Content Creation for Business is a practical how-to guidebook that will help you create and manage effective content for your company. Get insider secrets on how to write great blog posts, articles, and other forms of content to attract clients to your site and service.
Capture the minds, hearts and interest of your target audience with engaging, individualized content from Content Creation for Business. We help you find new audiences and grow your business with a combination of legacy marketing activities and online content strategies that lead to greater business results.
Tips for Successful Small Business Content Marketing
Start a Blog
Blogging is a completely free way to market your services and capabilities, while simultaneously establishing yourself as an industry expert.
In fact, with 21-54 blogs on your website, you can drive 30 percent more traffic to your website.
In addition to driving traffic, blogs can help:
- boost your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings
- deliver increased value to your consumers
- increase exposure
- generate leads and increase conversion likelihood
Clarify your goals.
Every strategy should start with goals, so you know where to focus your efforts and how to measure success.
What do you want to accomplish with content marketing? If you want more people to find your website, search engine optimization (SEO) should be high up on your list. Research from the Manifest found that 70% of small businesses don’t have an SEO strategy—which means you have a chance of getting out ahead of your competitors on it.
If you want to build relationships and loyalty, then aiming to build a following on social media and with your email list may take precedence. And relationships are traditionally one of the best ways for small businesses to beat the big guys, since you can give more personal attention to your customers.
Most goals content marketing can help you accomplish are connected. But figuring out where your top priorities lie will help you better craft a strategy that produces the results that are most important to you.
Define your audience.
Good communication depends on knowing who you’re talking to. And a successful content strategy is ultimately all about communication. In order to know what your content should be about and what types of content to invest in, you need a picture of who you’re creating content for.
Look to your current customers for this step. What do they look like? What are their interests and concerns? Do they have any key traits in common?
Set up customer interviews to find out what they care about, what types of content they like, and to learn about their buying habits. And then create buyer personas to help you keep them top of mind, and make it easy for anyone else that works on your content marketing team to do the same.
Establish Your KPIs
The best way to achieve goals is to make them specific and measurable. That means setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing strategy.
The KPIs will help you know when you have achieved your goals by providing milestones you can check off. They’ll include what you plan to achieve in terms of revenue, sales, traffic, SEO, traffic and different aspects of digital marketing like email marketing and social media metrics.
Typically, these will have specific numbers attached to them. For example, you might want to:
- Hit a certain revenue target within the month, quarter, or year.
- Get more signups for your lead magnet as a sign that you’re getting more high-quality leads
- Get a certain number of new email subscribers
- See an increase in site traffic and in engagement with your onsite content
- Improve the search ranking of some of your key pages to help boost traffic
- Get a certain number of mentions, shares, and comments for your pillar content
- Be invited to participate in certain key industry events
You’ll also want to pay attention to marketing expenditure, tracking your spend on different campaigns, and keeping an eye on the cost of acquiring leads and making sales.
Assess Your Current Position
Many businesses already have content out there. This will include content that’s on your blog, as well as social media content, podcasts, videos, and so on.
That’s why the next step is to figure out whether that content is helping you to meet your goals.
(If you’re just getting started and have zero content, you can skip to Step 5 – Figure Out the Best Content Channels.)
To do that, you’ll need to carry out a content audit. That means:
- Logging all the pieces of content, such as blog posts, guest posts, and so on
- Assessing their usefulness or success
- Identifying the gaps
You may also want to look at how your content compares with that of your competitors, and see how any new content will fit in the market.
Let’s look at one example of how this would work for your content marketing strategy.
How to Log Your Content
If you want to log all your site or blog content, Screaming Frog is an excellent starting point. It’s a URL crawler that will:
- List URLs
- Analyze page titles and descriptions
- Find duplicate pages
- Create sitemaps.
The free version crawls up to 500 URLs. SEER Interactive has an excellent, in-depth guide to Screaming Frog. As a bonus, you can also use this tool for competitive research, carrying out the same kind of analysis on your competitors’ content.
You can also log your content with the Content Audit tool from SEMRush. To do this, set up a project and select the section of your site you want to audit, such as your blog. Once you select the URLs, press the Start Content Audit button.
You’ll get a complete analysis of your content, including:
- Content titles and descriptions
- Content length
- Social shares
Export the data to create a simple spreadsheet that contains all the URLs.
See How Your Content is Working
Next, it’s time to assess the usefulness of the content. You’ll be looking for metrics like:
- Whether there are a lot of inbound links to the content
- What the search engine ranking is for keywords associated with that piece of content
- If the content is widely shared
You’ll get some of this information from the SEMRush report above but can also find more by using other SEMRush tools, such as the site audit and position tracking tools.
This’ll tell you:
- Which pieces of content are so effective that you don’t need to change them
- Which ones need some improvement or updating to meet your goals
- Which ones need to be removed or replaced
Identify Content Gaps
Finally, work out where there are gaps you can exploit. These might include:
- Keywords related to your niche that you’re not targeting with your content
- Questions your target audience is asking that you’re not answering
- Content that’s starting to rank well but could be improved, say to target Google’s answer boxes. These are the boxes that appear above search results and provide the answers to a specific question.
You can use Ahrefs to carry out a content gap analysis.
To do this, go to Organic search » Content gap. Add the domains for your main competitors under Show keywords that the following rank for. Add your own domain under But the following target does not rank for. Press Show keywords.
You’ll see a list of competitor keywords you can target with your own new content.
You can carry out a similar analysis in SEMRush.
Determine your budget.
What you can accomplish with content marketing will have a lot to do with your budget. While it has far fewer direct costs than advertising, creating and promoting great content takes time. And as a small business owner, you know too well that time is a form of cost.
In order to create an effective content strategy and follow through on it, you’ll likely need to hire employees, contractors, an agency, or some combination of the three. And while you can find lots of content marketing tools that are free, you may find your work is easier or more effective if you invest in paid products for some purposes.
To figure out how much of an investment you can make, decide how much you’re able and willing to spend. This step will help you make realistic decisions when working out the rest of your strategy.
Do your research.
Hopefully you covered audience research well back in step two. But now you have more to do.
Keyword research is a pillar of good SEO and content marketing. Learning what relevant terms your audience is looking for on the search engines tells you:
- What topics they care about
- What questions they have
- What terminology they use when talking about your industry and products
Along with your customer interviews, the keyword list you produce based on your research will form the basis for the topics to cover in your content.
Start creating content.
And now we get to the hard part. Well, one of them. Get to work actually creating the content you planned out in your strategy.
Expect this to take time. Quality content that provides good information isn’t something you can rush. Orbit Media’s blogging survey found that the average blog post takes nearly four hours to write. Other content formats like videos and ebooks take even longer.
Measure and improve.
Once you start publishing, start measuring as well. You want to see how well your results match up to the goals you established back in step one. If SEO was your top priority, pay attention to how many keywords you start to rank for, and how much of your traffic is coming from the search engines. If audience loyalty is important, look for an uptick in email subscribers. And look for correlations between all the metrics you track and your sales.
Ultimately, all of your work should be adding up to new customers and/or more loyal customers that come back for repeat business. If your content doesn’t help achieve that, revisit your strategy to figure out why.
Keep it up.
This may be the hardest part of successful small business content marketing. When you’re starting out, you have a mix of excitement and good intentions that propels you. As you get weeks and months in, it gets harder to maintain.
Many businesses let their efforts fall off within a few weeks or months. You won’t get results that way. For any of the work you do to pay off, you have to stick with it. Keep creating content. Keep promoting it. Keep measuring and updating your strategy based on what you learn.
Content creation has always been the biggest challenge for small business owners who lack the time and staff to create interest‐grabbing content for their business.