Content marketing strategy is important for every business. For small ones, however, it is often a crucial aspect for their development and growth. It doesn’t make everything easier, though; small business owners often find themselves struggling with developing the right strategy because of a lack of experience.

That’s why this article will focus on the step-by-step development of the right content marketing strategy for a small business.

Define your goal

This means you need to know what your primary focus is. It is also important for planning the overall strategy and for measuring its effectiveness later. A goal allows you to understand how much funds and resources you will need to invest, how flexible the strategy will be, and how long it might take.

Defining your goal isn’t hard: ask yourself why do you need a content marketing strategy in the first place and what do you want to achieve with your content? Small businesses have various primary goals: some aim for increasing their brand’s recognition, some want to raise awareness about their products, some want to drive more high-quality traffic to their websites, and so on.

It might be tempting to focus on a couple of goals at once; however, it is better to choose only one of them. Otherwise, you might find yourself unable to focus on one of your goals effectively enough, not even saying about reaching them over the desired amount of time.

Moreover, while evaluating your resources is indeed important, having a certain time limit can be even more important. You need to have a more or less clear deadline to be able to understand whether your strategy proceeds just as successfully as it was planned or might require some adjustments.

For example, if your current goal is to get more traffic to your site, start with writing down what is the current state, how much resources you have to spend on it, what is an achievable number and in what timeframe. Answering these questions will help you create a proper actionable strategy to achieve your goal, which in this case is to get more traffic.

Know your target audience

Today, there is a huge trend of data-driven marketing and defining your target audience is one of what it includes. So, conduct research to find out who your audience is, and whether the people who read or watch your content already belong to this audience. Sometimes the results might surprise you: despite many businesses have a clear vision of their target audience, it turns out that their content actually attracts people who aren’t their target audience at all.

Knowing your target audience is crucial to create content the right way and also to choose a proper writing style. In order to find out more about your target audience, try asking yourself questions like “who are the people interested in my product or services?”, “what solution can I offer to them?”, and so on. You can also use various analytic tools or existing demographic data to find out more about people who visit your website.

For example, if your target audience is college professors, try to understand the role of your product/service in their field. It will help you understand how your product is being used which will help you improve your product experience. Knowing your target audience will help you in doing research and having an upper hand as compared to your competitors.

Define the type of content you need

When we talk about content, we usually mean the written one – specifically blogs and social media posts. The content, however, isn’t limited to them only, and that’s a thing important to remember.

Even if your blog posts are very good, your competitors might already have an active YouTube channel with a number of subscribers. Thus, to drive more leads, you need to provide different types of content for your audience based on the previous research of your competitors. 

Moreover, you should think well about which types of content will benefit you the most. For example, if you want to get as many shares as possible, focus on creating useful info-graphics or interesting videos. And if your goal is to increase the number of your subscribers, consider creating an eBook offered for subscribers exclusively. You can also combine both written content and videos; this is especially useful for creating reviews of your products or services.

When you settle on the types of content you want to create, it will be easier for you to develop a strategy diverse and effective enough.

Make a list of the types of content that you can provide and how much it will cost you to create those. For example, creating an article will be easier as compared to creating a video. Then, map it with how much return you are expecting. It will help you invest wisely. Always keep in mind, reviews and feedback are important.

Think about visibility

It doesn’t matter how good your content is if you don’t know how to make it visible. Your goal here is to not only make your content good enough and target the right people but you also should know how to make your target audience find it. 

Your main tool for achieving this is social media. Thus, think of social media you are going to use for promotion and then, create a publishing schedule. Alternatively, you can consider guest posting; for this, you need to come up with a list of external websites you can place your content on and develop a special schedule for it.

Of course, you might not need to use both options. Sometimes it is better to focus on the first one only, polishing your SMM skills before moving on to other promotional tools. However, planning this will help you understand what you’re going to include in your strategy and when it will be time to adjust this strategy to your new promotional needs and demands.

For example, if you are about to publish an article about ‘vegan diet’, make sure that your distribution channels are properly set. You need to be added to right groups and communities in different social media to publicize your articles.

Create a publishing calendar

There is one thing left to do before you move on to creating your content marketing strategy. After you settle with all the basics and get a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do so, it’s time to organize the crafting and publishing process.

This actually could help you a lot because of different reasons. First, you will know what you’re going to write about next. Second, you will ensure that your content is diverse enough so to keep the attention and interest of your audience. Third, you will have some time to think about the ideas that are fresh at the moment, making them more well-thought and refined.

Moreover, a publishing calendar will help you meet all the deadlines. It might not be too big at the beginning: planning your publications for the next month is enough if you don’t have much experience in it. However, later you will be able to expand and adjust it, adding more posts or videos a week or decreasing their amount depending on the data.

For example, in one month, you can aim to publish 3 articles, 2 podcasts and 1 YouTube video. It will help you plan before hand and will also help you set expectations for each type of content and it’s marketing. It is always advised to set analytics for each type of content to help you measure the impact of your efforts.

Recap

Sure, this might seem like a lot at first. You will need to memorize everything, structure, and spend a lot of time and effort on coming up with a proper well-thought content marketing strategy. However, if you follow these tips, you will be able to make it strong and good enough right from the start.

About the Author

Nancy is a marketing specialist at Self-Starters, a website about building a successful career. She believes that content marketing is the cornerstone for all other marketing activities. Nancy loves creating content, setting up and managing marketing campaigns, and also helping others grow as professionals.

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