11outof11 - A Blog For Business Owners Looking To Grow

Where We Started, Where We Are Now: Signs Your Business is Ready for Content Marketing

For many small business owners, the idea of expanding their marketing can be daunting. And if they haven’t dedicated any time or resources to marketing in the past, it might be absolutely overwhelming! 

How do you know you and your business are in a place where small business marketing is something you should add to your ever-growing to-do list? There are a few signals that you’re ready to take your marketing endeavors to the next level. 

Why start content marketing? 

When done right, content marketing won’t just attract leads, but it will help you delve deeply into your customer’s specific pain points. This in-depth understanding builds trust in your product and provides brand recognition as well as establishing you as a thought leader in your field. Bonus— current content on your website increases trust in your brand. 

But when it comes down to it, content marketing is good for business. Companies that regularly blog see 55% more website visitors than those that don’t. Great content can also help you stand apart from competitors— your site is the place to visit for the information your customers need to make informed decisions. 

Ok, you’re convinced! You’re ready to start. How can you ensure that you’re set up for success? Let’s dive in and determine how to overcome the overwhelm and tackle content marketing. 

Bolster the Basics

Content marketing isn’t a cure-all… it works best when all the other elements of your marketing plan are properly functioning. 

For starters, take a close look at your website. If it isn’t user and search engine optimized, it’ll be that much harder to attract an audience. Beyond that, if you don’t have rock-solid conversion strategies, not to mention the team support needed to create copy and provide all necessary design elements, you aren’t ready to start content marketing. 

Google Analytics should be a part of your marketing toolbox; it’s the best way to assess the progress of your newly implemented strategies. Consider crafting a voice and tone guide, too; if you have a distinctive tone that makes your brand immediately recognizable, your work will stand apart from the rest of the pack. 

Create a Documented Strategy

If your previous marketing efforts could best be described as scattershot, it’s time to stop creating in chaos and focus on a strategy

What does that look like? Well, before you begin, document your process. This includes: 

  • Your audience— Who are you creating for? What are their motivations? Why is your company the best option for them? 
  • Your goals and metrics— What do you want to accomplish with this content? How will you know when you’ve succeeded? 
  • Your content topics and content formats— What will you produce content about? Where will it reside? Are you considering blogging or creating videos? Organic social media or podcasting? 
  • Your distribution channels— Where will your content reside? How will you ensure it gets in front of the people for whom it’s intended? 

With a map to guide you, you’re more likely to succeed in your small business marketing efforts. 

Embrace Brand Storytelling

Even small children understand the power of stories. Why not share your company’s history, mission, and everything that differentiates you from your competitors in the form of a story? It’s an effective way to capture your audience’s attention and engage their emotions. 

Stories are memorable. They’re an easy way to show your customers where your focus lies and position you as an authentic and viable resource for them. You can effectively share your brand voice and show your audience where they come into the picture, convincing them to take the action you want them to take. 

Get Organized 

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you need to step back and create a process that will ensure you’re maximizing your efficiency while minimizing the costs related to content creation. 

Set your budget. How much can you afford to spend on content marketing every month? Consider all the factors, including the tools you need— a content management system (CMS), SEO tools, content planner— and the team members you’ll need to execute your plan— content writers, a project manager, social media manager, podcast editor, video producer, etc.

Tap a content creator. If you’ve got a couple of folks on your team who can write a killer blog post in your brand’s voice (and have the capacity to do so), that’s fantastic! But if you don’t, there’s no need to panic. You can easily outsource this to a qualified content marketing agency. If nothing else, an agency can help you get started— they’ve got the experience you lack, and they can get you pointed in the right direction. 

Create a content calendar. Whether you choose to map out the next quarter or the whole year, having a carefully plotted calendar will keep you from descending back into marketing chaos. Make sure your calendar is comprehensive, including: 

  • Topics and keywords
  • Audience you want to reach
  • Format you want to utilize
  • Timeline for production
  • Team members who will produce the content 

Once you’ve started following your calendar, start analyzing the performance of the content you’ve produced so far. This will help you know if you’re reaching your audience. If you’re not, you’ve got time to make the necessary adjustments to upcoming content pieces so that you can get it in front of the right people.


Be Original

As you create content, don’t be afraid to be a little bit bold. As a small business owner, you know that it can be challenging to make your voice heard. How do you set yourself apart? 

Don’t just rehash what other (bigger) companies are saying.  

Instead, provide YOUR take on your industry. Share your opinions, personalize your stories, and have fun with your content. Write an eye-catching headline. Remind your audience why they want to work with you! Additionally, don’t be afraid to use all the colors in your designer’s palette to visually attract attention. Sometimes, your audience will judge a book by its cover, so make sure that the cover is eye-catching. Small business marketing can be fun! 


Find Your Content Niche

You probably are all too aware that you can’t be everything for everybody. This is also the case for content marketing. You may produce amazing blog posts and excellent Instagram content, but your podcasting just isn’t taking off as you hoped it would and your Facebook ads are failing. 

Focus on your strengths. Don’t waste your time and resources trying to shore up a content avenue that just isn’t hitting your audience. You can get a good idea of where your audience spends their time by using your analytics tools to see what’s working and what’s not. 

When you have a good idea of what’s going to be most successful, double down on your efforts there. That doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything you’ve done on the channels that just weren’t working; you can always repurpose that content on the more successful channels. 


Ready to Start Content Marketing? 11outof11 Can Help! 

If your small business marketing strategy needs a boost, let’s talk! Request a complimentary call with one of our content marketing experts at 11outof11 today. Click here to learn more.

Topics: Marketing, Market Your Small Business, Inbound Marketing, Outsourced Marketing, Content Marketing