How can businesses ‘do’ content marketing and why they can’t afford not to…
A survey of marketing intentions in 2018 put content marketing right at the front of the queue for marketing activity anticipated to drive conversions for business owners. But as a business owner, working in and on the business, how can you produce content that can drive your business forward? We believe you can’t afford not to. Here’s why:
The way we search has changed
The way we (internet users) search for information on the Internet is changing. Artificial Intelligent or Bots (Robots) such as Siri or Alexa are making our search behaviour far more conversational. Google, in response, are changing the way they display SERPS (search engine results) to favour content that is more conversational in its tone. Quite simply, if a user asks a question they will rank a page that answers it over one that doesn’t. Google is the guardian of a user’s web experience – this protects their interests and ensures a user doesn’t choose a competitive search engine.
You’re an expert
As a business owner, you are the expert in your chosen field. You also have a raft of clients, success stories, and some failures, which will help potential customers’ pain points. What we’re saying is sharing is caring and Google will reward you for that.
So, where do you start?
Think about your customers and why they would contact you. A locksmith might pose the question – ‘Should I change the locks in my house if I have just moved in?’ The answer for the locksmith is, of course, ‘Yes’.
To explore a more B2B focused analogy let’s consider a company who produces promotional videos for SME’s. They might ask ‘Should an SME invest in a promotional video?’ or ‘How much does it cost for a small company to create a video?’ In both the examples above the business owner in question would have lots of valuable insight to share, which ultimately will have an impact on their SERPS.
Sharing insight like this not only adds value to your potential customers experience of your business. It also sets you apart from the competition.
Now you see the value and understand some of the science behind it, how then do you go about creating a programme?
The best place to start, inevitably, is always the beginning. For your business the beginning of the customer journey is the customer! Creating a persona doesn’t just need to exist in the boardroom of a big corporation, every business will be able to create a type or types of customer. For us the customer is often digitally savvy but time-poor. We could map our target customer based on job title, type of business, geographic location etc.
Now we have our person, lets identify his or her pain points. If, for instance, the video company we touched on earlier knew that they wanted to talk to marketing managers of £3-£5 million companies the persona map will identify their pain-points ‘how do I sell more pegs / bins or smoke alarms’ and where, potentially, these customers ‘hang-out’ online.
Now you have your persona – where next?
The important thing to consider about any content strategy is that the project never ends and the project needs an owner. As a small business owner the buck will probably stop with you. This doesn’t need to be an onerous task though – remember you are the expert and your customers are looking to you for guidance. A content strategy needn’t be rocket science – just think like a customer.
Let’s look at accountants as an example. Their customers will need to pay their VAT four times a year and personal tax returns every January. We would advise them to produce content around key dates for example ‘What happens when I submit a tax return late?’. We would also advise them to pepper their content with success stories and signals, which lead the users to making contact with them.
Planning a content strategy
To help you plan a content strategy, you can use Google Trends and Keyword Planner to see how the potential market for your content changes over time to help you best plan your content marketing resources. A client of ours once asked us to help sell fur clothes for them in the summer… we politely pointed out they might want to rethink their product strategy!
If you’re struggling for content ideas, you can check out our keyword research guide.
As search becomes more conversational, mobile devices continue to proliferate and start to dominate internet search, it’s time to seriously consider how you can harness the power of content marketing. The key thing to remember is you already have a huge raft of content you could put out there which will genuinely add value to your potential customers and, ultimately, can help you get ahead of your competition.
Are you implementing a content marketing plan?