What is it?
What’s content marketing? What does it do for my small business? If you need answers to those questions, then make sure to read this article on how to do content marketing first before reading any further. Ok, read that now? Good. Now on to the ideas!
Blogging is probably the best known form of content marketing. You simply set up a blog, and go to town on it, writing as many articles as you can shake a stick at (making sure that they will be of value to your potential customers of course). But what sort of results should you expect?
There’s 2 main ways you can blog:
1 – You can either promote your blog yourself (usually offline if you’re a brick & mortar business), and use it as a tool to keep clients engaged with you (past or possible future clients) and to keep their opinion of you as an expert high. This only requires good quality articles of any reasonable quantity.
2 – Or, you can use your blog as a traffic generation tool itself, by expecting that your posts will raise your Google ranking, and give you lots of targeted search traffic. Even a few articles helps a bit…but to truly see real results with this you need to be putting up decent quality stuff at least every few days, for many many months.
The biggest problem is that people go about running their blog in the first method (putting up very nice articles, but not very many and not very often) and don’t promote it themselves (so they don’t get the first type of benefits) and don’t get a huge Google reward because they aren’t creating enough content! This leads to an unseen and unused blog…and for the most part, a waste of time. It’s still gonna give you a tiny search engine boost to have a few good articles, but not what you’re probably expecting.
Moral of the story? Do one of the following: promote your blog to your customers, or give so much great content that Google ranks you highly. If you are doing neither, then maybe owning a blog isn’t for you!
Don’t have the time or resources to promote your blogging or do it often enough to have a large impact? You can still blog…just use someone else’s! Blog owners of the second type (see above for the 2 types) are constantly looking for great content that will help ease their burden of continuous blog updates, and they often will trade great things like recognition and links to your website for your guest posts!
Pamphlets / Brochures
Are you mostly an offline person? Well, we’ve discussed many times before that an online presence still helps your completely offline business (mostly because mobile users find your business via online search)…but offline stuff is still important too!
Pamphlets and brochures relating to your field are a great content marketing method that you can use to woo people in an offline way. Just think of something your customers may want to learn about, and create instructional print about it!
Here’s a great example to get your mind moving. Let’s say you own a flower business (like you sell flower arrangements and bouquets). Create pamphlets about how to keep decorative flowers alive as long as possible, complete with lists of supplement suppliers, tips and tricks, etc. etc. Make it of true value to your customers, the kind of thing they’d keep in a drawer or give to Grandma. Then put your logo/website in the bottom corner of the cover (subtly, it doesn’t take much, this isn’t an ad! …at least they don’t think it is…muhahaha!) and include your contact details on the back. Then give it away to any customer, give them a few in case they want to share. And just in general, give them away whenever you get the chance!
Another great example of offline content marketing (similar to brochures and pamphlets) is the almighty poster. I remember back in high school I took a lot of metal shop, and all over the shop were safety posters and charts of speeds & feeds for different materials on different machines, etc. And each and every one of them had contact details for the maker in the bottom corner.
Genius. Imagine: schools were posting these on walls…advertisements! That’s how powerful content marketing is. I can still remember a few of the brands represented on my shop room walls. Our shop teacher used these suppliers every time he needed supplies, from welding rods to mill bits. And I guarantee you that more than once he made the decision based off of the fact that the contact details for these companies were readily available to him…plastered all over the walls.
Magazines / Newspapers
So maybe you can’t get a write-up in the next issue of the New York Times, but what about local? Got a winery? I’m sure there’s some sort of publication for tourism about local wines, rather than just buying ad space, offer to help them write articles about wine subjects such as pairing foods with different wines. Submit stories to the local news-paper if you have anything news worthy.
Just remember that if you do a good job creating content, then it’s in publishers’ best interests to use it, it’s a win for them as well as you.
Often there are businesses near each other that are in a similar field, but don’t compete. You have a brewery, they have a steakhouse…cross promote! Allow them to put pamphlets and posters at your location in exchange for the same from them. Post on each others’ blogs about topics that intertwine your two products or services. It’s a great way to promote as well do some local networking!
If you give me more good ideas for small business, I’ll add it to the post and credit you!