For marketers and entrepreneurs, it is no news that to grow and sustain the digital ecosystem content is the most indispensable arm of marketing today. For those who are still new to this buzzword, Content Marketing is
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.
If you are a small business owner yourself, you would have definitely thought of joining the bandwagon. But probably found content marketing for small businesses to be a tough nut to crack. Even though you are omnipresent across the digital ecosystem, understanding content marketing and getting started with it can get tricky.
So, before you start content marketing for small businesses, let’s understand why you need content marketing in the first place.
Why do you need content marketing for small businesses
Here are our best reasons to believe that content marketing is indeed an efficient, effective, and a long-term tool:
- The most important reason of all, a great content marketing campaign boosts the rankings of your business on search engines, thus getting you more visibility online.
- Content marketing costs about 62% lesser than traditional techniques and yields almost 6% higher conversion rate.
- Content marketing for small businesses allows you to establish your brand persona with your audience right away and connect better with them.
- Through content marketing, you can establish a strong brand identity and better connect with your audience.
- With quality content, you can position yourself as a subject-matter expert in your field
If you find these reasons good enough to consider content marketing for your SME, then the following Plan of Action is just what you need to get started.
How can small businesses initiate content marketing?
Everything starts with a plan. A well-designed content marketing plan will eventually decide how well you are received by your audience. Ideally, it requires some amount of professional experience and expertise. And, that is why there are content marketing specialists who can guide you through the challenges of understanding your audience, analyzing their online behaviour, and accordingly deliver the right message at the right time. But before you call your content marketing consultant, here are a few actionable things for small businesses to get started and use content marketing to their best benefit.
Analyze your audience
By studying the online behaviour of your prospective audience, you can decide who want to talk to. It’s as good as building a sales funnel. Content marketing for small businesses can become more effective when you target a more focused set of people. The narrower your audience funnel is, the better chances you have at converting leads.
Define a unique problem that your content aims to solve
What is that one thing your brand can solve, which is overlooked by your competitors? Start by answering common questions around the need that your brand solves. For example, if you are in the business of beauty products, create conversations with your audience around why Indians need specific kind of beauty solutions? Or what are the common skin concerns of Indian athletes? By defining a problem and providing relevant solutions, you can establish expertise in the field or present yourself as a thought leader.
Here’s an example of an Indian grooming startup specializing in male grooming solutions. There’s no dearth of grooming and beauty solutions in the Indian market today. But by addressing specific concerns according to men’s skin types or issues like chafing, Raw Nature is looking at the problems which are not generally talked about.
Decide on the content formats that you want to develop
Consult your content marketer/ content strategist to discover what is trending in your industry space and develop your content accordingly. A good content marketing starts essentially with a comprehensive website. Depending on what type of content your audience is consuming spread your brand message across blogs, infographics, podcasts, videos, case studies, emailers and more.
Being an SME gives you a better advantage of building your own persona through personalized content across these formats. Also, note that having just a content writer for developing all kinds of content might not be the best idea. For specific content needs, you can need to hire specific people like content writers, designers or video specialists, to create unique and shareable content.
Select the channels that you want the content to be present on
Depending on where your audience goes the most, you can select your destination and your content strategist can build a strategy around it. For example, if you are a medical service provider, your business has no good reason to be present on a platform like Pinterest, but rather on medical forums and blogs where patients seek answers to pertinent health and wellness questions. Similarly, if you are a fashion brand, you cannot be away from social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Design your distribution channel
Once you select your preferred marketing channels, you also need to design your distribution model. While some content works great on some platforms, they are not relevant to others. You can consult your content strategist for an effective distribution of your brand content. Visually appealing and creative content like images, photographs, photo-stories, info-graphics etc. work best for Pinterest or Instagram. Similarly, videos are best shared on YouTube for better consumption. Insightful content like case studies and white papers work best for professional networks like LinkedIn. Along with distribution, your content marketer would also help you finalize the frequency of each type of content across their respective channels.
Work on your SEO strategy
This is the most important step to a great content marketing exercise. The SEO expert provides you with the most relevant keywords that will make your brand visibility across search engines. They analyze your competition and run a keyword research. This will give you the best keywords to use, the ideal content length, and how to get backlinks.
However, if you create content only focusing on the keywords, it would not meet the actual needs of content marketing. Ensure that your content is relevant, engaging, actionable, and informative to your audience, as well as SEO-friendly.
Use content marketing tools
Integrate innovative marketing tools in your marketing exercises to save time and costs. And they are also effective in streamlining your efforts of content marketing for small businesses. Consider using Email marketing tools Mailchimp, content organizing tools like Trello and planning tools like Hootsuite or Sproutsocial. These can come in handy at different stages of content marketing.
Have a mechanism to measure the success of your content
This is the last and often missed step on the way to your content marketing adventure. Without analyzing the results of your efforts, you wouldn’t know what is working for your brand and where you can improve upon. For this, you can hire a freelance digital marketer/data analyst. An expert collects metrics from all your brand channels and assesses your audience’s reaction to your content. Consider a monthly analysis to check your content performance and plan the next steps accordingly.
Some small businesses that are doing great content marketing
On a parting note, we share with you some examples of Indian SMEs, who are hitting the right nail with their content marketing techniques.
A Delhi-based beauty and grooming startup, Greenberry uses beauty influencers to become their brand voice. They also strike the right chord with their customers with simple mailer messaging.
A Bangalore-based startup, Qtrove started as an aggregator of curated and hand-made products. They use ‘hand-made’ as their key messaging, through creative communication and target a ‘more evolved’ and ‘niche’ audience segment. With colourful yet simple, and a standard content template for all vendors, they ensured a sustainable model of marketing. Today, Qtrove is one of the most popular marketplaces for sustainable products.
Once a simple trip planning portal, this Bangalore-based travel site has become a hub of quality travel-based content that is instantly shareable. Their core strategy is based on promoting travel destinations using unique content ideas.
The constantly exploding market with complex technology and innovations, increasing marketing channels, and an ever-growing audience can be overwhelming for small businesses. Without a strategic content marketing framework, chances of being in the middle of an ocean are way too high and let’s not forget, expensive. With expert guidance and right ideas, content marketing for small businesses can become a successful brand exercise.