Updated: Apr 19
As a brand designer, I get to work with small business owners and entrepreneurs to craft strong brands that can propel their businesses forward. The branding process is a given: if you want people to take your business seriously, you need a brand that connects with your audience.
What I’ve come to notice though, is that after the brand deliverables are sent, not every business owner takes charge of their brand in ways that will benefit their business.
The best way to expand your audience and attract new customers is through content marketing. As a small business owner myself, I know first hand how effective content marketing can be on your business’ growth. Small business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur — all forms of businesses benefit from smart content marketing. The question is, why aren’t you capitalizing on it?
WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?
Content marketing is all about your audience. It is providing valuable content for them rather than pushing your own product or service. I’m sure there are social accounts or email newsletters you currently subscribe to that you look forward to each week because they serve up useful content.
These are examples of content marketing.
Whether it’s the real estate agent who sends you monthly market stats or the yoga studio that just launched a free beginner’s guide to yoga — creating unique content marketing ideas for your business is the golden ticket to build your following and grow your business.
HOW DOES CONTENT MARKETING IMPACT YOUR BUSINESS?
Quality content marketing builds trust in your audience, positions yourself as the expert, and shows you care about more than just selling your own product or service.
As a small business, the easiest way to get started on your content marketing journey is through social media. Creating social media content is the easiest and most effective way to build brand awareness and the best part is IT’S FREE.
When it comes to your social media content creation, you need to think of it as a way of connecting with your audience, not just a soapbox from which you promote your own business.
The beauty of content marketing for small business is that by resisting the urge to always be selling yourself, you’re actually more likely to build your audience’s trust and increase your sales.
This will only work, however, if you’re creating content that is consistent with your brand. Branding is an experience. Each time someone interacts with your brand — whether it’s online, in store or in a magazine — if the elements are consistent, their brand experience will be stronger for it.
5 TIPS FOR YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
1. Posting often is key but posting for postings sake is wasteful. You want to avoid creating throwaway content. While you may be trying to post anything to ensure you’re keeping active online, you run the risk of posting a lot of useless content that will lose the interest of your followers.
2. To capitalize on your content marketing, you need to ask yourself which social platforms your audience is using and what type of content your audience will find valuable. Put yourself in their shoes and consider the things that would make their lives easier or better.
3. Prioritize engaging content. On Instagram and Facebook, start your captions with a question that will pique their curiosity so they keep reading. Use interactive stickers in your Instagram stories to promote engagement.
While you want to provide them with useful advice, you also want to get personal. Tell them stories about you or your brand to help you build an authentic connection with your followers
4. Strive to make social media content that is worth sharing. Posting content that is both visually appealing and valuable will encourage your audience to share it with their own followers. Creating shareable content not only expands your content’s reach but it influences Instagram’s algorithm to increase your feed ranking.
5. In the end, the goal is to create content that your followers will look forward to. When you put effort into creating your social media content and maintaining a consistent look and feel, you’re actively delivering a positive brand experience, boosting your brand loyalty, and increasing your perceived value.
"When you put effort into creating your social media content… you’re actively delivering a positive brand experience, boosting your brand loyalty, and increasing your perceived value."
CONTENT MARKETING IDEAS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
Content marketing has many forms. In the digital landscape, your goals generally revolve around increasing your followers and brand awareness, building your email list, and increasing your sales. Here are just a handful of ideas for your content marketing strategy.
Create a Branded Lead Magnet
In Part 1 of my Lead Generation Series I get you started with lead magnet ideas for your business. Lead magnets are a great form of content marketing because they give you a chance to offer free valuable content and grow your mailing list.
Choosing the right lead magnet depends on your industry and what your audience will be willing to offer up their email address for. Informative how-to guides, branded checklists, template bundles, webinars or even exclusive access to content or a video series are all great ways to appeal to your audience.
Increase Your Website Traffic with Blogs
A foolproof way to provide valuable content for your audience is writing blogs. People have been doing this since the beginning of the Internet. Why? Because it’s a great way to provide useful tips and insight to your audience while simultaneously increasing your web traffic.
Not only does it provide you with new, fresh content to share on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook but it encourages those who are truly interested to visit your website and start exploring.
When done strategically, using long-tail keywords in your blogs will increase your SEO ranking and start to boost your organic traffic. If this is something you’re interested in exploring, I highly recommend Neil Patel’s content. Start with this blog post on integrating long-tail keywords into your blog posts.
Social Content Marketing for Entrepreneurs
Coming up with fresh content to share on your social media platforms can be challenging. If you’re ready to start capitalizing on your content marketing it’s important to prioritize a content calendar. Here are some social media content ideas to get you started:
get personal: tell stories
show behind the scenes and sneak peeks
offer advice or useful tips
post snippets from blog content
offer a lead magnet
talk about things you’ve learned in your industry
share resources you use in your business
take your audience on a tour of your workspace
celebrate your staff, your community, or your clients
promote your products and show people using them
share client testimonials
showcase before and afters
run contests and giveaways
partner with another business for cross-brand promotions
Spend some time trying to come up with innovative content marketing ideas for your business. What will allow you to stand out from your competition? If you can find a gap in the market, that’s where you can really shine!
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE PINTEREST
While Instagram and Facebook tend to be the main focus for most content marketing strategies, Pinterest is an invaluable social platform not to be overlooked.
Pinterest is more like a search engine than a news feed. While on Instagram and Facebook your posts will appear in your audience’s feed for maybe a day, on Pinterest your pins have an engagement-generating life span of years. This means, anytime someone searches for keywords related to your content, it has the chance to appear.
Not to mention the fast growth and audience reach. As soon as someone pins your content, it starts circulating in front of their followers. If it gets pinned again, your reach expands again and the growth is exponential.
PRO TIP: Avoid using too many cursive or styled fonts. Because Pinterest is a search-engine platform, it is actively scanning images for keywords and can't easily read the cursive text on your graphics.
In the last month alone, I’ve started being more active on Pinterest and now it makes up 41% of my website traffic. All of which is to say, be sure to factor Pinterest into your content marketing strategy!
By now, I hope you can see how valuable content marketing can be for your small business. I am also a small business owner and can tell you that the majority of my new business comes from Instagram. I realize that, as a designer, I have an advantage in being able to create my own content on the fly. Be sure to connect with me on Instagram to get tips and tricks for producing awesome content with ease.