Developing a Content Strategy For Your Small Business

small business content strategyA Content Strategy is something so many small businesses don’t think of and if you do then it’s really easy to let things slip through the cracks and not stay on top of posting.

By developing a set of criteria and pre-planning your posts you will be able to keep your website and social media channels fresh and relevant.

With the content in this article you will be fully armed to deliver quality content post after post.

Content Strategy Video to go with the Written Guide

Why Develop a Content Strategy?

Fresh content makes Google the search engine happy and helps with SEO. Fresh content keeps you in the eyes of your audience on social media and fresh content helps you stay connected to your community as well as establishes yourself as an authority in your industry.

Your website and social media outlets should be thought of as extensions to your physical store front. Imagine each of these as it’s own room or section in your store.

You need to fill that rooms shelf up with merchandise and that is what content is. It’s merchandise!

You wouldn’t sell a crappy item in your store and the same should go for your posts to your website and social media platforms. You want your merchandise to be really good so people want it.

In the same analogy you don’t want stale merchandise either. If I sold the same shirt day after day, soon people would stop coming to my store because they already bought my shirt.

By outlining ahead of time what content is needed for your website or your clients website you will be able to constantly pump out quality content.

Developing Your End Goals

It’s important to first identify what your goals are for each of your “Store Rooms” AKA website and social media platforms.

Only by defining what your goals are can you really plan what content is needed to meet those end goals as well as how much content needs to be created.

Don’t Go Dark

When starting off many WAY over plan and WAY over extend themselves. A content plan is important but it’s not as important as taking action.

The term “Go Dark” refers to websites and social profiles where the business stops posting and when this happens most past efforts fall to the way side.

This is more true with social media. You will quickly find that many subscribers will forget about you because like you they lead busy lives.

When starting out with a content strategy I recommend a RAMP UP.

What is a RAMP UP Content Strategy?

I’m glad you asked because I just made the term up.

A ramp up is simply that. If your Strategy is posting once a week to Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, your website, Google Plus, Insert other platform I’ve never used.

Cut everything but 1 social network and your website. Start for the first month just posting once a week to your website and to your Facebook account. Ensure you can handle the work load and stay ahead and on top of your content strategy.

Nothing is worse than biting off WAY more then you can chew. Take a smaller bite first and see how it tastes. The last thing you want is to go dark. There is nothing wrong with creating accounts at all these social media places but that does not mean you have to start posting immediately.

How Often Should I be Posting?

This kind of circles back to what your goals are for your content.

Each and every company is different. There is not a one size fits all answer.

If you just have a website I recommend 2-4 articles a week. You can get away with just 1 a month but I would not go less than that. I’d rather see 1 very well written article each month that is informative and helpful to readers than 4 articles that month that are all fluff pieces that offer no value to your customers or potential customers.

When it comes to social media this really does depend on the industry and the goals you have setup.

Take for instance a fashion company selling clothes. You will constantly have new photos to share of clothing on models and can mix and match your outfits and share them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest with ease. In this case you are probably going to be posting several to a few dozen times a day.

If on the other hand I’m a dental practice out of Denver then I can probably post to social media 1 time a week and be plenty good. Even once every month with a silly meme and fact list would work well enough to keep the audience interested. Add in 2 articles a on your website and then post links to those articles from your social media account and you have 4 social posts a month with 2 article posts.

You don’t have to over think how often your should be posting. Just make sure you are posting and that you are posting interesting content that your readers want.

There is also nothing wrong with just referencing interesting content. If you see something that is interesting in your industry then share it. That can count and be included in your content strategy.

When Should I write the Content?

I’ve always instructed people to have the content ready to go and waiting in the wind. Generally I like to have 3 months worth of content ideas written out. This will include Headlines and a brief paragraph about what the topic should be about.

As for ready to go already written content your should be 4 – 6 weeks out.

So if I had my content strategy as

1 article post to my Website a week

1 Facebook Meme post a week

1 facebook cartoon post a week

1 youtube video post a week

This means I need to have between 4-6 each already done and waiting/scheduled to be posted. If you don’t pre-write your content then you will quickly fall behind as we always run into hectic work weeks.

If you outsource the work either to an Agency, Virtual Worker or an Employee this also ensures you can easily review all the content at once for the next month ahead and be good to go for that month.

How to Generate Ideas for Posts

brain storming content ideasOne of the hardest things for many small businesses is to come up with interesting topics to write about. For me personally this is never really an issue. I can talk and rant. If you have not watched me on a hangout I suggest you do at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsfFePRr2cjZBY2LX1eSm9A

There are different strategies out there for coming up with content. Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for instance are places for images and quick blurbs of content. These platforms are also great to share other peoples content and to link back to your expert written articles from your site.

I often attempt to write posts in several different manners. Here are a few post types that should help generate ideas for what you can write about.

Remember that at the end of the day your content needs to be worthy. You don’t want to sell crappy merchandise

Series Posts: This is a series kind of post where you break a subject matter into multiple posts. Churches do this all the time. They have a set theme for a given month and then preach each week about different topics related to the overall theme. This is also what we do when we start new training courses. (Only our newsletter Subscribers get notified of new training courses. That’s a hint for you to sign up)

Checklist Post: Every industry has a checklist that is needed. Humans love checklists. Some people are checklist freaks. Others need them to ensure they plan their content strategy. Use check lists as they are really engaging and actionable. These things get shared well on social media as well.

Authority Guide Post: This is where you write the end all be all encompassing article that establishes your credibility, knowledge, connections and sets you apart from others. It’s one of those kind of posts that other resources like Wikipedia nerds love to link too because it’s complete and all encompassing

Definition Post: This can be helpful for those really technical topics where end users may need more education to fully understand.

How to Post / Questions: This is one of my favorite things. You will notice on Marketingplaybook.co that many of the articles written are around this format. I love to help others and one of the best ways to do this is to answer questions by doing how to posts.

FAQ Post: I love frequently asked questions because this means there is a topic I need to write about. If customers keep asking you the same questions then that means you should write about it because others have the same question and they are looking online.

SAQ Post: SAQ is Should Ask Questions. This is where you as a sales person would help qualify the customer and help match them with the best product that would suite their individual needs. This greatly shows you care about the customer and also helps to establish yourself as an authority in the space.

Problem Solution Post: This is similar to the How to Post but here we are writing about a common problem in our industry and then writing the solution to that problem which is normally a product or service that you supply or it could be a free solution.

List Post: Here you are creating a list for your industry. This could be on books, software, tools, people, places, things. You commonly see lists all over the internet on clickbait sites. The top 15 celebrities with the cutest babies holding puppies that will make your jaw drop. You of course can have a little more taste and really make the list solid and interesting. It’s also great to include something you wrote on the list.

Case Study Post: This sounds very scientific and intimidating but a case study is simply covering in depth the details to something and then sharing the results.

Research Post: This can be time consuming but done right can really make you stand out above the crowd. With this you perform your own research around a product or service in your field and then share this research with your readers. In many ways this can overlap with several of the post topics above.

Stats Post: Similar and normally built upon from a research post as well as curated data from around the web. Here you are sharing statistics that you have gathered from either your own research or from other peoples research and you are putting things together in an easy to read post.

Experts in Industry Post: Here you write about other experts in your industry or profile an expert in your field. You can even do things like list of experts or lists of sites experts are on.

Curation Post: This is where you curate segments of content from other sources and comment on those sections of content. You do need to link back to where you sourced the content to make it Fair Use compliant but it’s a great quick way to make high quality posts and you are linking out to trusted sources via a no follow link

Free Post: This is a list of freebie type tools or information sets that your audience will find interesting. People generally love free stuff so if you can recommend free information that is of value then you will be seen as someone who knows their stuff.

Cartoon Post: You can hire cartoon artists online who will write a cartoon about your industry. I get several of these around the SEO industry and they generally always make me laugh or at least smile. I look forward to getting them in my e-mail and seeing them on my facebook feed.

Meme Post: The idea here is to be funny. You don’t even have to be unique. You can curate meme’s from across the web, create your own or hire someone to create them for you.

Story Post: Telling a good story can go a long ways to building fans. People love to hear about how companies got started. When I’m on a website and they have an Our Story link I generally always click it. When on a restaurant menu I always read the story post as well. This kind of content can be really engaging.

Investigative Post: This is similar in some manners to research post but more from a journalistic point of view. You are combining a story post with an interest based piece of content that you had to investigate and research. This is a great way to stand out as an expert.

Review Post: This is where you would review products and services. I’ll often create a list of the top products then write reviews for the products as part of the post.

News Post: The idea behind a news post is for you to offer an unique perspective that others may not see or have not thought about. I generally recommend light subject matters.

Issue Post: This is an issue in your industry that might effect your audience. This is about the only time I would ever do a post on a political matter as it’s not really offering an opinion but talking about an issue that directly effects your business or audience.

Contest Post: Generally done on Social media when you have a following or are pushing paid traffic. You create a contest with the intention of building your audience, a product launch or building brand awareness. There are generally several things that have to be planned out for this kind of post to work successfully.

Customer Showcase Post: Best done on social media where your customers can send in pictures and the like of them using your product. This can be great when you have a solid fan base and an interesting product to showcase.

The almost NEVER Post: This is content you never write about unless it’s your will to piss people off or what your business revolves around. Religion, Politics, Sex. Have an opinion then keep it to yourself. While I can’t force that upon you I’ll tell you that your business website and business profiles are not a good place to stir the pot.

Tools that Can Be Used To Help Post and Manage Content

jetpack: Jetpack is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to focus on what you do best. Create and publish great content.

hootsuite: Social media management tool.

quuu:  Hand picked content suggestions for social media.  This is a fun little tool for filler information when you don’t have much to say.

tailend: Pintrist and Instragram focused tool.

buffer: Share to multuple social media accounts at once.

drumup.io: DrumUp discovers and helps you share great content to your social media accounts.

22social App: Create nice looking fan pages.

Conclusion

The most important things.

  1. Take action and pre-write your content
  2. Post regularly
  3. Don’t write crappy content. Make the content at least somewhat interesting and informative
  4. When in doubt post something entertaining as everyone likes to laugh.

If you have questions feel free to post a comment below or shoot us a tweet. I would love for you to share this article with others as well or for you to sign up to our newsletter and join us for our weekly live video Hangout, inside our Facebook group or Google + Community. You can learn more about these options on the Connect page – http://marketingplaybook.co/connect/

The post Developing a Content Strategy For Your Small Business appeared first on MarketingPlayBook.co

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