Most small business owners understand that marketing should play a role in their operations, but many don’t know where to start. One of the most valuable forms of marketing in 2022 for businesses of all sizes is content marketing.
In this quick guide, we’ll walk through what content marketing is, how it’s changing, and how to build a quality content marketing strategy for your small business.
What is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
It comes down to a business creating marketing assets – content – that provide value and information to a target audience that can be distributed on relevant channels, shared on social media, and ultimately grow the audience over time to drive conversion to sales.
Content marketing is as an indirect form of advertising that speaks to prospective customers and when done effectively and consistently, guides them along to the buy or reach the conversion stage.
How Has Content Marketing Changed Over Time?
While print advertising has existed in various forms since the 1600s, content marketing first appeared in the last century and exploded in the digital age. As advertising increased, many people started to view advertisements as being annoying rather than helpful, which is where more subtle and valuable marketing tactics like content marketing originated.
Other events have impacted the field as well. In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 Content Management & Strategy Survey, 57% of respondents indicated their organization has a strong or moderate desire to add new content management technology as it adapts to a post-pandemic world. This trend is expected to continue for both B2B (as workplaces change) and B2C (as customer research shifts more online).
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy.
Creating content without a plan is likely to be “hit or miss” – thus, developing a content marketing strategy is important. According to Statista, a 2021 survey among marketers found that 97% said content marketing was part of their overall marketing strategies (up from 77% in 2019).
Here are 7 steps to create your very own small business content marketing strategy:
With any strategy or plan, define what you are seeking to achieve. What is the mission of your content marketing strategy? Is it to increase email subscribers? Boost your ranking for key search terms? Increase conversion on your website?
Whatever your mission, make sure the goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Next it’s time to define target Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, for your business. KPIs represent smaller metrics that will help you along the way to reaching those smart goals.
For example, if your mission was to increase email conversions by 10% in 60 days, your KPIs could be the number of email forms submitted on the website, open rate, click-through rate (CTR), etc. Other KPIs that could support a variety of missions include (but are not limited to):
While content marketing might seem like casting a wide net, it’s crucial to have a well-defined target audience. Marketing messages should be crafted to speak to your business’ ideal customer segment in the correct tone while using the right language for their level of knowledge and interest in a solution.
If you are starting a content marketing strategy from scratch, you can base your target audience on the customer groups you are already have as customers or may reach through existing advertising. If you already publish content, you could use your website data to understand the demographics of who reads your content.
Once you know your audience, you will need to decide which channels to utilize for distribution. Every business and strategy is different: some will focus on one channel while others spread out their efforts. Channels to consider include:
Each channel has its pros and cons, so be sure to research where your target audience spends the most time and test whether those channels are effective.
*To learn more about social media marketing check out this post in our Insights Corner.
Now that you have all the pieces of your strategy compiled, it’s time to get organized. Making a schedule for content creation and distribution is key to ensure the strategy is both effective and sustainable in the long-term.
When creating the content schedule, try not to overwhelm your followers by inundating them with content. More is not always better.
If you are sharing content via a blog, consider posting once a week on the same day (or every two, three, or four weeks). For social media, the ideal amount of posts will differ by platform – there are many articles on the data behind this – but ranges from daily to a few times per week.
There are countless tools and platforms to support your content marketing initiatives. Solutions exist to help with content creation, distribution, social media posting, scheduling, design, improving quality, and much more. Some of the most popular tools include:
Keep in mind that every business is different and tools that work for someone else’s company might not be right for yours. It’s also important to consider your budget and what the company is willing to spend on the different resource options (i.e. tools, freelancers, agencies, etc).
Keep in mind that creating high-quality content is the most important aspect of content marketing. No matter how well-established and researched your strategy may be, bad content will not be as impactful.
Spend time to research and write great content that will be valuable to your audience while serving the overall mission of your strategy and KPIs. Then, distribute the content on your chosen channels using the schedule you created. If you do not have time to create and distribute content yourself, get help through a marketing hire, freelancer, or content marketing agency.
(Pro tip: Breef can help you find the right agency for your exact marketing needs. To learn more, visit Breef in your NEWITY Smart Portal.)
No marketing initiative is complete unless it is tracked, measured, and adjusted as necessary. This is also true for content. You should be able to see pretty how content performs through metrics like page views, CTR, likes/favorites, follows, shares, and more. This will increase over time as your audience gets larger, and you will be able to track longer-term KPIs like conversion rates, qualified leads, and increase in revenue.
There are a variety of tools you can use to track and analyze content marketing data, including Google Analytics, Excel, HubSpot, Databox, and more.
Use the results and data you gather to test new methods and make adjustments. If something is not working – a specific type of content or distribution channel, for example – then consider reallocating those resources to try something else.
Like other forms of marketing, content requires patience and a long-term commitment to testing. With your content marketing strategy in place, you will be well-prepared to take on the challenge and reach your goals.
Get Started With Content Marketing
No matter where you are starting from with content marketing, it’s crucial to have the right partner to help you achieve your goals – that’s why NEWITY partnered with Breef to help your small business find the perfect marketing agency for your specific needs.
NEWITY aims to provide its small business members with direct access to powerful solutions. Your marketing ideas can quickly become reality with Breef’s project planning, personalized marketing agency proposals, and contract management — all in one place.