Five Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Content Marketing
Content marketing is an excellent way for small businesses to level the field against larger competing brands. To make sure you get your content-marketing campaigns right, let’s take a look at five things your content marketing can’t do without.
1. Start with a Comprehensive Strategy
You know that you should be doing content marketing. The answer is to jump in and do some, right?
Not quite. Before you invest in content marketing—or any other kind of marketing, really—you should know what you mean to achieve with the effort. Otherwise, you risk spending time and money while spinning your wheels. Worse, if your content marketing isn’t directed by your own strategic goals, you’ll probably settle for a cookie-cutter approach, or try to copy things that your competitors are already doing. You can do better than that.
72% of marketers said that having a good content strategy was a major key to their success in 2018. (B2B Content Marketing, 2018)
Content marketing should be just one aspect of your overall strategic marketing plan. Be sure to list every type of marketing you engage in, along with the ways you hope to measure its impact on sales (no one’s got a perfect answer for this one, but give it a try), and the cost of each marketing effort. As a rule of thumb, most small businesses look to spend around 10% of their revenue on marketing.
Once you’re done, you’ll have a much better idea of how you’ll talk about your brand, and who you’ll be talking to. Which brings up our next point.
2. Know Your Customers and Speak Directly to Them
(Because you want to be more customer centric)
The more specifically you’re able to imagine your core customers, the better you’ll be able to convince them to spend their money with you.
That flies against some of our assumptions. We want the largest possible market, right? So why wouldn’t we focus all of our marketing as broadly as possible?
Well, when we try to focus on everyone, we end up focusing on no one. When we take time to define our core customers by age range, interests, and other factors, we’re able to speak to them more authentically, persuasively, and profitably.
3. Sell Less, Teach More
We’re bombarded with sales pitches throughout the day. If your marketing pushes sales too hard, it stands to get lost in the crowd.
When you draw up marketing materials—especially content marketing—be sure that you’re giving your audience something of real value. Think of yourself as a teacher rather than a salesperson. The sales will come, and if your customers think of you as a helpful expert, they’ll keep coming back.
4. Mind Your English
When your materials are sloppily written, you appear sloppy. Bad spelling and grammar are the obvious culprits here, especially since they’re so easy to avoid. Even a single typo tells your audience that you don’t care enough about simple details to spend a minute or two reviewing your text. And if you don’t care about how you present your business, you’ll have a tough time convincing anyone to part with their money.
The strength of your content itself matters, too. Each word matters: content that spends too much time conveying too few ideas leaves readers feeling like they’re wasting their time.
5. Make Sure Your Customers Can Find You
Your content is like a party; SEO is the invitation.No invitation, no guests; no SEO, no readers, and no connection with potential customers.
Make sure that someone on your side, whether that person is in-house or a contractor, understands the current state of SEO, that each piece of content has its own list of keywords and semantically related long-tail phrases, and that each is mapped to your overall marketing strategy. It’s a bit of extra work, but you’ve invested enough time in your content to make sure it’s read by as many people as possible.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
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