7 Ways Small Business Should Promote Their Content
Creating an effective content management strategy is crucial to your brand. When you’re a small business, competing with large companies that have deep pockets can be daunting. But you don’t need a huge budget to drive your brand’s visibility. What you need is quality content that increases trust and delivers company values to existing and potential customers.
How do I know this?
I’m glad you asked.
I’m a small business owner, whose business is content writing. That’s right. I’m one of the poor souls who choose to write for a living…and it’s one of the most rewarding occupations in the world. Speaking personally of course.
There are effective strategies you can use to improve your brand’s visibility and add value to your clients.
7 Ways to Boost your Content Management
1. Create Quality Content
This might sound obvious (forehead slap), but the number of blog posts, articles, and ‘You must have these SEO tips,’ I’ve read that offer poor content for the price of your soul – in other words, your email and contact details – is alarming. Quality content is everything. It needs to educate and inform purposefully.
This point will be controversial.
Collecting emails for gated content will increase your reach and mailing list. BUT as a consumer who finds it frustrating to give away my soul to a ‘sign up,’ please, give something away for nothing. That’s right, free, gratis, null, nix.
This simple strategy of abandoning gated content, at least for some of your content, will reap rewards. It’s worth at least a pause to consider your options here. Think like a consumer. What frustrates them? Having to jump through hoops before they get the information they want. Be generous, be authentic, and write quality content that you’re happy to give away for free.
2. Blog Consistently
Another forehead slap perhaps. To create value, you need to consistently engage with your audience. As a business, your customers need to trust what you do and see it in the frequency of your communications.
That’s easier said than done I hear you say. As business owners and writers we are all in the same proverbial boat. Writing content takes time. Sometimes, you will hire others to do it for you, but if you’re a small business, that may not be part of your budget.
So, what can you do?
Well, to begin with, make a list or brainstorm all possible ideas for blogs. Hubspot even has an instant blog generator if you are truly stuck. Decide on a realistic schedule to post your content. For me, I aim to post every Monday.
Does this always work? No. But it makes me accountable, and if I miss this self-imposed deadline then I’m forced to sit down and revise it. Ask yourself:
- Have I set realistic timelines?
- Will this work in particularly busy periods?
- Can I write ahead of time and have multiple posts almost ready to go?
Modify, adapt and reframe. You’ll hit the right balance. I use Trello, a web-based project management tool. It helps with planning and allows you to organize things into categories. Map out your content schedule and set aside a designated time to sit down and write – and stick to it.
3. Guest post
One of the most valuable things you can do to increase your portfolio and prove your worth as a writer is to guest post. Guest posting builds relationships and adds value to existing sites. One of the incredible benefits is the host site includes a link to your blog and/or website, including a short biography.
Over time, these backlinks will raise awareness of your business to search engines, making your content easier to find. Another advantage of guest blogging is that it builds your connections to a community. For me, it’s a writing and freelancing community.
If you write well about topics that are of interest to your audience, then it will convert over time to more followers and readers. Be generous and rigorous with the content you write.
Add value. Be positive. Be patient.
Persistence and quality will win in the end.
4. Leverage Your Analytics
Analytics and information are key drivers in your business’s success in the digital world. Using data helps you know who your customers are and what they want. Whether you have a formal strategy around data or not, you will know what is most important for your success.
There’s no point trying to increase brand awareness or trust if you have no idea who your customers are. Using analytics helps you understand your customers. From how satisfied they are with your products/service, to their buying behaviour or even how they engage with your website.
Using analytics leads to actionable insights, which in turn leads to better decisions. You don’t need to invest a lot of capital in data analytics. For small business owners, it may be as simple as looking at how many people engage with your blog. Are there posts that scored better? Why?
Many business owners will already be using Google analytics or similar platforms. The best part is that it’s free. You can scale up when, and if the need arises. With so much data at our fingertips, it’s no wonder why business owners struggle to sort through it all. What is certain is that customers value the experience you provide almost as much as the product or service. So businesses who know their customers, and know why they leave will be better placed to succeed.
5. Use the power of LinkedIn
Running a small business is exhausting, particularly at the beginning. Ok, well all the time. Writing constantly, pitching ideas, or searching for clients that you want to write for can be an endless cycle of rinse and repeat. I was never a huge fan of LinkedIn and used it in a cursory way until I realized the power it had to connect me with businesses and people who need my skills.
To this day, I remember the first time I posted an Op-ed on the platform. I was studying for my doctorate and one of the tasks was to put our writing on a public platform. I felt sick to my stomach. Why would anyone want to read what I have written? Imposter syndrome was firmly in control. Until I said to myself, “What’s the worse thing that can happen?” From that first post, I received 50 connection requests, which took my grand total to 75 connections. To say I was shocked and amazed was an understatement.
LinkedIn has value. People come to LinkedIn to do business. In fact, some of my most valuable and lucrative writing opportunities have come from LinkedIn. You won’t find memes of piano-playing dogs or the latest dance trend. What you will find is a networking platform where you can engage with your ideal client.
Set up your profile correctly to highlight your skills and your niche if you have one. Write from the perspective of your ideal client and the writing they may be after. How are you going to solve their problem? Start with this and go from there.
Make sure you personalise your invitation requests to the individual or business. This demonstrates that you know their business and the type of content they produce. Do your homework and make this part of your regular marketing routine. LinkedIn is a long game. You may get some instant inquiries but remember, you have to build relationships and trust first. Keep going. It will be worth it.
6. Use visuals creatively
Whether you are selling a product or seeking to utilize blogging to attract clients, you cannot ignore the effect of visual marketing. According to some experts, 70-80 % of potential clients research a small business online before contacting them.
If your pictures take too long to load or your website is unattractive, you will lose engagement. No matter what your business niche is, ensure you have a clear and captivating message coupled with the power of visuals.
Be careful about the images you choose. They should complement your written content and be relevant to what you are talking about. If you have time, create your own images which will personalise your brand and mission.
You can also use promotional videos to target your ideal clients and do it in a way that keeps their attention and offers a solution to their problem.
7. Choose Your Social Media Apps Wisely
I’m going to confess. I hate social media. That’s right. It’s out there now. I am a chronic introvert. The idea of spraying and praying across social media terrifies and abhors me in equal measure. I could quite easily just write for myself, stay in my own head and be very, very happy with that. Unfortunately, my business wouldn’t survive if I did. People need to know that I can write, in many different ways, with the required tone of voice. Businesses need to know that my work is professional, well-written, and timely.
That said, I choose carefully where I want to interact. I have a Twitter account, but very rarely use it. Facebook – I don’t think so. I prefer to write and network on LinkedIn. It suits my business needs and I find that many professional groups give thoughtful and constructive advice.
It may be that I am cutting off potential clients by being selective, but I’m Ok with that. I would prefer to use my time wisely than spread myself too thin. This works for me. It won’t work for everyone. Choose the social media apps that are going to enhance your business, not bleed you dry with endless advertisements and inane content.
Content is a way to establish yourself and your brand as a valuable source of information. It also allows you to connect and engage with your audience, building interest and trust. Consistency and well-written content is essential
Your time is too precious to waste on mining for fools’ gold.