Content Marketing: Taking your First Steps

Scott Beaman | September 18th 2017

Content Marketing for Small Businesses: Taking your First Steps

As a business owner, you’ve no doubt heard the term ‘Content Marketing’, but what is it exactly?

Well, like any form of marketing, the aim is to spark a relationship with your potential customers. Only rather than promoting your products and prices (that bit comes later), the focus is on engaging their needs or interests. Also, search engines rank the most relevant and up-to-date websites favourably. By regularly producing quality content it signals that a site has comprehensive information for visitors to source from.

Attract an audience, make a sale

We’re all familiar with Red Bull. Their branding has nothing to do with tins of fizzy pop; instead they take part in various associated cultures like Formula 1 or extreme sports. Their approach is content marketing at its best and it has helped them to become one of the world’s most popular beverages. It’s classic content marketing.

But, before you go throw yourself out of a hot air balloon, try out the steps below. They’ll help you to get started on a manageable, cost effective way to connect with your customers – and you won’t necessarily need a crash helmet.

Step 1: Start a Blog

Generally, the best place to start with content marketing is your blog. Its free, not particularly time-consuming and it’s the perfect platform to give a voice to your business whilst showcasing your expertise. There’s also the opportunity for answering your customers’ questions in the comment section.

Step 2: Create an Editorial Calendar

Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t know what to write about. The best blog ideas are often formed around the common questions customers ask. If you’re struggling, try out Blog Topic Generator. It’s easy to use, simply enter three associated nouns, for example flowers, weddings and bride. The tool generates potential titles: The History of Flowers or 10 Quicks Tips for Brides.

Top Tip: When planning your blog titles focus on a mixture of blooming (news-related) and evergreen (long-lasting) content. This will attract a steady flow of traffic to your site.

 Step 3: Publishing

One of the major stumbling blocks when getting started with content is a lack of consistency. It’s important to post regularly, aim for once a week, preferably on the same day when possible.

Once you’ve written your blog posts its worth using Grammarly – a free tool that helps with spelling, punctuation and sentence structure – although a professional proofreader or editor will be much better.

Step 4: Images and Graphics

If you want a strong reaction to your content, images are essential. Tests have shown that when people read a piece of information they remember 10% of what they have read. By adding an associated image this number climbs to 65%. Pixabay offers an amazing selection of free images.

If your creative juices are flowing take a trip over to Canva. They have hundreds of quirky graphic design templates for infographics, social media and E-Books.

Step 5: Promote and Engage

Once your grammatically correct, aesthetically pleasing blog post is published, try some promotion by searching for your relevant community on social media sites or forums such as Reddit. Try to dedicate time to being visible on such sites – like other users’ posts, ask questions and publish on a regular basis. Being present to answer questions will build trust and keep you in customers’ minds when it’s time to buy.