Content Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses
Updated: Jun 5
Business owners often feel like firefighters trying to put out fire in different parts of the house on a daily basis.
When there’s a need for owners to juggle twenty tasks simultaneously like an octopus, desperately trying to keep the business running like a well-oiled machine, taking time out to contemplate an effective content marketing strategy may not be amongst the top 10 items on your to-do-list. However, content marketing is essential!
If you are looking to:
● Establish a brand identity
● Market and promote your business
● Attract the right audience
● Build a returning customer base
You MUST HAVE a well thought of content marketing strategy.
This actionable guide is written specifically to help you achieve that.
Three Pillars of Digital Marketing
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To create a sustainable and effective content strategy, it is imperative that we understand the three core pillars of digital marketing, which will allow us to take stock of the resources at our disposal.
Owned Media: The channels in which you create and control. Channels such as your company blog, Instagram account, Facebook page, and Youtube Channel etc. Even though you may not technically possess ownership of your Youtube channel or Facebook Page, being able to use them for free qualify them as Owned Media.
Paid Media: External marketing efforts on third-party sites and social media platforms that require a paid placement. Paid Media includes PPC advertising, display ads, and influencer marketing etc.
Earned Media: Your content that’s shared by consumers, the press, and the public via word of mouth and digital avenues. Earned Media often acts as the organic vehicle that drives visitors to your owned media channels, as consumers act as advocates for your brand.
Key takeaway: A digital marketing ecosystem must comprise all three types of Media, though the focus and allocation of time, effort, and budget will look different for each organization.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Of course, businesses that have a strong presence on every platform available reap tremendous rewards.
Large companies with the resources for a full-fledged content marketing strategy have the capacity to be omnipresent, always engaging consumers on every platform in a multitude of ways.
The danger arises when small businesses attempt to replicate what their larger counterparts are doing. Without the same amount of resources, time, and manpower at their disposal, implementing a full-on content marketing strategy will be unsustainable and even counter-productive.
Smaller businesses with limited resources can achieve effective results when their content strategy is laser-focused; and their objectives crystal clear.
So, what’s the solution?
You don’t have to do everything, you just need to go hard at what works for your business.
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Choosing The Right Channel(s)
The next step in formulating an effective content strategy is to narrow down and determine the right channels and type of content.
Things to consider:
● The nature of your product/services (B2B or B2C)
● Where does your audience like to hang out
● Consumer behaviour on each platform
● What has worked well for you
● What has been working for your competitors
● Which are your competitors’ best and worst performing content and platforms
Every piece of content has to be conceptualised with the context of each platform in mind. Users expect content on each channel to be contextually appropriate.
Eg. An audience that is looking for a few laughs after a long day of work will not respond well to your request for opinions on serious issues that require much brainpower.
By asking these questions, coupled with some research, you should be able to identify your target audiences’ preferred channels and the type of content they respond to.
Even after you have narrowed down to the select few channels, attempting to produce content for multiple channels on a consistent basis can sometimes feel like a doomed endeavour.
Here are four simple tips:
#1 Content Hub and Cluster Content
Brainstorm for content ideas and categorize them into content hubs and cluster content. Content hubs are either an in-depth guide or resource on a broad topic.
Cluster content is a piece of subtopic content that allows for more expansion and details.
Eg. If Keto Diet is the content hub, examples of cluster content would be “the side effects of Keto Diet” and “Keto Diet for beginners” etc.
#2 Repurpose Content
Develop a content pillar.
A content pillar is a substantive piece of content on a specific topic or theme that can be broken into many smaller pieces of content that can be published on other channels.
By focusing on creating a single content pillar, you can create an enormous amount of content by repurposing that report or Youtube video into shorter blog posts for your website or short-form content for various social media channels.
Eg. Repurposing an 1 hour long interview into several short clips for Instagram/Facebook, or transcribe parts of the interview and use them in your blog articles.
#3 Play to your strength
Are you able to write well? Produce blog articles that address your audience's burning questions.
Are you blessed with the gift of the gab? Consider shooting videos for Youtube or starting a podcast. Do you have adequate skills in photography or design? Try creating interesting infographics and share them on your social media platforms.
Often the channel with the largest amount of audience is the one that you should be focusing on. Having a substantial amount of audience on a particular platform is an indication of an audience’s willingness to engage your brand on said platform.
Key takeaway: Due to having a comparatively smaller budget for Paid Media, small businesses should capitalise on the power of Earned Media by creating extremely shareable content that resonates with their audience on their Owned Media channels.
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Unless the performance of each implemented strategy is tracked, businesses are throwing spaghetti (resources) at the wall.
The upside of staying laser-focused on just one or two channels is the benefit of having fewer metrics to track.
To understand which piece of content resonates with your audience. This would allow you to tailor your future content to your audience’s interest.
Allows you to have a gauge of the size of your audience as well as the number of repeat visitors.
Average Time on Page
High average time on page is an indication of interest. Conversely, low average time on page signals poor engagement, which would require you to either enhance the content or direct your efforts to work other better performing content.
Pages Per Visit
This metric tells you how valuable and engaging the content on your site is in general.
Helps you understand how users navigate through your website, hence allowing you to identify and optimize your site for maximum user retention.
The percentage of visitors who leave only after viewing one page. If bounce rate is high, it is advisable to investigate the technical factors such as page speed, as well as the quality of your content.
Having a good return rate is often an indication of having good quality content on your site that your audience finds valuable, which can then also inform you of the current stage your audience is in with regards to the customer journey.
A growing follower base on your social media channels is often a good indication of growth that brings about an increase in traffic, brand awareness, and engagement.
Social Media shares and likes
Having social listening tools set up will help you understand which piece of content resonates with the audience, hence saving you from all the guess work.
An even more accurate measure of engagement than “Likes” are comments. As comments often require more effort and thought to execute, it is a useful indication of emotional investment an audience has in your brand.
Key takeaway: Depending on your objectives and KPIs, the metrics that you track should always provide you with valuable insights which you can use to understand and optimize your content marketing strategy.
It is essential for every business to have an effective content marketing strategy in this digital age, where content is the knife that cuts through the sea of online chatter and gives visibility to your business.
While the small businesses often can depend on Owned and Earned Media for sustainability, those looking to scale their business would be required to have a solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, as well as an effective Paid Media strategy in place.
Whether you are looking to get started, or require additional support to optimize and scale your marketing efforts, do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with us as our team of experienced marketers are eager to join you on this exciting journey.