Wednesday – Askaquestion day – a bit of fun
Thursday – #ontheblog Self-promotion day for my latest blog and what it’s about
Friday – Anything goes it’s Friday.
Weekend – promotion of a blog post or a funny quote, my family and so on.
Promote, promote, promote
Push your content out there and share it. No matter how good it is, it is useless, if people don’t know it exists.
Optimise your content for Google, play around with paid advertising, monitor the progress and see what results you get.
Regular posting will help you build an organic following on social media, enabling you to use email marketing to follow up with more focussed, personalised news items.
Research and measure
Ultimately your content marketing is designed to generate leads = conversions = customers, so you need your audience to convert, which means they’ve taken some action.
Try different types of content and measure what happens over time. Conversions don’t happen overnight, and producing content means you have to be in it for the long term.
Google analytics and engagement metrics will help define your content.
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge for a small business is regularly posting content. It starts well and then becomes infrequent, and that makes it difficult for people to remember you.
It’s a bit like wearing the same colour jumper every day, you remember the person wearing the same colour, it is familiar, and it’s the same with social media.
Over time people recognise your tone or brand and read your posts and interact with you.
If you leave it for a bit and try to pick it up again, people forget, and you have to start over, that is the downside of social media marketing.
Be consistent with the content you post and consistency in the style which represents your brand.
The topics you choose to share and discuss or offer an opinion contribute to your company’s perceived image.
And that is what makes you memorable and helps you stand out.
Stay committed to your plan and over time you will start to see the results you want.