Content Marketing for the SMB Owner
:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::
In the early stages of a new business venture, many SMBs are content to keep their finances out of the red while others take off rapidly and never look back.
Either way, this is a time filled with excitement, long days and an overwhelming amount of work to complete. The last thing on the mind of many business owners at this point is content marketing or SEO, which is a common but consequential mistake. As a SMB you may often be forced to work within a limited budget, yet another common excuse for not taking advantage of content marketing but again, not a legitimate reason for most. Now, many of you may be thinking: “I don’t have the funds to wait six months to see a return on my marketing investment;" luckily, there are some strategies you can implement to see a more immediate return on your time and money, here are four such strategies:
Don’t Overlook Paid Promotion
Many SMBs have been using paid advertising channels like Google AdWords to promote products and services with great success. Less SMBs are leveraging paid advertising to promote content though. Thanks to sites like Outbrain, even small businesses can dramatically increase the reach of their content, increasing the likelihood of gaining rank boosting links and referral traffic that leads to customers. There are several sites similar to Outbrain like nrelate and Taboola.
Aside from content promotion specific platforms, social media is another inexpensive yet productive method of generating quick traffic and potential customers. While Facebook is a commonly used platform, many sites like Reddit will allow you to sponsor your content, leading to a flood of traffic.
Guest Posting Stills Works
Some small business owners are strapped for cash and the thought of spending even a few hundred dollars to promote their content may leave them feeling stressed. Don’t worry, this is a FREE strategy that works quickly and is extremely effective when properly executed. The very purpose of content marketing is to reach a targeted audience with information and resources that establish you as the expert in your field. Guest posting allows you to do so quickly by leveraging the existing audience of popular websites.
Most people go wrong with guest posting because they think of it as a numbers game, solely for the purpose of gaining backlinks, don’t fall into that trap! If you are a local contractor, look for local sites were you could share some educational DIY tips or record a short training video. Forget about links and focus on reaching your ideal audience with the help of the hosting site. If I were to use only one strategy to promote a business, this would be the go to.
Streamline Your Efforts to What Works Best
Contrary to what many say, more content is not always the right answer. If you are a small business, you don’t need to create an enterprise-level content strategy to see success from your efforts. Instead of trying to publish a ton of content covering every topic under the sun, take advantage of free tools like Google Analytics to find out what topics perform best on your site and refine your strategy accordingly. Before you started your business you should have identified your target audience. Whenever you are creating content, make sure you are writing to that audience.
Create Content Your Way
You do not need to write award-winning content pieces for your audience to benefit from them. Staying with the contractor example, imagine how useful a post would be that explained simple tips for preventing your grout from cracking as it dries. Even a simple post, written in first person could provide great value to your audience. Don’t be afraid to blog even if you aren’t a great writer. If you really despise writing, video and audio content is also great.
I have spoken with many business owners who never started because they thought they needed to create videos, podcasts, blogs and the whole nine yards in order to have an effective content marketing campaign. Regardless of your platform of choice, sharing your unique experiences and expertise in your field is really all it takes to generate content that will help you build trust with your future customers.
Putting Content Marketing into Action
The amount of content being created daily that does little more than pollute the internet is staggering. Even worse, much of that content is created because of those preaching continual content creation, even when there is not a need for it. If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this:
Share the knowledge you have gained from your unique experiences so that others may learn from your mistakes and avoid common pitfalls. If you write every article with that purpose, you will create truly useful content that positions you as the expert in your field.
About the Author
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a Web design and marketing firm located in Franklin, TN. Travis and his team are equipped to handle any size SEO project and have helped numerous businesses to date build a rock solid online presence. When you are ready for more leads and sales, it is time to get #stellarized. Connect on Facebook or Twitter @theseoproz