Now more than ever, with the pandemic shifting most business interactions online, you’d be hard-pressed to find any business, big or small, that doesn't have social media channels, a website, a blog, a newsletter, or some kind of combination between these elements. So, whether you are aware of it or not, your business already has a content marketing strategy. Now it’s the time to make sure you work better not harder in order to make the most of it.
What is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing can be defined as “the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.” Per this definition, content marketing spans across the multiple communication channels any business uses, from printed materials and in-person conversations to digital advertising.
Creating, maintaining, and populating each official communications channel can feel like a full-time job in itself. Small and medium-sized business owners often find themselves overwhelmed while trying to juggle both their business responsibilities and the demands of maintaining a beneficial content marketing strategy.
So, what can you, as a small business owner, do to thrive in the increasingly technology-driven marketing world without letting it take over your entire workday? The answer can be summarized in these three useful tips:
1. Start small
Creating a lot of quality content requires time, skills, and design tools that may be too difficult or cost-prohibitive to develop in-house or outsource on a regular basis.
This means you need to pick your content battles wisely. Always focus on what’s most important for your business at the moment and the most cost-effective and realistic way to achieve it. This could mean settling for a monthly company newsletter that keeps customers thinking about your business all year round or one great social media post per week instead of five mediocre ones that eat away at your resources.
Once you’ve defined your basic needs and secured the necessary resources, make sure that whatever content you’re making is as good as it can be, and remember that quality always trumps quantity.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel for every Facebook post
Content marketing can make you feel like you’re being pulled in many different directions at once. But rather than lose focus, there is a smart and economic way to give each of your channels something interesting to chew on with minimal effort. All you need is a single good piece of content that can be presented in more than one way.
Let’s assume that you wrote an excellent blog post for your company’s website. Instead of just sharing it as is and moving on to the next time-consuming piece of content, consider how the information it contains can be condensed into several impactful social media posts or newsletter mentions.
You can, for example, use free online design tools, such as Canva and Snappa, to recreate some of the information in the blog post as a colorful infographic or a visually appealing quote. These images, which only take a few minutes to create, can be shared on any of your social media channels or featured on your website to bring further exposure to your existing content.
The key idea is to create virtuous circles and synergies with your limited but high-quality content by repackaging and distributing it across all your content marketing channels. This way, you’ll always get more bang for your marketing buck.
3. Create a content marketing calendar
Think about how your customer communications change over the course of a year and make sure that your content marketing strategy and assets reflect this reality. Create a content marketing calendar at the beginning of each year that contains the most important messages, dates, and company-centric events so you know in advance exactly what needs to be communicated to your customers and when.
Once your content calendar is ready, work backward from there and plan the creation timelines for each inscribed asset accordingly. If you can’t create everything in-house, consider outsourcing some of the most difficult or time-consuming work. As long as you delegate tasks strategically and designate resources to the assets that will matter the most to your overall communications strategy, you’ll be able to better manage your time and keep your clients happy, engaged, and well-informed.
Like any other aspect of running a small business, your content marketing strategy should be smart and well thought out but it doesn’t have to be time and money consuming if you follow these easy tips.