If you’re running a small business or trying to get something new off the ground, we know how difficult it can be to market your business with little or no budget. Thankfully there is a way around paying piles of cash that will help you bring your brand to new audiences, showcase your expertise, and ultimately grow your customer base. That is by effectively creating and distributing engaging and informative content online through your website and social channels.
Previously we explored some tactics for raising awareness (https://www.futureproofmedia.ie/2019/08/23/brand-awareness-7-simple-techniques/), but this post is for those who may not have the budgets available for medium to large activations. Never fear, there’s always an opportunity.
Whether you are selling a product or a service, you are likely to be an expert in that industry (or at least you think you are!) with plenty of knowledge that your potential customers need to hear, and there is no better way to get this knowledge out there than through videos, blogs, infographics, how to guides, podcasts and high impact imagery online.
You might be saying, “Hold on a second, how am I supposed to create decent content for free without having to buy a load of equipment?”. Well I can tell you from experience that there are plenty of free online resources that will allow you to create anything to a good enough standard that will at least get you started. That might be something like PicPlayPost or Ripl for video or Canva for social posts, the possibilities are endless. all you need is a phone and a computer.
The content marketing process isn’t about randomly throwing out nuggets of information at random times, it’s about strategically designing a process that will help you build a community that consistently engages with your brand over a longer period of times which will eventually result in a sale. Your content won’t specifically push your product/service but will position you as an expert and build your brand.
If you follow the below simple 6 step guide you won’t go too far wrong!
Simple 6 Step Content Marketing Model
As a wise man once said “Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail” and that is certainly the case here. It is essential to plan out your content strategy weeks or even months in advance to avoid the classic drop off where businesses execute a this for a short period of time but fail stay consistent enough for it to have a long term business effects.
Your plan must consist of the following elements:
1. What type of content are you going to create?
2. How are you going to create it?
3. How many times per week/month are you going to release it?
4. What are the topics/titles of your next 10 blogs/videos/infographics etc?
5. When are you going to make time to build each of these?
If you have all this planned in advance it will save you a mountain of time/effort and help you streamline the whole process.
This will be the most time consuming element of the whole strategy and will differ based on the size of your business, if you have a content team then by all means you can create content as you need it. But if you have a small team or you are a one man/woman business we would highly recommend dedicating a few days at the beginning of each month to creating the content you plan to release over the next four weeks well in advance so you can then concentrate on running your business.
Each month you should look at the plan that you created above and pick out, for example, four blog topics, four videos, and four infographics and create them all over the course of a weekend or couple of evenings.
There will of course be other elements of your plan that are more reactive or ad hoc in nature, but by bulk creating the elements you can plan for, it will allow you more time for everything else.
In order to stay consistent it is important to create a monthly content calendar that you will stick to. Within this calendar you will document which content will appear on which channel and on what day over the course of the month.
Have a look at the screengrab below which will show you a basic template for a working week if you are operating with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin as your social channels which will ideally also drive people back to your website or point of purchase.
Once you have all of this populated and have all your content created in advance you can make it even easier for yourself by scheduling all of your posts using a tool like Hootsuite which will really save you time!
This is basically how you get the content out there in the most effective manner for building your brand and growing your business. It is important that you do not just post the same thing in the same way on every channel and hope it performs well.
You will likely have a different audience on each channel, who will consume content in very different ways. It is important to understand this and reflect it within your strategy. By this we mean, high impact imagery and short form videos might work best on Instagram, whereas your blogs and in depth infographics might work better on Linkedin. Know your audience and distribute accordingly.
It is also important that you take a number of variables like timing, hashtags, tagging, location, backlinks, calls to action, subtitles, and impactfulness into account to get the most amount of engagement and awareness on every post.
In order to reach an even wider audience OR a more defined audience you may decide to sponsor/promote your best content to maximise it’s results.
Even with a very small budget you can see a huge increase in traffic through Facebook and Instagram ads if you run them effectively. Twitter won’t give you the same bang for your buck and Linkedin is great and extremely targetted but can be complicated
In advance of promoting content you should sit down and really thoroughly define your target customer and build your ad around that.
What else do they like?
What industries do they likely work?
What are their hobbies?
What other pages would they follow?
All of the above elements can be built into your ad set which will allow to get the most out of your spend by only serving your post to the people who are likely to engage with it and/or buy you product/service.
It is important, as always, to learn from what did and did not go well for you on a weekly or monthly basis.
The data available to you in online marketing is endless, it is very easy to see what is and is not performing well for you simply through looking at specific analytics like engagement rate, dwell time, click through rate and most importantly of course, conversions.
At the end of each month, before planning out your next month take a look back at what went well and build more of that into your plan. Also, what did not go well either add less of it into your plan or try to improve it’s quality. Simple.
Once you have finished the 6 steps then go back to the start, rinse, repeat and of course let us know how you get on!