Content Marketing for Small Business, Made Easy

When building your website it's easy to think that once you have created your service and contact pages, you’re done. But this is the point when the real work beings.

Creating content for your website can be a powerful marketing tool for your business; whether it be through articles, blog posts, whitepapers, infographs or reports. It helps those, who may not have previously heard of your business to find you. By creating good content you are providing customers with the opportunity to find you through search engines, through social media and through links from other businesses citing you as an authority.

However if writing does not come naturally to you, it's hard to know where to start.

Make an Editorial Calendar

It's hard to quickly think of content topics when you’re busy. And we all know that hard tasks are the ones that take the lowest priority. So make a plan. Decide how often you would like to publish content and set up a schedule. You should probably look to publish at least 3 – 5 blogs or articles per month. 

Indirectly there is some SEO benefit from publishing regularly. First you give one more incentive for search engines to crawl and index your web site. Second you give an incentive to your readers to come back again and third this combination may give your more exposure, more social media mentions.

Once you’ve decided how often you would like to publish, you then need to decide what it is you're going to talk about.

Capitalize on any cycles and trends that affect your industry. Find out when the key events take place and when relevant statistical data gets released. If your business is influenced by the seasons, provide relevant tips or observations. The key is to provide opinion that showcases your knowledge and ability.

Making Time to Write

It’s important to make the writing process as painless as possible, so it is never a good idea to start writing your content on the same day you want to publish. It adds pressure and reduces creativity.

Break the process into chunks. Brainstorm topics, write bullet points about the chosen topic, then block off a few hours to concentrate and write the article in one sitting. And don't forget to make time to edit the content, before you hit publish. Whether you ask a colleague to read it or give yourself a few hours break before you revisit it, fresh eyes are more likely to spot mistakes.

Once you have a routine established it becomes more manageable and less overwhelming.

Enlist Help

Even if you have experience writing, it can still take a lot of time to create the content, so don't do it alone. Ask your staff members to help. If they do not have the skills to write the content, ask them to write notes on their specific expertise or experience. You can then use these notes to write your content.

You can also consider outsourcing your writing. Prices can vary immensely, according to the length, type and frequency of content you require. But if you are not confident in your writing ability and have a relevant budget, outsourcing could be an appropriate option. When looking to employ a writer, ask for examples of their work and make sure they have a good understanding of what you hope to achieve from the content and who you would like your audience to be.

Content Marketing & Advertising

It's important to remember that content should offer opinion and provide insight. It should not be focused on selling your services or products. By providing useful information, you will demonstrate yourself as an authority and provide potential customers with an element of trust.

Include anecdotal examples from previous jobs, to provide context of your experience, but be sure to ask permission from those customers before including names, locations or photos.

Track the Numbers

Never underestimate the importance of analytics. After all, when you have spent time writing content, it's gratifying to see how it affects your bottom line.

And it's not just the number of visits. You should also look at:

  • How long did they spent reading the article
  • How did they get to your website
  • Where the customer went after they read the content. Did they go to your services or contact page, or did they click off to another site?

All this information will help you understand what type of content brings people to your site, if it’s keeping them there and if they’re converting to become customers afterwards. This will not only help you plan your future content, but will give you insight into your potential market base.

And remember, the numbers won't instantly change. It takes time to build awareness and to understand conversion, but don't get disheartened, small changes often can have a snowball effect, that will pay off in the future.