Maybe you’ve heard a story like this:
A small business launched in 2019. During that year, they’re going to networking groups, attending industry events, and meeting with friends (and their friends)— all of which resulted in sales in 2019 and the beginning of 2020. They were, in short, crushing it.
And they did it all without content marketing.
But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
And this company never built any marketing content. The way they saw it, they weren’t an online business, so why bother with creating a digital marketing presence?
Sure, they had a website, but there was no reason for potential customers to keep going back to it, since content updates hardly ever occurred. Plus, none of the messaging added continual value to their visitors.
And they weren’t on social media, so customers were only able to contact them via email.
As a result of neglecting their digital marketing efforts, they had trouble getting new clients in their sales funnel, and their profits suffered.
Don’t be like them.
You may not be a marketing expert, you may not have a marketing team, and you may not have a marketing plan. That’s OK. Kickstart your content marketing efforts by following these seven steps.
1. Get on one social media platform
Social media allows you to continually add value to your target audience, start and continue conversations, and build your online presence.
And with the metric tools that social media channels provide, you can see the ways your content is having a measurable impact on your audience.
When a client wants to know what social media platform their company should use, here’s what I tell them:
• Look at your top three competitors (or have me do it) and see if there is a specific platform that they all are on, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
• Get on that platform, so that you’re keeping in lock-step with your competitors.
• If your competitors aren’t on any social media channels (this is rare), then look at what platform others in your industry are using.
Social media platforms, for the most part, were created to be as easy-to-use as possible. So, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get started. There are typically a lot of tutorials and step-by-step guides available for the major social media platforms to help you learn the platform of your choice.
2. Post often to social media
Here’s what I do to determine this for my clients: I check how often their top three competitors are posting on a specific social media channel. Then, I recommend them post at least that often.
3. Post different types of content on social media
Don’t know what to post to social media? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you get started:
• Did you learn something interesting about your industry that you’d like to share?
• Do you have some advice related to your industry that would be useful for your customers?
• Do you have pictures of your products that you can share along with some commentary?
• Do you have testimonials from satisfied clients?
• Do you have promotions or events coming up?
4. Clearly state what you do on your site
When your target audience first visit your site, do you clearly state what your company does, or do you begin with a lengthy explanation about all the great things about your company?
People don’t want to think, and they aren’t obliged to give you their precious attention.
So grab their attention by making it super obvious what you can do for them. Here’s a good example from Dualboot Partners:
It’s not hard to tell what they do and whom their product is for.
5. Start a blog
The longer I do online marketing, the more I’m convinced that a blog is necessary for a lot of companies.
A blog is one of the best ways to include the keywords that Google uses to rank your site (referred to as search engine optimization (SEO).
When you optimize your content for Google, you can help people find you online because you’ll rank higher than your competitors. This is why many digital marketers use blogging as a key part of their digital marketing strategy.
6. Post what you’ve learned on your blog
As far as what to post on your blog, I recommend just starting out with offering industry advice. Give away what you’ve learned for free to build trust and authority in your space.
You can draw from questions you’ve answered for your clients and problems you’ve helped them solve. If you’ve never had a client, think about how you would explain a concept in your industry to a friend.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your experiences here — they are likely what will set your blog apart from other blogs because they are your experiences.
Be sure to include actionable items in your posts so that people know exactly what you want them to do.
If you don’t have time to write a massive 2,000-word post (which tends to rank higher in Google), start off with a 250-word post. The key to just get started.
7. Post to your blog when you can
Like I said with social media, to determine how often to post, see how often your top three competitors are posting and post at least that often, if possible.
But if you can’t post more than once a month or every other month, that’s fine, too! You may not rank high in Google, but you’ll still build your authority in your space and communicate to your audience that you can add value to them.
There are, of course, many different digital marketing tools you can use. For instance, Facebook ads and Google AdWords are great for your digital advertising efforts. And using email marketing, podcasts, and landing pages can all play a helpful role in your content strategy.
So, while there’s a lot to digital marketing, I hope these steps will help you get started. You don’t need to have an elaborate digital marketing campaign planned out before you begin. Just start by doing something.