In 2016 and beyond digital marketing is hard work. It can be hard for small businesses to make a splash in the hyper-competitive online environment. Budgets are stretched thin across organic search (SEO), PPC, and social media. More small businesses are also starting to look at content marketing, yet many find it difficult to generate a solid return on investment (if anything at all).
Content, it seems, is often the area that small businesses have the most trouble with. Create, publish, and… all too often nothing happens. The business does not see a return after a couple of months and they give up. Content marketing as a whole is written off and back into the PPC, SEO & Social meat grinder, they go.
Your Flexible Friend
This is problematic as content forms the backbone of most successful SEO and social strategies. So by giving up on content, you are likely making your SEO and social media marketing efforts more difficult (if not impossible). You are certainly missing out on an opportunity to create assets that help you get in front of more customers.
The other common mistake is that you can’t just simply write, publish, and move on. This should be common sense, but in this confusing world full of conflicting advice typically from marketers trying to sell their wares, who knows what to do or what to believe?
Make Your Content Work Harder
The trick here is to make your content work harder. Create something that you know adds value to your target audience and then promote the hell out of it. Further to that, use it as a tactical tool to help all your other digital marketing efforts.
Here is an example:
- you have a great idea for a piece of content
- you write it
- publish it on your businesses blog
- nothing happens
Sound familiar? You then give up and write off content marketing as not right for your business or marketplace etc.
You have given up way too early there – let me give you an example of how you could use that content.
Pimping Your Posts
Now I am going to assume your content is great here. You have identified a need and created something of value. Ideally, if you want to use this in an SEO / link building context it should be better than or offer something new to existing articles out there.
- You create a piece of content.
- Ensure it is connected to your funnel or some form of lead generation.
- Configure remarketing so visitors who see your content will see you again.
- Share it via your social media channels.
- Consider using social media advertising to boost the post and get more reach and interactions.
- Identify people who have shared similar content and let them know about your epic piece (Buzzsumo is a big help here) to help grease the cogs of viral sharing (social media marketing).
- Identify people who have linked to similar content and let them know about your article (Buzzsumo is again a big help here) – done well this can generate links and improve your SEO.
- Identify influencers who may share your content – ideally, involve them in the content creation by mentioning them in a positive way or asking for a quote and then let them know when it has published to tap into their audience.
- Identify your target audience and let them know about the post – email, social media, LinkedIn all help here (LinkedIn also allows you to target posts at certain job titles and demographics so for us marketing managers in Birmingham it is a great way to target content).
- Run paid search ads for your article – be careful but it’s worth evaluating.
- Run display network ads to promote your article on relevant sites to your target audience.
- Consider creating the content in different formats – create a set of slides, a video, publish it as a free PDF download, publish it as a free kindle book – re-use that content in as many ways as possible to get as many potential audiences as possible.
- Rinse and repeat – don’t just give up, try again in a month, and a month after that. Promote, promote, promote.
- Keep improving the article – if this is evergreen content keep it up to date and do the whole thing again.
The takeaway here is that publishing is the beginning and not the end of this process. Research, plan and publish and then hustle to get this article in front of people. The exact approach will always need to be customised to your business, however, the steps above hopefully have got you thinking – now get in front of a whiteboard and brainstorm all the ways you can promote your content to your target audience.
The search and social landscape offer a wide array of tactical options for aspiring content marketers, but getting traction for your content and turning letters into leads takes time, effort, consistency, and practice.
What has worked for your business? What has not worked? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.