One of the best ways to support the growth of your small business is by strengthening your content marketing efforts. Content marketing for small business is one of the most effective strategies for generating leads, raising brand awareness, and building a loyal customer base.
However, many small businesses make mistakes in their content marketing efforts that undermine results. Before looking at these common mistakes, it’s important to understand what content marketing actually means.
What is Content Marketing for Small Business?
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract a specific audience, build brand awareness, drive sales, and increase customer loyalty.
This post is a great example. We wrote it and published it on our blog. You found it, and now you are on our website. We’re hoping you’ll like this content and also discover the free trial of our software — if you manage a business with field reps, you’ll love how it handles everything from booking and route optimization to payments and inventory.
Besides blog posts like this one, content can include social media posts, emails, ebooks, videos, infographics, long-form articles, white papers, podcasts, and more. It can also take various forms, from informative and educational content to content that is inspirational and entertaining.
The goal of content marketing is to increase your visibility, bring traffic to your website, engage on social media, and establish yourself as a likable, helpful expert in your field.
To keep your marketing efforts on track, here are nine of the most common content marketing mistakes made by small businesses:
Failing to Plan
Without a clear plan, you won’t be able to consistently deliver valuable content to your target audience. Content planning might sound difficult, but essentially it involves:
- Understanding your target audience.
- Knowing what types of content they need.
- Knowing where to publish the content.
- Creating a publishing schedule.
With a clear plan, you can deliver relevant content that reaches the right people at the right time, connects with them on a deeper level, and encourages engagement with your business.
The key is to create a publication schedule and stick to it. This motivates you and your team to deliver regular, valuable content to your audience. But more importantly, your audience will become confident that you can consistently provide them with valuable content, which builds trust in your business.
Trying to Please Everyone
If you try to please everybody, nobody will be happy. You need to deliver specific, relevant content to a unique set of people: your potential customers. Whenever you create any piece of content, keep your ideal customer in mind.
How do you avoid creating generic content? Get to know your audience through social media, forums, email surveys, and face-to-face interviews. Understand their unique problems and needs. Then create content for them, and only for them.
Writing for Search Engines
Many small businesses try to improve their search engine rankings by stuffing their content with keywords and keyphrases. While there’s nothing wrong with including relevant words and phrases in your content, there’s no point in trying to fool the search engines; they’re more sophisticated than they used to be. “Over-optimizing” your content can actually damage your search rankings. Write primarily for humans; the appropriate keywords and phrases will materialize naturally.
Creating Only One Type of Content
Publishing regular articles for your blog is a great way to build your content library, but you shouldn’t neglect other forms of content. Infographics, videos, social media posts, email content, guides, checklists, case studies, and more should all be utilized. People have different preferences when it comes to consuming content. By creating different types of content, you’re more likely to reach a wider audience.
Not Repurposing Content
Creating content is time-consuming, so it makes sense to squeeze as much value as you can from each content investment. By repurposing content, you can target different audiences with the same information.
For example, a white paper can be split into several blog posts. One of these blog posts can be summarized for email content. Short excerpts, statistics, images, and graphics can also be shared across your social media platforms.
Talking About Your Business Too Much
People will want to learn more about your business, but only when they’re ready. First, you need to build trust. If you’re constantly talking about how great you are without providing any real value, no one will really listen.
Instead of talking about your business, talk about your audience, answer their questions and draw them in with useful, entertaining, and inspiring content. In short, give people the answers they’re looking for before they even ask – on your website, in emails, and across your social media platforms.
Forgetting to Insert a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Content marketing for small business needs to be results-oriented.
What do you want people to do after they’ve read your content? Whether you want them to visit a certain web page, subscribe to your email list, or claim a discount, if you don’t make it clear, you could lose many potential leads. Include a link or CTA button within every blog post, web page, social media post, and email. When you clearly tell people what you want them to do next, they’re more likely to take action.
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Failing to Regularly Promote Content
You can create the most amazing piece of content, but if only a few people read it, it doesn’t really benefit your business. To give content — and your business — the recognition it deserves, you need to put some effort into content promotion.
Use email to spread the word about new content as soon as it’s published. Link to the content multiple times on social media. And if you have the budget, create paid ads to drive traffic to the content. It can take weeks or even months before awareness of the content peaks, so consistent promotion is key – especially right after publication.
Not Measuring Results
Which types of content resonate most with your audience? Is the content you’re producing effective in terms of achieving your marketing goals? If you don’t track content performance, you won’t find out.
At a minimum, use Google Analytics to measure website traffic, average time spent on pages, bounce rates, and other metrics. There are many other online services to help you track content engagement, including social media analytics and email analytics tools. When you have the data, you can improve underperforming content and use the top-performing content as a reference point for future campaigns.
Content Marketing for Small Business
Content marketing is a key digital marketing strategy for any small business. If you consistently publish valuable content online, you’re more likely to attract, engage, and convert potential customers. However, mistakes can undermine your marketing campaigns and even damage the reputation of your business.
Don’t worry if your content marketing efforts sometimes fall short. Every business makes mistakes, but mistakes are also learning experiences. At the very least, try to avoid the mistakes outlined here. Content marketing isn’t easy, but when you get it right, you can impress more potential customers and reap the rewards for years to come.
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