SMEs face the weekly job of trying to think up new ideas for their content marketing and I am no exception. But finding the time to implement content planning is equally as challenging.
What platform to spend time on and what to post are a few of the obstacles SMEs face when it comes to planning and thinking up new content ideas.
Hasn’t it all been done before is a common response when I ask potential customers what they are doing to market themselves and their business.
The opposite is true as each of our stories are unique and independent.
Positioning your blog and content as a voice of authority is a great way of encouraging readership but positioning yourself as an expert in your given field.
But with a bit of foresight and content planning, I know it works because I won a mini-book editing job on the back of someone recommending me through reading my blog posts.
1. Something to talk about
Your content planning forms the backbone of your overall content marketing strategy.
What content should I write and share?
Make a list of absolutely anything that comes to mind.
One example might be how you started your company?
What made you take that first step?
What do your customers say about you?
Do you have case studies that showcase how your customers are benefiting from your products and services?
Can you position yourself as expert?
What accreditations or certifications can share with your audience and what was the journey like to achieving them?
These are a few examples of what you can write when it comes to your content marketing and marketing your business.
2. Attracting new customers
Part of your content planning strategy has to involve attracting new visitors to your website, the lifeline of most businesses.
How do we find them? What social media channels do they use? If only we had a magic wand and miraculously they appeared?
Getting your prospective customers to visit your website is half the battle the other bit is making sure your website has enough to hold their interest.
Whilst they are in the research phase they have an idea of what they want.
They have as Yoast refers to as “commercial intent” they are researching before they make a commitment to buy.
Your content needs to take them to the next step which is transactional intent; buy a product or service after they’ve completed their commercial intent research.
This is why it is crucial that your website tells a story about your business and you have landing pages (pages on your website that you want your audience to get to when they have done their research)
Specific and to the point in describing your business offerings is important because the readers then know they are in the right place.
A generic message that sells to all will only confuse the customer.
3. Be visible
Google commissioned a survey in 2019 and found that one-third of SMEs don’t have a website; 71% don’t manage a search engine or map listing for their business.
This is crazy we are in the 21st century and people start with the internet when they are looking for something.
I know companies that have a website presence because they know they need to be online but they are so sort after and are recommended by word of mouth that they never advertise.
If prospective customers can’t find your business, they will never be a customer.
You don’t need to be on every medium and platform but by developing and promoting content on your website improves your online presence.
4. Have the right marketing tools in your toolbox
Let’s face it unless you have a degree in marketing most of us are winging it and learning along the way. Therefore content planning or at the very least having some kind of plan in place helps keep you focussed on the tasks.
There are a plethora of marketing automation tools to help market your business from Hootsuite, BufferApp, Mailchimp and Constant Contact.
Hubspot offers a free customer database.
Embracing the technology that is out there and works best for your business requires some research and discovery.
Yes it takes time and there are costs but it is worth it because in the long run, you can automate your content promotion.
5. I do have an online presence – I have a website?
Many businesses think that because they have a website, they are online and why do they need a content plan?
But there is so much more than having a website ticking over in the background and hoping it does the work for you.
Without regular content promotion, Google won’t necessarily promote you in SERPs (search engine results pages) unless you are very niche specific and are known in the industry.
Have a plan and stick to it.
Decide what content you want to promote and automate it so that it posts to the social media platforms you are active on.
6. Lack of resources
SMEs are strapped for time and money preferring to invest in technology or things that they can visibly see a return.
If there is only one thing you do, make sure your website works and is regularly updated. Far better for it to be working for you than against.
Also, Google My Business, a free tool that helps small businesses manage their google listings.
This listing enables you to add regular company information in the form of short posts.
Lack of time, money, staff and planning means marketing for the SME tends to get punted to the bottom of the never-ending “TO DO” pile.
Lack of planning for any social media activities will result in a very haphazard inconsistent approach to your marketing and will result in few enquiries. FRUSTRATION…
7. Some ideas…
Start with a blog. Of all the low cost marketing tactics you can use to increase awareness about your business; writing useful content is one of the best ways.
Email newsletter to customers
Direct mail using print
Ask for reviews
Your email signature is a great way to promote your products and services include hyperlinks so your customers know where to go to find out more.
One of the strengths SMEs have is their uniqueness and their personal branding which shows the human side and the personality of the business.
The web and social media enable SMEs to have the same reach as large organisations.
With a good content marketing strategy and some planning SMEs can have the same visibility as their larger counterparts.