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How to use Content Marketing for your Small Business

Posted on July 28, 2014
Content marketing is the art of communicating with the audience without selling- that's the reason it is categorized under non-interruption marketing. Unlike the traditional approach of pitching products or services, content marketing allows businesses to communicate and interact with prospective customers by sharing consistent, valuable, and ongoing information. This "content," ultimately, helps the businesses develop a loyal and rewarding customer base. Content marketing is not just for small businesses. Some of the greatest organizations like Cisco, P&G, and John Deere actively utilize content marketing, because it simply works. If you are a small business looking to embark on the content marketing journey, there are some fundamental aspects to address from the start.

Document a Content Marketing Strategy

It is important to develop a content marketing strategy that aligns well with your organizational goals. The content marketing strategy is not to be developed in a hurry, as the practice of urgency will only dilute the quality and effectiveness that your content will develop. The implementation phase of content marketing strategy should continue for at least one year. This length of time will allow you to see things in perspective and come up with improvement plans. Some of the most important things you are trying to achieve with a content marketing strategy are as follows:
  • Alignment of content production with business goals
  • Customization and development of content in line with specific keywords, buyer personas, major events, and holidays, campaigns, or different stages of your sales funnel.

Develop a content creation process

Once you have a content marketing strategy in place, it is only logical to get into the next step of content creation. Develop a clear guideline to create, distribute, and measure the content marketing success. To run a successful content marketing project, have your resources allocated and consider the following aspects:
  • Whether you are handling this on your own or have a designated team member, set a clear mandate as to who owns content creation for your business.
  • Clearly lay down what type of content shall be created in line with the target audience. You also need to decide if this task is completed by you, your team, or by a third party. For every type of content from Blog posts, to eBooks, to infographics or videos, you should have a clear goal of what you are trying to achieve. These aspects should be decided in advance and should include a clear thought, ending with a call for action.
  • All types of content should have a consistent channel to organize editing and review. A disorganized process shall result in substandard content that will not achieve the desired effect.
  • Have a clear content calendar and insight into working drafts and completed content. Develop and capture writer specialization as you go through this process. This is particularly crucial for simplifying the process and allocating resources as needed.
  • If you are having an internal team work on the content, make sure to hold editorial meetings to gather ideas and insights. Brainstorming and discussing the latest internal and external events helps to gain valuable and up-to-date perspectives.
  • Find opportunities to create user generated content, including invited guests and internal subject matter experts.

Combine, Reduce, Reuse and Repurpose

  • Work on reusing your content in every way possible. Reduce larger content pieces to smaller ones, expand the smaller ones, and scale up any leads that were left unfinished. Repurposing content in varied formats can give it a new edge; for example, give existing content a video or infographic spin. This lets you reach a much wider audience and makes your content much more targeted and relevant.
  • Create a relevant profile of your business on social media platforms and treat them individually. Don't just publish content, but also repurpose it according to the audience you are targeting and specific goals you want to achieve.
  • Isolate content that performs well and focus on selectively expanding them. Quickly identifying valuable content allows you to expand and repurpose promptly and effectively. Repeat this with every piece of successful content being created. Actively analyze your content assets and revamp them as often as possible to ensure that content keeps working for you.

Analyze Data

  • Track performance through quantifiable metrics and leverage these data points to realign your content production and resources to top performing assets. Very soon, you shall be able to set benchmarks and clearly separate successful content from the not so successful.
  • This will give you an important edge in evaluating performance, defining objectives, and calculating ROI. Rather than "when needed", have a daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual record of key performance indicators to actively review trends and identify new initiatives.

Evolve and Transform

  • Now that you are creating successful content, scale up your strategy and let your content effort expand. Work on integrating content strategies that bring together blogging, social media, email marketing, lead nurturing, and marketing automation, for instance. Keep an eye on how you can further utilize historical and predictive research, tailored copy, and calls for action; always resolve problem spots and adapt to the multi screen audience.

Re-evaluate and Reinvent

Don't ignore re-evaluation of your content marketing strategy when it seems overwhelming, as can often happen in such a dynamic environment. The key is to identify opportunities in advance and develop processes and systems such that you can easily transform your content marketing strategy to keep working for you.

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