How to Create Your Small Business’s Content Strategy (If It Needs One in the First Place)
As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard all about content marketing. Gurus say you need a blog, email newsletter, active social media channels, white papers, and the list goes on.
This advice isn’t completely unwarranted. Content marketing can help businesses expand awareness, build vital customer trust, establish thought leadership in a competitive industry, and more.
Sometimes, content isn’t the most important thing your business needs
Mark Schaefer writes one of the most popular marketing blogs on the Web, and he knows that the right type of content can boost a business’s bottom line. Still, he also understands that this type of outreach isn’t the be-all, end-all answer for every single business:
“This is the real world. Business is hard. Sometimes in tough competitive situations you survive to the next year by cutting a penny per unit on a long-term contract instead of investing in epic content.”
If you can relate, it’s okay to triage your business development projects to focus on survival. Your time and money will be better spent on initiatives that impact your bottom line.
When content marketing makes sense
If your business has a marketing budget, or you can dedicate your own time to writing content, content marketing is often a solid investment.
Blogs aren’t your only option, either (though they are a popular tool). Content is simply something that helps you strengthen relationships with your customers/audience, builds brand visibility, enhances trust, and improves engagement.
Here are a few examples of the ways a businesses use content in their marketing:
- The company’s website pages
- Videos and animations
- Thought leadership pieces, like white papers, ebooks, slide decks, PDF downloads, etc.
- Email newsletters
That’s just a small sampling of your options, too. To get a better understanding of how varied content marketing can be, just scroll through this list: 105 Types of Content to Fill Up Your Editorial Calendar.
Once you’ve made the decision to add content marketing to your business development mix, spend some time familiarizing yourself with best practices and benefits. Even if you decide to outsource your content to a writer, knowing the basics will help you get the most from their services:
- Content Marketing: What is it, and How Should My Business Use it?: If you’re unfamiliar with content marketing and its benefits, give this quick primer a read.
- 7 Content Marketing Mistakes: To get the most out of your time and/or money, read up on some of the most common content mistakes business owners make.
- 3 Killer Content Tips: Writing for your business is different than other types of writing. These tips will keep you on the right track.
- 5 Tools for Generating Blog Post Ideas: Coming up with new content ideas is challenging, especially if you feel like all the basics have already been covered. These tools will help you brainstorm fresh, valuable ideas.
Before you jump excitedly into content marketing, we’ll leave you with one more cautionary nugget of wisdom from Mark Schaefer:
“Despite what the gurus would have you believe, there is no single marketing strategy that works for “every business, every time,” including content marketing.”