Businesses of all sizes have found success reaching their prospective customers and nurturing established customer relationships by creating valuable content. But small businesses, in particular, can find an enormous impact in this area of marketing. Why? Because content marketing isn't cost-prohibitive in markets of any size. One person shops, and small businesses have the same general capacity to identify and create strong content as a Fortune 500 does. Some small businesses may even be advantaged by a more intimate knowledge of their customer base.
However, it can be hard for marketers to keep churning out ideas to keep their readers interested, and many digital marketers may find writer's block to be an increasingly more common occurrence as time goes on.
Here are 4 steps to ensure that every blog post or article you release to your readers is engaging and useful:
- Understand Your Customers and What they Want to Read
- Make Your Content Grab the Reader
- Identify a Problem, and Have Your Content Provide the Solution
- When You're Stuck, Look to Other Articles for Inspiration
There is a reason companies are turning to customer personas as a way to understand their users: It's effective.
Customer personas are fictional customer descriptions that capture the demographics most likely to use a certain company. For example, if you run a boutique clothing store, one of your key personas would be a wealthy, middle-aged female shopper, as this demographic is a key part of the boutique shopper population. Marketers use these outlines to understand the behavior of their key demographics and what they want out of products and content. When they have a customer to whom they can target marketing material, it becomes much easier to generate ideas and actionable content.
You want a customer to see your article and be drawn in by both the subject matter and the title, but the title is always the first thing you see in search results. Many blog writers write multiple title possibilities. Some write just two, while others write up to ten or more. This is because the title is one of the most important factors in drawing in readers to your content, no matter how dynamite your idea might be. As a general guide to finding awesome titles for your content, identify the keywords that rank the best for the specific piece, and then give the reader a reason to read your content without being misleading.
This goes back to examining your customer personas. Most readers search for articles when they have trouble with something. For example, if you're a small IT business, find the problems most of your consumer market have with IT, and write some articles that provide solutions.
For example, if you're a lawn and pest company, write blog posts about how your company can solve common problems homeowners might have with their property. Your content should provide the solution but maintain the idea that when finding that solution, turning to a specialist (your business) is the best option. In essence, your content should create brand loyalty by showing your company's value in almost every blog post or article.
Sometimes the ideas just don't come, and when that happens, you can search other articles in your corner of the market to see which topics and posts rank high in search engines. When you find one that catches your eye, click and read through it. Can you find any holes or under-explained portions of the article? Can you add a unique viewpoint or alternate opinion to the content? This is all about adding value to existing content, whether it's your own content that's fallen down the rankings or a competitor’s that is outperforming you in SEO and content marketing.
Let Your Creativity Flow
It's easier said than done, we know. But letting your expertise and creativity guide you is the best way to find ideas for killer content. Aim to create posts that position your small business as an authority and a valuable aid to your customers, and you'll see your content marketing ROI increase in no time.
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