Mar 8, 2017

The Secret to Small Business Content Marketing

There are many challenges of maintaining a consistent content marketing strategy for a small business, but here are two rules for success.

Trends & Insights

Last week I was looking at our web analytics and saw some unfavorable trends in our site visits. There were some dips and declines. My slow but steady upward trend was starting to level. The horror, I know.

Look, we all know content is king, but when you are running marketing for a small business it isn’t easy to publish content weekly. Publishing content daily is sometimes challenging.

Canopy, formerly Banyan, is a technology company with an IoT platform. The Internet of Things is gaining a lot of attention, and it’s impossible to generate a lot of content and keep up with tech giants like Cisco, Intel, GE, and Microsoft. Each of which has a site dedicated to the topic of IoT. As a small business marketer, we must think smarter, and that doesn’t mean work harder or blow the budget.

When I looked over the weeks where our site visits had dipped, and then looked at our content calendar, I immediately saw the problem. It had been eight weeks since we had published a blog. How could we have let this happen? Although we had recently published a white paper, which was a meaty piece of work, it didn’t give us the lift in site visits we had seen when we were publishing blogs twice a month.

You need to recognize that there are topics and conversations all around you that will help you sustain a content marketing strategy.

Here’s the secret to content marketing for a small business and two things you can do right now to help fill a content pipeline.

Rule#1: Create it once but use it many times.

Everything we create whether it is a blog, video or a white paper can be tweaked and used in other ways. You can break down a white paper into a series of blogs. You can turn a blog into an infographic. A customer story can start as case study sheet and can be designed as a journey map. The key is to think about reusing content in different forms that your audience can read, see, watch and hear.

This isn’t a revolutionary idea. I’m sure others have said this, but it works for us. Take your content further with blogs, white papers, infographics, videos, and podcasts.

Rule #2: Look for content in conversations.

Many times, email conversations about customer needs or industry trends have hidden topics perfect for new content. Further, those discussions may have your first 150-200 words already written, you just need to add some stats and facts, and your blog post will be complete. Or work with a designer to visualize that conversation into an infographic. Another great source for content can be found on collaboration platforms like Slack. Is your team using messaging and are there conversations happening right now that could be the basis for your next piece of content?

One of the greatest challenges with drafting new content is getting time with the content contributor. But you don’t have to if you leverage the time they’ve already spent in email or in messaging to capture a conversation. That can be the basis for your next piece of content. One of the first blogs Banyan created was from an email exchange, we titled the blog “The Beautiful and Beastly side of the Internet of Things.”

I can confidently say this works because I just solved my content problem and wrote two blogs following these rules. Stay tuned and happy creating.

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