4 steps to small business content marketing success: Steps 1 and 2

March 18, 2014

Content marketing has become even more popular, and necessary, in 2014. Learn how to begin developing a content marketing strategy.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Creating and distributing content isn’t new, neither is working to attract an audience and drive sales.  But what is new about content marketing for small businesses is tremendously important: engaging a defined and understood target audience.  In other words, it’s about actively engaging your audience, rather than talking at them.  And the audience is highly specific, rather than generalized.

While slightly more difficult than spray-and-pray marketing, the effort is well worth it.  Content marketing generates trust by giving buyers information they need to make the right decision for them. By generating and sharing content across the Internet your chances of being seen and noticed by your ideal customers increases. But not every small business is engaging in content marketing and they have reasons.  According to a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute, the top four challenges B2B small business marketers face are:

  1. Lack of time
  2. Producing enough content
  3. Producing the kind of content that engages
  4. Producing a variety of content

But whether you run a B2B or B2C business, you’re likely faced with these same four problems – all of which place higher on the list of marketing roadblocks than anemic budgets.  How can you overcome these pitfalls and take advantage of this quickly growing marketing technique? 1. Create detailed buyer personas Start by developing buyer personas, which are single examples of a type of person who does business with you.  Think “professional mothers ages 35 to 45 who work over 40 hours a week and have at least two children” rather than “working moms.”  They’re examples of a real people who buy products or services like yours, and based on interviews with real buyers – both current and potential customers. 2. Put together an editorial calendar Next it’s time to build an editorial calendar – they’re not just for newsrooms and magazines anymore!  These will keep your content consistent and relevant and they’re a great way to track past and future content and easily see connections across your content.  With those connections obvious you’ll get ideas on repurposing what you have.  And don’t worry about needing any fancy software, Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets work beautifully. Check the Hiscox small business blog tomorrow when we’ll reveal the last two steps to building your own content marketing strategy.