Spring is a time for new beginnings – and what better place to start than with your marketing plan? Today we’re talking small business and setting forth the strategies that will help you market smarter, not harder in the saturated world of content.
Small businesses are not few and far between – companies with less than five employees make up 62% of all businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Unfortunately, Capterra reports that 76% of those small business owners report facing marketing challenges. With the rapid advancement of technology and digital advertising, marketing can seem like a minefield to people other than marketing professionals who live and breathe the tactics every day. So where should you start?
Rather than making a huge investment in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign or other high price tag traditional advertising, consider relying on your niche-expertise by generating content. Now more than ever, content is a valuable tool that nurtures leads as opposed to the hard-sell approach of an ad.
Follow these five steps to guide your content creation process and grow your small business this spring:
1. Do Keyword Research
Keyword research is a basic search engine optimization (SEO) tactic that involves familiarizing yourself with the keywords your website is ranking for on search engine result pages (SERPs).
This research helps you understand what your company’s strengths and weaknesses are from a digital perspective. Keyword research also helps you set goals – which keywords would you like to rank higher for moving forward?
To get started with your research process, you should verify your site with Google Search Console. This is a free resource for organic search data. You can begin to track which keywords are leading users to your pages. You can sort the data by which keywords are driving clicks, impressions, click-through-rate (CTR) and even track the position of your site for each search term.
You may be wondering what SEO has to do with creating content. But here’s the secret: SEO has everything to with creating content! Understanding which keywords are most important to your website visitors is the strategy you need to use for developing content topics that will move the meter. Plant the seed and encourage collaboration between your digital manager and copywriter to foster new growth for your marketing planning.
2. Conduct a Competitive Analysis
It’s the question that’s always in the back of your mind – what’s my competition doing? Luckily, you can check. Browse your competitors’ sites and social media and take note of their new content. Assess things like content topics, format and frequency to gain a holistic understanding of their strategy.
If you spot a good topic or well-executed piece, find a way to make it better. Did they miss an important point? Could the topic be expanded on? Is there another angle to the topic?
After all, the best defense is a good offense.
3. Create an Editorial Calendar
Which brings us to our third strategic tactic: making an editorial calendar. First, mark down any significant conferences, holidays or company-wide events that you would normally create content for.
Next, identify keywords that you would like to rank higher for on Google’s SERP. For example, if you’re a logistics company that currently ranks on the third page for “TMS,” that would be a good keyword to target.
If the competition on the first page is steep, consider a “long tail” keyword. For example, “TMS for chemical manufacturers” would be a search term with less competition and still ample opportunity for clicks and impressions.
Take these desired keywords into account when planning content; use them to create informational, evergreen content that will appeal to professionals throughout your industry or niche. This will help bolster your site with more targeted content and drive valuable traffic.
Map out your editorial calendar as far out as possible, but revisit your plan each month to ensure you’re taking advantage of all opportunities available to you.
4. Try Newsjacking
Newsjacking is a great strategy for creating timely content. The meaning of this term can be taken at face value – jacking current topics in the news and applying them to your content. Often misunderstood to be a negative strategy, this tactic is actually great for small businesses because it allows you to latch onto a greater trend and conversation.
For example, if you incorporated the phrase “March Madness” into your next blog post, you’d be newsjacking because March Madness is already creating a lot of newsworthy buzz.
But the true art of newsjacking is tying a popular search term to your content in a relevant way. This approach is similar to populating trending hashtags in your social media posts to increase visibility and reach potential followers.
Keep your ear to the ground for national and local trends that may present unique content opportunities for your company.
5. Mix Up Your Content
Blogs are great, but variety is key. If you’re going to attract regular readers and potential leads to your website, consider visual ways to present your content. Infographics are a popular method of displaying information and are ideal for explaining complex concepts, statistics and data.
Video is another method for distributing content – and arguably the most popular. Currently, video represents approximately 74% of all Internet traffic. Although this avenue is the most time-consuming of the three approaches, there are accessible ways to produce video content that don’t include an excess of time or money – or a studio!
Sites like Biteable and Powtoons are just two examples of sites that boast an easy interface for creating engaging video content.
Marketing as a small business can be challenging. At times, you may feel like you’ll never catch up in this fast-paced digital world. But with the right approach and quality content as your seed, this spring could mean big growth for your small business.