Content Marketing Tips, Best Practices and Strategies
As with any small business marketing campaign, it's important to create a solid strategy and to employ best practices. Our content marketing experts share their content marketing tips for small business.
1. Clearly define your target audience
Know exactly for whom you're developing content, notes Stobbs. Develop specific personas, such as a working mother in her mid-30s who lives in the suburbs -- to inspire whatever you create. "If you don't have a specific target in mind, everything you create will be fundamentally flawed," Clayton Stobbs says.
2. Optimize with relevant keywords
3. Link your Google+ profile
Anyone who creates online content should have a Google+ profile linked to the site on which they post content, Delamarter says. This helps the content -- presentations, blog posts and such -- rank higher in Google search results. (Read Google's explanation for linking a Google+ profile to your content.)
4. Develop content your audience cares about
To get content ideas, use the Google Adwords Keyword tool to understand what people are searching for, Colwell at MediaWhiz suggests. Also, read questions on topics relevant to your business posted on Yahoo Answers, Quora, and other answer sites.
5. Make your content easy to share
The more that people share your content over social networks, the greater your chances are of attracting new, targeted customers, says Colwell. Always add Facebook Like buttons next to your content, as well as icons for sharing on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Stumble Upon and other social sites.
6. Put a business hook in your content
"If you're not putting some kind of potential hook to future business into your efforts, you're not content marketing," writes Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works. "You're writing. And that's great. But it's not going to help your business."
Take care that you aren’t too pushy. You want the customer to take action, but Brogan recommends that what you ask should be both reasonable and related to the content you've created.
"If you make it too jarring, people won't really seek to play along," Brogan says. "For instance, a home improvement company might write a post about how to get your bathroom looking better in seven easy steps. In that post they might invite people to subscribe to a newsletter, or the company might offer a free appraisal, or something that lets customers commit just a little bit, without going too deep too fast."
7. Make your customer a hero
Develop useful content that will help your target customer solve a problem or answer an important question, thereby making them "look great to their boss," says Colwell.
8. Create an editorial calendar for content and share it with your sales people
This helps them know when a video, white paper or other piece of content goes live, so they can share it with prospects, Colwell says. You might also get your sales team's advice in creating an editorial calendar.
9. Repurpose content
You could turn a webinar you recently conducted might into a downloadable PDF whitepaper, or turn portions of it into a podcast series. You might think about expanding a blog post into a YouTube video, and an infographic might serve as the foundation for a blog post. Colwell advises businesses to think creatively about how to reuse the same information to get it out to as many potential customers as possible.
10. Be timely
When possible, develop content that tackles questions or concerns your customers have right now. Look to see what's trending in Google News, on Twitter and on other social media for ideas.
11. Track and measure
Use Google Analytics, Facebook engagement data and other information to see how your content performs. Look for new visitors to your site from a particular piece of content you've posted elsewhere (such as a YouTube video), the number of page views and leads generated from your content and the volume of social shares, among other metrics.
James A. Martin consults on and writes about SEO, social media, and content marketing. Follow him on Twitter, @james_a_martin.
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