According to GetApp’s 2022 Email and Social Media Marketing Survey [*], content marketing is the third most used marketing initiative by organizations right behind social and email themselves.
This is unsurprising considering there are many different types of content marketing that serve a variety of purposes for businesses both big and small. Not only is content marketing for small businesses versatile, but the barrier to entry is low and the rewards can be high.
And if you’re not creating high quality content? You can bet your competitors are. When customers seek information online and find reputable sources, they are more likely to trust those sources in the future, and you can be that source.
If you’re a small-business owner or marketer seeking to explore content marketing for the first time, the following content marketing tips will help you establish a foundational strategy that can scale as your business and its needs grow.
Content marketing is the practice of creating text, video, images, graphics, e-books, white papers, and other assets to be distributed through paid, owned, and earned media channels. These assets are used to tell stories that help brands build and nurture relationships with a target audience with the goal of driving awareness, generating demand, or influencing preference and building brand awareness and loyalty.
Different types of content that can be used in marketing include:
First of all, content marketing has a relatively low barrier to entry. With so many different types of content able to be produced, there’s likely a readily available opportunity within your organization to get started.
For example, do you produce product videos on a regular basis? Start capturing extra footage or repurposing unused content. Do you have a writer on staff? You may be able to start a blog, and—even if you’re not producing a piece a week—you can begin to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen subject and ramp up from there.
There’s also the opportunity to create content from customer testimonials, reviews, or other types of user-generated content (UGC) if you don’t have the ability to produce great content of your own (yet). You can source this directly from a social media platform or use software designed to curate and organize UGC for you.
Secondly, engaging in small business content marketing serves to establish trust in your organization. If you produce valuable content that’s informative and enjoyable, your target audience will keep coming back for more. A prospective customer will see your brand as a trusted source of information when they’re learning about a particular subject, and they’ll be more likely to choose you when it’s time to make a purchase.
The first tip that we already alluded to as a reason to use content marketing in the first place is the ability (and need) to play to your strengths. If you’re leading a small business's marketing efforts, you know that resources are finite. This means you need to find ways to stretch the resources you have and get the most out of them at the same time.
When developing a content marketing strategy, playing to your strengths can refer to creating content that gels with your specific product or service or producing content that offers a low barrier to entry.
Some examples of this include utilizing richer forms of media like video and professional photography to show off your products or focusing on blogs and educational video content if your business offers a professional service with technical information to be shared. Functionally, this tactic also refers to taking advantage of the expertise and personnel at your disposal to make your content easier (and better) to produce.
Start a blog if you have a writer available or focus on videos if you’re already making video content. The same can be said for making infographics and eBooks if you have in-house graphic design personnel or leaning on customer testimonials if you lack the resources to hit the ground running with other types of content.
Our second tip has to do with getting the most out of the content you’re able to create. Typically, you can reformat content and repurpose it for other platforms which helps you get more bang for your buck (and your time) compared to content that’s only usable on one specific platform.
For instance, if you create a full-length video for YouTube, why not take some of the b-roll and create Instagram Stories out of it? Or if you source user testimonials for your website, consider creating graphics out of the particularly good ones to be shared on your social channels. A third example would be repurposing blog content as a deliverable to send email subscribers or as material for an infographic.
As you can see, there are a ton of options when it comes to repurposing content, and the benefits are multifaceted. Namely, you save time and money being able to reuse good content, and you can tell a more cohesive brand story across channels.
Share customer testimonials! Look through your available customer reviews to find some examples of glowing feedback. Turn the best quotes into graphics that can be shared on social media or as a section on your website. If you don’t have enough reviews to do this yet, try posting a call to action asking your existing customers for them.
As a natural follow-up to our previous tip, it’s important to ensure your brand voice remains consistent throughout your content, especially if you repurpose content to multiple channels. This can refer to aspects such as visual branding and logos, the tone of your copy, word choice and styling, or even the user experience customers get when interacting with your content.
The more cohesive your brand’s experience is across channels, the more trusting customers will be and, ultimately, the more likely to return. There are a variety of ways to strengthen your customer experience strategy, but molding your content approach with this in mind mostly involves improving the interaction experience.
Put simply, an interaction experience is how a customer feels when interacting with a business. And, naturally, the goal is to make the customer feel good!
Create a style guide that serves to inform the creation of your marketing content. This is a living document that can be shared with outside sources as well. Make sure you’re using a similar tone and language across written content, especially if you have multiple people producing it. The same goes for branding elements like your logo and brand colors.
Our final tip has to do with staying organized, and it’s one that—if you adopt at the very beginning of your content marketing efforts—can have a truly outsized impact on your overall long term success. This tip goes hand in hand with creating a cohesive brand voice since organizing these details can help you become more consistent with what you’re posting, when, and where.
When you begin to think about what type of content you want to produce and where you want to post it, create an editorial system that includes a calendar of all the content you’ll publish. You can start with a data management system or spreadsheet, and if you ever find yourself wanting more functionality a content management system (CMS) is the way to go.
An editorial calendar, sometimes referred to as a publishing schedule, is a living document used by bloggers, writers, publishers, and businesses to plan and control the publication of content across various channels.
Not only will a content calendar help you stay consistent and organized, but it will also help you stay on task and lessen the chance of missing important deadlines and posting opportunities. It can also serve as a bank of your previously posted content which you can refer back to for reposting.
Start small by getting everything you’re currently doing on paper. Use a spreadsheet to fill out things like date, time, platform, copy, links, assets, etc. with the goal of getting an overall view of what you’re currently posting. From there, you can identify gaps in your posting schedule or opportunities to utilize new types of content.
With content marketing being a well-used and effective strategy by businesses in a variety of industries, it’s definitely an approach you should consider as a small-business owner.
Whether you start a blog, ramp up your YouTube content, take advantage of customer testimonials, or anything in between, using this strategy will help build trust in your brand, attract new customers, and increase the loyalty of the ones you already have.
Ready to dive deeper into digital marketing and content strategy? Check out the resources below:
* Email and Social Media Marketing Survey, 2022
GetApp conducted this survey in January 2022 among 299 respondents to learn more about small, midsize and large business email and social media marketing tactics. Respondents were screened for full-time employees of all company sizes that have involvement with marketing-related activities. They must have been working within roles including advertising, brand management, customer experience or service, data and analytics, IT, marketing, product marketing and management, sales or strategic planning and be current email and social media marketing users.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
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