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Content is designed to achieve a wide number of goals, from improving search engine rankings to generating new leads and increasing revenues. According to one study, 89 percent of respondents saw positive results from content marketing, regardless of their particular goals. It’s clear that content marketing works—but only if you know what kind to create.
Good content comes in a variety of formats. Here are a few that work well for small businesses, and can be a good starting point for your own content strategy.
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Blogs posts and articles
Written content is the obvious starting point for your strategy. If your topics are relevant and the content is optimized for search engines, new visitors will come to your site. However, blog posts and articles are only effective in attracting readers if they are useful and well-written.
The Internet is a big place, so the fact that your blog simply exists isn’t enough to make it stand out. You should aim to write posts and articles that present new information, help your potential customers in some way, or entertain them—and the best content does all three.
If you’re having trouble coming up with topics to write about, try asking your current customers what they’d like to know. For example, if you sell a product with complicated instructions, write a step-by-step guide complete with photos. If you are a clothing retailer, write about current trends in the fashion industry and make suggestions for incorporating new items into your readers’ wardrobes. If you are a family restaurant with an interesting backstory, explain it in detail. Coming up with topics can be difficult, but every business out there has something to offer their customers.
Think back to the last time you read a blog post or article with a lot of complex information. It was probably hard to make sense of it all. Infographics, on the other hand, make statistics easier to digest and remember. They’re also more colorful and easier to share than text.
Don’t worry if you don’t have design skills—hundreds of customizable infographic templates are available online if you want to do it yourself. You could also hire a designer to put it together for you. Whatever the topic, remember to cite references within the infographic and give it a searchable title with relevant keywords.
Most of all, remember to include your business name and website somewhere on the infographic. Internet marketing for small businesses requires branding content, and an infographic provides an easy way to do so.
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People have always loved lists, whether it was David Letterman’s Top Ten List or the latest list on Buzzfeed. In fact, lists are among the most-shared content on the internet, generating as many as 25,000 shares per month. Create lists that are relevant to your target audience, and they’ll help you spread your message.
The great thing about the Internet is its capacity to present lists in a variety of formats, including animated GIFs, slideshows, and text lists. Find the format that works best for you, or create lists in a variety of formats. The topics should tie consumer needs to your business. If you sell tax software, for instance, a list of, “10 Reasons Why Tax Software is Better than a CPA” will generate interest—though maybe not from CPAs.
Interactive forms and calculators
One way to engage potential customers is to ask them to do something. Content should always contain a call to action, but some content works because the content itself requires action. Create a series of interactive tools on your website to keep people on the site longer and generate more leads for your business.
Many small businesses rely on a contact form on a landing page. These forms are useful, but they don’t keep people engaged for very long. By contrast, a tax calculator on a financial site or a project estimate generator on a contractor site motivates visitors to think about what they want and need, what they have to do to get it, and how your business can help them achieve their goals.
Podcasts and videos
Content marketing is most effective when new content appears on a regular basis. However, it should also be available when and where the user wants to access it. This is especially true with the popularity of mobile devices, which allow users to engage with your business wherever they are. However, that requires you to produce content that’s as portable as they are. Podcasts and videos fit the bill nicely.
Loyal followers can access these audio files by subscribing to a podcast and receiving new files as soon as they’re available. You can also make these files available on on-demand sites like iTunes, where anyone can download them. Videos can be posted in a variety of places like social accounts and YouTube. Both channels are great for generating new leads, presenting your insights, and keeping staying relevant to your customers.
Need some help?
Content marketing can mean the difference between struggling to attract new customers and booming into a successful business. Whether you create the content yourself or hire freelancers to do it for you, a well-executed content strategy will give your small business the boost it needs.
If you need help putting together a strategy, free to contact us! Our talented team of Internet marketers has all the expertise you need to start attracting new customers with content today.