Revving Up Your Small Business: The 6 Essential Steps to Content Marketing

bigstock-Super-Car-Tachometer-Dash-71493577How small businesses can get started with content marketing with these 6 fundamental elements of the game.

Ever wonder if your small business could benefit from a content marketing strategy? Let us save you the suspense: You absolutely CAN. And yet, research by Content Marketing Institute shows that only 27 percent of B2C marketers and 48 percent of B2B marketers actually have a documented content marketing plan. The thing is, most marketers recognize the theoretical value of a content marketing strategy, but lack a clear understanding of how to implement such a plan in a way that works.

To help your small business get started with content marketing, we’ve broken the essentials of inbound content marketing down into six simple steps. Because frankly, not giving content marketing a chance is a bit like folding before you even glance at your hand.

1. What Are Your Content Marketing Goals?

It’s a well-understood psychological phenomenon that people are more likely to achieve goals that are specific, measurable and within reach. Rather than just setting out with some ambiguous goal of “doing better,” outline specific, measurable goals for your content marketing strategy, including metrics and revenue.

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2. Who Is Your Audience?

Ah, the target audience. That often thrown-around inbound marketing phrase that applies to just about everything even remotely related to content marketing. So what is this target audience we speak of? Your current consumers, sure, but also your goal consumers, the leads you want to attract and the people and businesses you ultimately want to become the ambassadors to your brand. To really tap into your target audience, you need to create buyer personas.

  • Create buyer personas by interviewing or surveying your actual customers. Get a sense of their income bracket, their concerns related to your industry, their goals and even their general interests.
  • Other strategies for developing buyer personas can include data mining, keyword research and monitoring social media activity.

By the end of the process, your buyer personas should practically feel like part of the family.

3. Buyer Journey

Leading your audience through the buyer journey is one of the most essential roles of content marketing. The steps of the buyer journey are as follows:

  • Awareness
  • Evaluation
  • Purchase

Each step in the buyer journey needs its own relevant content that helps nudge your audience to the next step. You’ll eventually figure out what works best for your business, but here are some guidelines to go by when designing relevant content:

  • Awareness: Blog posts, infographics and whitepapers are a great way to spread the word about what you do.
  • Evaluation: Case studies, technology guides, webinars and informative videos can help leads gain more confidence in your product or service.
  • Purchase: Finally, free trials, implementation guides and live demonstrations may nudge your audience to make their final decision to purchase.

Remember that every deliverable needs its own call to action.

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4. Dive In

Now it’s time to dive in to content creation! Sound like fun? Well, it is, if you like caffeine addiction and getting really well acquainted with your desk. In all seriousness though, content creation can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of marketing. If you find yourself freezing up, spending way too much time on Facebook and developing the cleanest workspace you’ve ever seen, try to relax and keep these principles in mind:

  • It gets easier with practice.
  • Be authentic.
  • Don’t be afraid to be different, unique and provocative.
  • Avoid analysis paralysis. While metrics are important, stay away from checking them for a little while as you get into the swing of things.

5. Publish Everywhere

Do you ever wear the same shirt to more than one occasion? Assuming you’re not an incredibly pretentious fashionista, the answer is probably yes. Similarly, you should repurpose your content by using it in several different deliverables. Blog posts can easily be transformed into infographics, while infographics can be transformed into animated short videos. Got a whitepaper? Consider creating a professional marketing video out of the content. How about a series of blog posts on a similar topic? Make it an e-book.

6. Promote

Finally, don’t forget this essential final step to content marketing: promotion. Of course, share your content on social media, but also promote it through email marketing and a Google Adwords campaign.

Conclusion

By following these six fundamentals of content marketing, you can help your small business become, well, not so small. And if you’ve really got serious goals, it’s well worth your time to consult with a marketing expert who can help your small business really spread its wings. After all, nothing is worse than a genuinely great company who no one knows about. Expand your audience and give them a reason to care about what you do. It’s what great businesses are all about.

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