Content marketing has been all the rage for a number of years now, but it can be a hard thing to get right for small business owners. After all, there’s a lot more to putting together a content strategy than simply banging out a few blog posts every now and then — you’ll need both patience and planning to get the most out of your efforts.
As with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — an area with which content marketing is intricately linked — there’s no shortage of bumpf and bluster out there on the subject, with a rather horrible signal-to-noise ratio when it comes to actually getting things done.
In this piece, we’ll set you up for success by highlighting lessons you can learn from four content marketing gurus, along with some ongoing resources to draw on.
Let’s get going!
1. Content marketing is at the heart of effective SEO
Tune into his regular Whiteboard Friday features and you’ll discover piece after piece backing up the importance of content marketing as a cornerstone of modern SEO.
Speaking of Buffer…
2. Transparency and data make a winning combination
In addition to offering a rather excellent suite of social media tools at an incredibly affordable price point, the good folks over at Buffer have been knocking it out of the park in terms of content marketing for quite some time now. You can read more on their consistently excellent social media, development, and company culture blogs.
Each one of the Buffer blogs is stacked full of specific insight and inspiration, but the biggest general takeaway in terms of executing your content marketing is how effective the combination of transparency and data can be.
You may not quite be able to match the radically transparent culture initiated by Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne, but taking a data-driven look at behind-the-scenes action in your own company can be an extremely powerful content marketing tactic.
3. You can’t afford to skip strategy
Getting the first few content marketing pieces out the door is relatively straightforward, but you’ll soon start struggling unless there’s an overall structure and strategy to your efforts.
As with any other marketing initiative, you want to be thinking in terms of campaigns, calendars, and cost effectiveness at all times – content shouldn’t simply be a hit and hope marketing black hole.
Put simply, you can’t afford to skip strategy.
You’ll find excellent overall guides at Kissmetrics, DigitalMarketer and the Content Marketing Institute, but one of our favorite sources of reliable strategic insight is the work of Jay Baer over at Convince & Convert. His piece, How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy is solid gold for small business owners, and a great place to start when mapping out your own approach.
Jay also shares some great content marketing advice for small business owners in this video:
4. You might already be sitting on a content goldmine
Start diving into the world of content marketing and it won’t be long until you come across Brian Clark of Copyblogger. The site itself is a powerhouse of in-depth information on content marketing and all aspects of copywriting — recent case studies and pieces such as “9 Books Every Content Marketer Should Read” are just the tip of the iceberg.
One of the more interesting tips Brian has consistently shared over the years is the power of repurposing existing content. It’s an idea that was extensively leveraged in the highly successful relaunch of Copyblogger itself, and one that most small businesses can usefully learn from.
Before you start panicking about creating brand new content for your audience, take a while to examine existing resources you have that could be rejigged or given a new lease of life in other formats.
Dive into the work of any of the gurus we’ve featured above, and you’ll find a tremendous amount of free resources to take your content marketing game to the next level.
Let’s briefly recap the specific lessons we learned before closing up:
- Content marketing is a natural SEO engine, and RankBrain is set to make this even truer.
- Pulling back the curtain on your own performance can be an excellent source of impactful content.
- You need a broad strategic content overview in place to be able to reliably dish out top-notch content over time.
- Make sure to take full advantage of existing resources before shelling out on new content.
We’d love to hear how you’re getting on with your own small business content marketing efforts. Got any tips or tricks to share, or lessons from gurus we’ve missed? Get in touch via the comments section below and let us know!