We know it when we see it: that cool new video, the thoughtful how-to article from a favorite business, or the eye-catching image that starts buzz around a brand. These are examples of content marketing in action, and if your small business isn’t exploring it, you should ask yourself: Why not?
Content marketing is effective because it offers value to the viewer beyond a simple ad. Whether it’s a blog, social media post, or “viral” video, content marketing can be entertaining, inspiring, or share a bit of expertise that can help your customer. It’s something they’ll want to bookmark, re-post, or share with friends. And most importantly, it builds a positive perception around your business. In fact, the blog post you’re reading right now is an example of content marketing at work!
While we usually hear about the content marketing efforts of big brands, small businesses should jump on this opportunity, too. Because it’s low-cost and easy to create, custom content is a perfect way for small businesses to connect with a wide audience and to build a following for their brands.
So, if you’re a small business owner, give content marketing a try. Here are five steps any small business can take to get in the mix:
1. Define your objective and your brand voice. Content marketing shows your business’s personality. Knowing how you want to appear to the world will help you decide the type and tone of content to create. What do you want viewers to think and feel about your business and what it offers?
2. Determine where your business’s expertise and your audience’s interests intersect. What topics do people tend to come to you for help with? And who is most likely to be attracted by those topics while surfing the web? Focus on content you can create with confidence or otherwise run the risk of sounding inauthentic.
3. Develop multiple themes to inform the types of content you want to create. For example, if you own a bakery and your core customers are young moms, create content around children’s birthday parties, fun and unexpected baked good pairings, or family holidays.
4. Decide the smartest way to deliver your content. Where do your customers spend their time online? Are they plugged into social media? Do they read blogs? Have they opted in to your e-mail newsletter? Meet your audience where they are. Then, be consistent. Don’t spam your followers, but make sure you put out enough fresh content to keep people interested and coming back for more.
5. Test, measure, and repeat! Content marketing is low-cost, and you’ll see results in a short amount of time. If something doesn’t get a lot of response, take note, adjust, and try something new!
For more ideas and to talk with other business owners, check out the Google Small Business Community, where we’ve dedicated the full month of May to #ContentMarketing. We’ll be posting daily tips and tricks, and you can also tune into our video Q&A event with content marketing leader Buzzfeed. RSVP for the Q&A here.
About: The Google Small Business Community helps businesses succeed on the web by connecting them with experts and each other.