How to Streamline Content Marketing for Small Businesses?

If you write one blog post per month, your search engine traffic will skyrocket, and you’ll generate more leads, right?

I wish that was the case. But after working on multiple content marketing campaigns, I’ve learned that content marketing doesn’t work like that.

Now, of course, any content marketing strategist will tell you it makes all the difference to search engine placements and social media engagement. That good content nurtures leads, builds thought leadership, turns website visitors into paying customers… To be honest, they’re right.

I have seen this with so many clients who come to us asking how we can make content profitable. The fact of the matter is you can.  We just need to change the focus from token gesture content production to consistent revenue-generating content thought leadership.

You need to scale your marketing efforts.

For small businesses newer to content marketing (and experiments), this isn’t easy to do. With all the marketing content out there, it can be difficult to set yourself apart as an industry leader and make the mark. Solopreneurs like Brian Schnurr know the last-minute rush that triggers from holding all the accountabilities of their own business.

Thankfully, here are tried-and-true ways to take the plunge and get started.

So, let’s dive right in.

Set Your Mindset and Commit.

A content marketing campaign will not return results overnight. It won’t return results within a month.

In order to run a successful content marketing campaign, you need to:

  • Establish credibility and authority so that you can create a sense of trust with readers.

A small business (with a limited budget) can’t go from invisible to credible overnight. It takes time and effort. The early stages of your content marketing campaign will return nothing. Only those who are patient will prevail.

Think of content marketing as a process rather than a project. Treat it like a project, and you’ll never see it through to the end. Treat it like a process, and you start thinking about it differently. You start thinking about what’s starting to work. You can make the mandatory adjustments on the fly.

And most importantly, don’t evaluate anything based on the first few months. That’s the time when you’re priming the pump. Without that period of establishment, you’ll never see any content marketing success.

Make it part of your plan.


Build the Right Team.

Content marketing campaigns are challenging enough, even with great writers and marketers. Put the wrong people on the job, and you can forget about achieving content marketing ROI.

When companies tell me that content marketing hasn’t worked for them, I always ask what people they put on the job. 

  • Did they shift existing marketing employees? 
  • If they hired externally, what did they look for in candidates?

Shifting existing staff rarely works. You hired these people for certain jobs. Moving them to a completely different job, which requires a specific skill set, will make a challenging task nearly impossible. Many people can learn content marketing, but they need certain skills already in place. Are you confident that your current staffers possess these skills?

You can’t hire just anyone. How do you find content marketers

  • Try going straight to the authorities, the Copyblogger Certified Content Marketers. There are other options, though, if you’re not prepared to pay top dollar for a content strategy and marketing campaign.
  • If you aren’t going to hire a top copywriter, look for someone like a virtual assistant. That might sound odd. 

A virtual assistant to do content marketing?

The new breed of business-class virtual assistants can do much more than simple admin tasks. There are some advantages to hiring this way.

You have an agency behind the VA, so there is some accountability. You can hire on an as-needed basis rather than hiring a full-time employee for what might not be a full-time job at first.

Social media executives and marketing professionals are reportedly entertaining the virtual assistant industry. The freelance social media expert, Katie Barber, takes advantage of this opportunity that provides her the edge to scale her business.

Once you get the ball rolling, you have options. You can then use what you’ve learned from the VA to go out and hire the right person for a full-time job. Or, if you like what you see, you can just ramp up the workload for the VA. Either way, you’re far better off taking this path than you are hiring an inexperienced writer just because he’s cheap.

Problem-Solving is the Golden Ticket

People have problems. Businesses that succeed solve those problems. But it might not always be immediately evident how a business’s offer solves someone’s problems. The prospect might not feel any urgency to solve the problem. The solution might seem so far off, so impossible, that the prospect isn’t putting much thought into it.

This is what makes content marketing so effective. It gives companies a chance to show people, not just tell them, how their offer can make a difference.

The most effective way to accomplish this: make problem-solving the focus of your content scoring.

How can you start solving problems for potential customers?

  • Show them the problem. Believe it or not, some potential customers might not even understand that they have a problem. Show them, and they’ll realize that hey – something’s not right. They can be doing something better.
  • Identify pain points. Every problem involves multiple pain points; obstacles to a solution. Hone in on them. Show empathy with potential customers. If you share their pain, you’re creating a connection.
  • Provide quick and actionable tips. Your product or service offers the solution. But there are probably steps to take before the ultimate solution. Give users tips on what they can do right now. It will move them closer to a sale.

If you solve problems for customers with your content, they will trust you to solve other larger problems for them. That’s where your offer comes in. Prove your worth, and they’ll be more likely to buy.

Understand the Buying Cycle

Marketers love the acronym AIDA: attention, interest, desire, action. It represents the actions needed to move prospects along the buying cycle.

  • What is your company’s buying cycle? 
  • How do people usually find out about your product? 
  • What actions do they take before buying? 

Answering these questions will help inform your content marketing strategy. Once you understand your company’s buying cycle, you can identify how to:

  • Attract attention
  • Pique interest
  • Fuel desire
  • Incite action

So what’s your company’s typical buying cycle? How can you use content to move people from attention to action?

Promote, Promote, and Promote.

If you write content and no one reads it, did you really write content at all? Sure, you wrote it, but if it had no effect, then you might as well not have. 

When I talk to companies about failed content marketing campaigns, they always talk about the content. Rarely, if ever, do they talk about the other word. Too many companies forget about the marketing part.

Yes, the content spreads awareness. But you have to promote the content. It sounds strange, but this isn’t TV. You’re not buying ad space. You’re creating compelling content that people will want to read. Once they know your business exists, that is.

  • Emailing influential bloggers in your space. Do not underestimate this tactic. If you build relationships with bloggers and create good content, those bloggers will share that content.
  • Connect on social media. You can’t just blast your content on social media. But again, if you reach out to people and don’t act in a purely self-promotional manner, they will be receptive.
  • Look for external contribution opportunities. Guest blogging for SEO is still a quality promotional measure. Find sites that have audiences that align with your offer. Then genuinely pitch them for a guest post.

Through a careful process of establishing content strategy and developing thought leadership, a business can become instantly recognizable, memorable, and more trustworthy in the eyes of both consumers and Google, helping you to stay on top in the search engine rankings.

Shyam Bhardwaj
Latest posts by Shyam Bhardwaj (see all)

1 thought on “How to Streamline Content Marketing for Small Businesses?”

  1. Anthony, these are great tips, dude. Mindset and commitment are SO important but most skip over the mental intangibles and hop haphazardly into work with a scarcity-based mindset and a lukewarm commitment at best.

    Top content marketers spend years doing simple things within a team framework to gradually experience success which builds into something special over the long haul. Why? Each has the proper mindset focused on being generous, blogging intelligently, collaborating freely to share the spotlight, and committing fully to this strategy for their full blogging career, never panicking enough to actually quit their simple, patient, powerful approach.

    It’s not always easy but the freedoms of doing the entrepreneurship thing are beyond worth it.

    Ryan

    Reply

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