Last month, in part one of this blog I talked about the awesomeness of content marketing for small businesses. It’s a no brainer. Every small business owner should be doing it, for no other reason than it's marketing for free! No big marketing budgets required, just a plan, the right channels and some creative ideas for content.
The Do’s and Don’ts of content marketing
You know your subject and want to share your knowledge and expertise. For part two of this blog, I’m offering guidance on how to go about your content marketing campaign, and also some pitfalls to avoid. So here goes…
DO - Know your audience
Your target customers are males aged 35-50 in Greater Manchester. You know your audience, right? Wrong. Knowing your audience is not just about demographics, it’s about digging deep into their psyche and asking some probing questions.
Understanding your audience means you know:
On which social media platforms they like to hang out online
How they prefer to be communicated with
What questions or problems they have that need solving
What they worry about
What they aspire to be or achieve
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll have a much better understanding of your audience and be able to provide them with relevant and valuable content. If you don’t know this about your audience, ask them!
DO - Be engaging, authentic and relevant
Whether it’s an eBook, a blog or a brochure, your content marketing should be helpful and useful to your audience. From the very first paragraph, your reader should recognise that the information is relevant to them and reading it is worth their while. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be yourself and share your own experiences – what you know. And don’t forget to solve the problems and challenges your audience has told you they’re struggling with.
DO - Think quality over quantity
A quality content marketing strategy doesn’t mean you need to be researching and writing all day everyday to get your message out there. If you can solve a problem in just one piece of editorial or one eBook download, leave it at that. A series of short blog posts is more valuable and useful than war and peace on the internet.
DO - Include a clear call to action
Whatever content you choose to create, think about what you want your reader to do as a result and make this very clear. On the web, a call to action button with rounded edges gets more clicks than a square button. Is there an offer page you can direct them to, a contact form to complete, or a newsletter you’d like your reader to subscribe to? Ask them!
DO - Stand out from the crowd
A little market research goes a long way. Take some time to understand what’s out there and make your content different from your competitors. A unique and honest piece of insight could be the deciding factor in a client choosing your services over another.
DO - Keep the conversation going
If you send a piece of direct mail, ask your clients what they thought of it. Respond to comments on social media or your blog and engage with your audience. Keep them hooked so they want more!
The Don’ts of content marketing
Here are a few things to avoid in content marketing…
DON’T – Tell or Sell
No-one likes to be told what to do, or to be overtly sold to. A subtle sales message and call to action is fine, but your priority should be to educate, entertain and inform your audience.
DON’T - Try to be clever
Sometimes simple is better. If you have doubts whether your audience will understand or engage with your creative content marketing idea then it’s probably best to have a re-think.
DON’T - Ramble
If SEO is a priority for you, then you’ll need longer pieces of content on your website. If your focus is on capturing your audience’s attention then keep your content short and to the point. Make it easy to consume.
DON’T - Just share what you want to share
Go back to the top of this post and re-read the section on knowing your audience. If you understand that, you won’t be guilty of this one!
DON’T - Only share other people’s content
A mix of curated (other people’s) and created/original content is recommended on social media. This shows that you have your own knowledge and expertise as well as appreciating the thoughts and opinions of others in your field.
DON’T - Only do content marketing
Content marketing is awesome but should form part of your overall marketing strategy. There’s still a lot of value in networking, advertising, and promoting your business in other more traditional and paid-for ways too, so don’t rule them out.
If you didn't catch Part one of this blog - you can find it here.
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