When I ask the question “Will You Find Your Next Client — or Will They Find You?”, it is a direct challenge to business owners to define an inbound marketing strategy. This strategy combines search, social media and content marketing to attract a clearly defined audience who are researching a solution to a challenge or need. Content marketing is the foundation for a successful inbound strategy and has many benefits for the business that executes it well. But content marketing also comes with challenges for small businesses.
With even with the many benefits, why is it so difficult for small business owners to successfully implement content marketing? Inbound marketing is not a “set it and forget it” marketing activity. It is a process that requires regular, consistent delivery of focused content to increase your visibility and demonstrate your expertise.
What are the content marketing challenges?
Determining your goals for content marketing
Why do you want to engage in content marketing in the first place? With the 10 benefits above, which one are you interested in achieving? That will drive the type of content you will need to produce.
Focusing on a narrow target audience
Many small business owners have trouble choosing their ideal target client. In order to succeed in content marketing, you have to focus in order to create the right content at the right time to help them make a buying decision. You need to intimately understand your audience’s challenges so you can be found when they most need you.
Having enough time and resources to produce the content
Creating quality content takes time. But if this is important to you, carve out the time in your schedule or find someone who can do the initial writing for you. Then all you will need to do is review the content for publication.
Developing a content plan that provides the road map for what content to produce and when
Having an editorial calendar is crucial to success. Laying out the content with details such as publish date, media type and promotion targets helps you keep on track. This is one area you just can’t wing it and hope for the best.
Writing content with focus and clarity
If you create posts around a single or narrow topic, you will find yourself writing more focused content that is easy to consume. Even though the trend is to write long-form content, shorter posts can still work to get you more visibility. After you write a few shorter posts to get started, then focus on some cornerstone content. Create this content to provide more details around some of your key areas of expertise.
Not understanding what content to produce and in what format
This goes back to determining your goals and understanding your ideal client needs. What you produce and in what media type has to align with your idea client. If your clients don’t like video or video is hard to consume where they work, make sure you have text to accompany the video.
Not knowing where to post your content to reach your ideal client
You can create the best content, but if you don’t promote it, it will stay hidden. But where to promote it is the question. Once again, knowing where your target will most likely see your content helps you determine where to post.
- Are you a local business? Post it on your Google My Business page.
- Does your audience hang out on Facebook? Put it on your Facebook page and personally share it to your friends.
- Are you selling primarily to business owners? Share it on LinkedIn on your personal profile and company page.
Producing quality content consistently that excites and informs your audience
Consistency in publishing is probably the hardest thing to do. We all have businesses to run and clients to serve. Set realistic expectations around your content delivery. You don’t have to publish content several times a week. Once or twice a month is a good schedule for most small businesses. Look for other opportunities to share your expertise through interviews or guest posts. They also help you gain precious backlinks.
Measuring the effectiveness of the content you produce
Measuring any marketing activity is always hard. But there are ways to do it. Using Google Analytics:
- See if your website is gaining more visitors.
- Look at what pages and posts on your website are most trafficked.
- See which platforms are referring visitors to your website.
- Look for people linking to your content.
The effects of content marketing takes time, but you can start to see if there are positive outcomes from having done the work.
Proving ROI of content marketing
Everything we do in marketing is to increase revenue. So measuring the return on investment of your content marketing efforts is important. The best way to do this is to ask people who call your business or contact you through your website about how they found you. Content helps your web presence to be more visible. Being found by someone who needs your help is the result of more visibility.
Is it worth it for your business?
But nothing really good comes easy. Content marketing benefits definitely outweigh the challenges. And content marketing is important to your small business marketing strategy because it helps your business become highly visible to your target audience.
Proving your expertise through the content you produce is an investment you need to make. Don’t wait to get started on this effective marketing strategy. Work with someone who can help you get clarity and overcome these challenges of content marketing.