Content Marketing for Small Businesses in 3 Easy (sort of) Steps

When it comes to getting your brand in front of the public, content marketing can be the real equalizer for small businesses. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of buying a full-page ad in USA Today or paying for a billboard in Times Square.

Thanks to the Web, though, every small business can get its name in front of a large audience by creating quality content that “speaks” to the needs of their target audience (potential clients/customers). The content created by small businesses can do everything from establishing the business owner as a thought leader to entertaining the business’ target audience (potential clients/customers) with articles of particular interest to that audience.

The Web has given every business the ability to become a publisher. If you have a Web site, then you have a forum for providing a wide array of information. When that content is broadcast on the Web and through other marketing channels, it creates a terrific tool for guiding traffic to your site, gaining customer loyalty and, ultimately, enhancing revenue.

Step 1: Create Meaningful Content

If you are running a small business, it can be assumed that you have expertise in your field of endeavor, possess industry insights and understand the interests and needs of your target customer/client population.

You need to find a way to broadcast that knowledge and establish yourself as a thought leader or industry insider. The most common avenue is through blogging, though more and more business owners are using videos to get their key messages across.

Another avenue is to produce articles geared to the lifestyle and interests of your target audience. If you sell boots, provide content about the best places to hike. If you are a dermatologist, write a story about the best ways to prevent sunburn.

Remember, when talking about content, we’re talking about meaningful content. While the Web gives everyone the power to publish, the ability to publish does not always equate with the ability to write or communicate effectively.  If you have meaningful advice or knowledge to impart, but are a mediocre or poor writer, by all means hire a professional copywriter to help you out.

Step 2: Publish your content on your own Web site or blog

I don’t care if your Web site gets any traffic at all. Post your writings or videos on your Web site. This accomplishes several things. It gives people a reason to come back to your site if they’re already visitors, it provides a landing page from places where you have promoted or advertised your content and it helps with the visibility of your site on search engines (search engine optimization).

Step 3: Use that content to reach out to the media

Since your Web site probably doesn’t generate huge traffic and your Web visitors are already aware of who you are, you need to get your content onto other venues:

  • Social Media: “Tease” your content on social media sites and link back to the content on your site. Figure out which social media platforms are used by your target audience and then use those sites to promote your content. Many social media platforms have “groups.” Join the groups where your target demographic can be found and promote your content there.

  • Find the Influencers: Look for content-driven sites where your target audience is likely to be found. Use keyword searches to find the niche news sites and blogs that “cover” issues of interest to your target audience. Getting back to the hiking boot example, Google “hiking,” “outdoors” and “mountain climbing” and see what sites come up. A great way to focus this search is to use the Google “blog search” feature, so all results will point you to blogs “covering” your topics. Once you’ve found those blogs, contact the writer (s) behind the blog and offer yourself both as a source for their stories or as a guest contributor, posting your content on their sites.

  • Email marketing: Use your email marketing to deliver your content to your current clients/customers and to your prospects. Once again, use the email as a tease and link back to the content on your site.

The great thing about content marketing is that the hardest part is getting started. Once you’ve begun the process of creating, posting and disseminating your content, you’ll find you have plenty to say. You are passionate about what you do and who you are and it is your job to take that passion and translate it into content… make that meaningful content.

Follow Jon Gelberg: @Jon_Gelberg