4 Content Marketing Success Tips For Small Businesses

Content MarketingThanks to guest blogger, Sarah Davidson

Content marketing is all the rage these days, and good quality content seems to be everywhere. As a small business owner, it can feel overwhelming and impossible to keep up with the vast amounts of content being produced and shared via blogs, websites, and social media channels every day. But you don’t necessarily have to keep up with everyone else to be successful.

Why content marketing?

The goal of your small business content marketing strategy should be to share valuable and relevant content regularly with your audience. This content will help you become a familiar and trusted resource for them. When you communicate with them regularly, provide them with valuable information, they remember you when the time comes for them to consider making a purchase.

What are the best ways to do content marketing?

There are a number of popular ways that small businesses create and share their content regularly today. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way.

Regular blog posts are one of the most popular and successful ways you can share your great story (and information about your products and services) with your audience. Here are some additional options to consider:

  • Email or print newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Reports, white papers, and ebooks
  • Social media

4 Content Marketing Success Tips

1. Be Consistent

When it comes to content marketing, really the most important element is consistency, and if you haven’t gotten started yet, “just do it”.

When you are creating a content marketing strategy, you definitely have to take into consideration the time and resources that you and your team will be able to devote to the task. And, don’t take on more than you can handle.

It’s better to produce fewer pieces of higher quality content than to put out a lot of content that isn’t up to par. And if you don’t have the time to devote to it, by all means outsource it to people who can help you.

Create a schedule and stick with it. If your time is limited, you can post new content once per month. It’s better to post regularly on a less frequent basis than sporadically and in spurts. Your audience will come to depend on your schedule and expect your content regularly, whether it’s once or twice a month or three times per week.

2. Do something that you enjoy

Choose a format that you’re comfortable with, because you’ll be much more likely to stick with it. If you like to write, blogging is a natural choice. Video is a great way to connect with people. If you aren’t comfortable being on camera, audio presentations with slides are a great alternative. The bottom line is that if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. That said, don’t be afraid to try something new, because you may be surprised at how much you enjoy something that you thought would be outside your comfort zone.

3. Create an editorial calendar

Create a content calendar, also known as an editorial calendar. This can be in the form of a simple document, entries on an actual calendar (online or on paper work equally well), or using tools such as WordPress plugins if you’re blogging. This helps you stay organized and ensures that you have a steady pipeline of content in the works.

The most basic content calendar should include a list of topics that you want to communicate about as well as the dates you will publish it. You want to ensure that the overall flow makes sense and you are not repeating topic areas too frequently.

4. Start small and then expand

It’s best to get into a regular routine. Start with one or two tactics that you know you will be able to keep up with, such as two blog posts per month and a monthly newsletter. Once you get the routine down, and you find that you have more time and resources, you can add more elements.

What kind of content should you create?

Here are six ideas you can incorporate into your content strategy:

  • Customer testimonials – these are so valuable and can be written or in the form of an audio or video testimonial.
  • Tips and tricks to help solve your customers’ problems.
  • Resources and tools that help your audience.
  • Summaries of news stories and industry information that is important to your audience
  • Educational or training materials.
  • Anything valuable for your audience – it’s about them, not about you and your company!

These should give you some good ideas to help you get started. Have another content marketing idea or tip you’d like to add? Please share it in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you.

About guest blogger Sarah Davidson: Sarah has led marketing programs for Fortune 100 corporations and run several of her own successful online and offline businesses. She is the host of Spark Your Profits, a free web-based marketing education series that is designed to help small businesses grow and thrive. For more information on content marketing and other ways to market your small business, tune into this free program where every week Sarah interviews marketing experts who share their success tips with you.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.

Comments

  1. Yep Debra, I am right on track with your four things. Content marketing is not something that I absolutely love to do but I know that it is a necessary for the success of my business. Thanks for the tips.
    Kimberley Wiggins recently posted…Embracing Your UniquenessMy Profile

    • Thanks Kimberley. If you don’t love to do it, consider outsourcing it to someone who does. then, you can use your time productively to do those things you really enjoy.
      🙂
      ~Debra

    • Kimberly, outsourcing is a great strategy as Debra already mentioned. But remember to just start small, and start by doing something you like. If social media is your thing, try that. Most of all, don’t get so overwhelmed that you don’t actually start! Doing just a little bit on a regular basis can make a big difference.
      Sarah Davidson recently posted…This post is a testMy Profile

  2. Hi Debra,
    Thank you for these tips. Consistency is so important. I find that by participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge is the best way for me to consistently write. I have also just recently began to send out my newsletter on a regular basis. It makes a big difference!
    ~Maryann
    Maryann Candito recently posted…Law of Attraction and Weight Release: Problems & SolutionsMy Profile

    • Maryann, consistency is so important in many aspects of business. Glad to see that you’re getting into the habit of blogging and sending out your newsletter consistently.
      Keep up the good work.
      🙂
      ~Debra

    • Maryann, participating in a challenge or getting together with a group to help keep you accountable is a great strategy! Another thing that really helps with consistency is to create deadlines and “publish” them or tell people about them. If you tell your audience (announce on your blog, via email, etc.) that you are going to start doing a weekly newsletter, then you’ll have to follow through. Just be careful to make sure you don’t over-commit yourself (that’s so easy to do! :-)).
      Sarah Davidson recently posted…This post is a testMy Profile

  3. Debra,
    This is a great list for content marketing! I have no trouble generating ideas for posts, but I do struggle with deciding which post to write when. I have done something that has helped with this, just lately. I’ve decided to incorporate a couple of “series” each week, and that keeps me structured, at least those two days. It’s like having a menu plan: I don’t have to think quite so hard to decide what’s for dinner every single night, if I plan to have eggs every Monday night and pizza every Friday night. And the same with blog posts. A series or two really helps me. Great post, Debra, and I’m sorry it took me so long to get at it. Your post didn’t pop up before mine until I had already logged out, strangely. Anyway–thanks for the note!
    Amy recently posted…A Few of My Favorite (Kitchen) Things: Vintage Tea Towels!My Profile

    • Amy, I’m glad you enjoyed this post from my guest Sarah. Creating a “menu” (aka an editorial calendar) is a great idea.
      On my social media networks, I have Monday Motivation, Wednesday Writers and Friday Focus posts. Sometimes, on I also post a Tuesday Copywriting Tip.
      Having a series related to the same topic is another great content strategy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      🙂
      ~Debra

  4. Great post! thanks for sharing valuable tips on content marketing.
    Jenni Ryan recently posted…Simon Sinek: If You Don’t Understand People You Don’t Understand BusinessMy Profile

  5. What a great list! I admit I am not as consistent with my blogging as I should be. I do send out regular mailings to my subscribers. I like Amy’s idea of weekly series. Perhaps that will help me better with my blog. I love to write but when time constraints interfere it is usually the blog that gets put off until another day.
    Melodieann Whiteley recently posted…Jun 9, Smile!My Profile

    • Melodieann, when feeling bogged down about blogging, another idea to consider is to line up some guest bloggers. I have guidelines I share with those colleagues who post as guests on my blog, one of which is that they share the post with their peeps and that they respond to comments on my blog when folks share their thoughts.
      🙂
      ~Debra

  6. It’s all about the consistent! Because if you can do that, you’ll make the mistakes and make mid course corrections. Great post, Deb!
    Larry Hochman recently posted…Speed To Profit Marketing IntensiveMy Profile

  7. Great tips here Debra. I am trying to be really consistent in what I write about. I try and write daily – with a different focus each day. Keeps me busy, but I love it.
    Liz Delaney recently posted…Friday Findings – CanvaMy Profile

  8. Consistency is key when it comes to content marketing. Making sure that your target audience see’s your information and continues to see it helps them become more aware of your product, and learn more as you are marketing to them. Thank so much for sharing your thoughts on content marketing!

  9. An excellents list that I can add to my reference library. It is lists and information like this that can make the difference between being just okay or being successful. Thanks to both of you for offering this excellent message. Debra, you continue to give us some amazing ideas in your posts not only from you but from your guests and in this case that being Sarah Davidson. I continue to pick up tidbits that are very helpful and doing something you enjoy fits that category very nicely. Too many times we find ourselves doing something over and over and not really enjoying the process.

  10. Hi Debra! Thank God I am already doing the 4 points mentioned in Sarah’s post. It wasn’t always like that though and one simply has to be disciplined and if you drop the ball, just get up again and start again. 🙂

    I’m now experimenting with ‘fusion content’ to see if it adds value to my blog visitors and list.

  11. Hello, Debra. Thanks for sharing the above article. It’s good timing because recently I decided to do an e-zine just when I have good info to share. So instead of once a month, it could be one now and not another for a month or if info comes in constantly, it could be once a week. My thinking was that this way I wouldn’t have to come up with something once a month; a couple of months could go by before I had good info to share. So the idea was it wouldn’t be so stressful and worry if I was late or not. However, the author of the above article frowns on that kind format. I’m tempted to try anyway just to see how it might work as an experiment. For me it’s all about less stress. At the top of my e-zine I had planned to write a little blurb on when to expect the e-zine and why it wouldn’t be consistent. I think if my community knows that then it would be easier for them to accept, and maybe it might be less stressful for them too knowing that they don’t have to look for my e-zine at the same time each month. Also, it could be a surprise if they don’t hear from me in a couple of months; possibly less emails and less decisions for them to make. So that’s why I am tempted to do an experiment for a few months to see how it goes. Thank you for your time in reading this comment. Take care. Rosella Young, AA-1 Designs, Invest in your shelf!

    • Hi Rosella, it’s always a good to test things. However, one way to relieve some of the stress you may be feeling is to create an editorial calendar. Something that outlines what you’re going to post and when. Giving your readers an idea of what they can expect from is a good idea. I don’t think your readers will be stressed out looking for your e-zine, but you risk losing “top-of-mind” awareness by not staying in touch with them on a consistent basis. You might consider surveying your readers and asking them how often they want to hear from you.
      Good luck.
      🙂
      ~Debra
      Debra Jason recently posted…Jim Carrey Does More Than Make You LaughMy Profile

  12. Hmm, thank you for truly amazoing post. I am reading everywhere about being consistent with content marketing, but how much time do you think is needed to see first results from content marketing? I have blogging on a small slovenian market for three years now and still not sure if I am on the right course. Thanks and regards, Matija
    Matija Zajšek recently posted…2 primera kako izkoristiti prostor v stanovanjuMy Profile

    • Hi Matija,
      It does take time to build an audience. Here are some things to consider:
      First, get clear on “who is your audience?”
      What questions do they have and are you answering their questions with your blog content.
      What are your goals with your blog? Are you looking for more followers? More comments from readers? More sales?
      Are you the people you’re trying to reach on social networks? If so, which ones and are sharing your blog posts on those social networks ( i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn)?
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Here’s to your sweet success.
      Debra Jason recently posted…Satisfaction Guaranteed: Gaining Your Customers’ TrustMy Profile

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