As marketers, we hear a lot about content marketing for all sized businesses. In the midst of the tips and how-to guides from industry experts, there’s a lot of white noise. A sound content marketing strategy is integral to a company’s online success, but a one-size-fits-all approach to content simply doesn’t fly.
When it comes to content marketing, there are three major components to consider:
Location: Do you own a brick and mortar business? Do you operate exclusively online? What if your business is a hybrid of both?
Size: How many employees does your company have? Seven? Seven hundred? Is it just you?
Scope: Who’s your business trying to reach? Do you consider yourself B2B? B2C? What exactly does your business do?
Such elements are crucial to consider when it comes to a business’ marketing strategy. Additionally, the answers to the questions above help determine how to divide and conquer when it comes to a company’s content.
You can’t simply clone a content strategy or trust a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies have plenty to consider when it comes to devising something of their own from scratch. With so much to bear in mind, where do businesses even know where to begin?
Location, Location, Location
As content varies from business to business, it’s key to first consider location.
A web-based business is more than likely going to focus more heavily on content for its inbound marketing and search engine impact. With this in mind, it’s no secret that online businesses will do their best to drive their inbound efforts with content. Keyword research, analytics and link-building will come into play for tech-savvy businesses as they focus their efforts on content as a means to grow their online presence through targeted traffic and qualified leads.
A brick and mortar business, however, would be better poised to focus on geo-specific content and local keywords as a means to grow their web presence. As geo-content serves as an SEO goldmine, such businesses will find success attempting to dominate their local markets rather than expensive, competitive keywords (“New York pizza restaurant” versus simply “New York” or “pizza,” for example).
A good best practice when you are initially starting out is to make sure that the content that is out there about your business is correct. The clarity and correctness of static content is a huge component of a brick and mortar business’ content strategy. For example, physical businesses must ensure that their profiles on review sites such as Yelp or social sites such as Facebook and Twitter are accurate, up-to-date and optimized for search. Without the proper attention and information, such sites cannot live up to their potential.
Size Matters (or Maybe It Doesn’t)
Size matters. Well, sometimes.
Bigger companies tend to have more resources, both human and financial, to allocate toward content. They can rely on writers in-house, a network of contractors, or even interns. With more writers, such businesses can cover more ground in terms of what they write about and how they’re able to distribute. Take a look at the content departments for Olive Garden or Target: in order to cover lots of ground effectively, it takes a network of skilled, savvy writers and experts. Such experts may have resources at their disposal to create compelling content through surveys, infographics and other forms of digital media.
With this in mind though, there are some potential drawbacks when creating content on such a large scale. For example, there’s a certain degree of expectation involved when it comes to running a content team. When vast resources are being allocated to content creation, there has to be some sense of accountability toward those creating the content. How else can you ensure that your efforts are paying off?
For example, are you seeing an ROI on your content strategy? Has there been an influx of traffic? Leads? What’s the overall goal of your content? Are you simply in the dark?
On the flip side, businesses on the smaller side face their own sets of challenges. True, small companies and solo entrepreneurs perhaps don’t face the daunting expectations of a conglomerate. They are, however, tasked with getting their hands dirty and writing the content themselves. Obviously, this makes the task of becoming a prolific “creator” somewhat problematic. Regardless, micro-businesses have a unique opportunity to create more personalized, local content for their readers rather than focusing on volume. This allows such businesses to attract and connect to a dedicated, albeit niche, audience.
Scope: The Who, What and Where
Who do you want to reach?
What do they want?
Where are they?
Businesses must obviously consider their audience when it comes to what they produce. Content creators can, for the most part, be broken down into B2B or B2C creators. Both types of marketers have something to sell; however, the manner in which they drive their points home differs greatly.
When crafting B2B content, one must avoid pushing too hard and coming off as little more than a salesperson. While we want to encourage our readers to click through or buy, we must also hold their interest and provide them with something more than a sales pitch. Presentation is everything when it comes to B2B content; it’s so easy for readers to gloss over such content if it doesn’t provide something of substance. B2B producers will focus on what they know in terms of news, trends and existing products and services (in addition to their own), and use this information to encourage users to buy.
Meanwhile, B2C content touches more on offers, deals and what sets your business apart from the competition. The best way for B2C producers to find success is by understanding the wants and needs of their audience. The more you know about your readers, the more likely you are to elicit a reaction. For example, a local restaurant producing its own content should focus on their menu, new items, reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers when it comes to crafting new content.
The Constants of Content Marketing
While there are certainly plenty of variables to consider when it comes to an effective content strategy, there are also some constants that come into play regardless of a business’ location, size or scope.
- Content marketers absolutely must do proper research and planning to understand their audience, their behaviors and what it takes to get them to click, buy or react.
- Establish an editorial schedule and stick to it, whether it’s weekly, monthly or daily. Know how much you plan on creating and whether or not that plan is sustainable.
- Understand ways to repackage and redistribute your content to new and different audiences to get the most mileage out of your efforts (through an e-newsletter, for example).
As more and more businesses continue to blog, it’s crucial for companies today to establish a strong content strategy. The sooner they do, the sooner they’re able to expand their audience, grow their traffic and reach their full potential. While the need for such content has become a staple of today’s marketing world, there are many paths for companies to take when it comes to establishing such a strategy. By starting with key elements such as location, size and scope, businesses may better determine how they’ll make the most of their efforts when it comes to crafting content. Just as no two businesses are identical, neither is their content.