As a consultant whose primary clients are generally very small businesses, I know that Content Marketing can be extremely difficult — seemingly impossible– at times. Marketer’s and business owners have likely read countless blogs and articles throughout the web touting the incredible benefits of Content Marketing, only to try it themselves with little or no tangible successes. They hear examples of the incredible benefits of Content Marketing (earn links that boost rankings, drive relevant web traffic, attract social followers/fans, expose your brand to potential customers, produce leads etc.), but their efforts always seem to fall short.
Fortunately, I’m going to clear the confusion for you by separating Content Marketing into two basic types of content most local businesses create and how to go about making each of them pay off (quite literally) for your business. I’m also going to explain the “missing link” that inhibits most content and blogs produced by local businesses from being successful.
Type 1 | Locally Focused Content
The first type of content that locally geared businesses can/do create is that of a strict local focus with no real industry or niche related information. Examples of this could be: a guide to local community events, a community resource list, a guide to local restaurants etc.
As an example, let’s say that Bob Smith Dental of BobsDental.com produces an article that lists upcoming community events in Atlanta, Georgia (where Bob Smith Dental is located). Many businesses publish this type of content and do nothing else to promote it. Let’s take a look at how that scenario usually plays out…
- If it’s good, valuable content that few if any other sites have created; Bob Smith Dental may rank well and attract some light web traffic from the local audience that is searching for things like “Atlanta Community Events”.
- As a result of light traffic from search, Bob Smith Dental achieves some increased brand awareness and exposure from those people who visited his site/page through search.
- If it’s really good, valuable content, then there is a chance someone locally may find it and reference/share/link to Bob Smith’s article. In turn, BobsDental.com could see a boost in search rankings that could drive traffic and leads. To be frank, this will not happen most of the time.
- Bob Smith Dental will get several search visits each month for this content, may receive some small, immeasurable amount of increased brand exposure, won’t receive any links that boost SEO efforts, won’t receive any traceable leads and Bob Smith will conclude that “Content Marketing” doesn’t really work.
Type 2 | Niche and/or Industry Focused Content
The second type of content that locally geared businesses can/do create is that of a niche/industry specific focus without any local angle. Examples of this could be: how-to guides, tutorials, industry news an opinion, industry surveys or studies, visual information assets etc.
As an example, let’s say that Bob Smith Dental of BobsDental.com produces an article that shows the proper way to floss. The article includes visuals and a step-by step guide for proper flossing technique. Again, many businesses publish this type of content and do nothing else to promote it. Let’s take a look at how that scenario usually plays out…
- Unlike the locally geared content, this type of content may rank high enough (for some long-tail search terms) to receive visits from search—but, the VAST MAJORITY of those visits will be from people outside of Bob Smith’s local market leading to massive “waste coverage”.
- Most likely, someone has produced something similar, better and more visually appealing and Bob Smith’s article won’t earn links/mentions that help increase exposure to Bob Smith’s local market and won’t help him increase his search rankings.
- Bob Smith’s article may receive dozens, even hundreds, of hits each month but a vast majority of that traffic is from people who could never be patients of Bob Smith Dental. Bob Smith won’t receive any local brand exposure, won’t drive any leads, won’t earn links to assist overall SEO efforts and Bob Smith will conclude that “Content Marketing” doesn’t really work.
Content Not Good Enough?
Now, I know that popular opinion across the Internet Marketing community will be that it didn’t work out for Bob Smith because he failed to produce an exceptional, unique and superior piece of content. While I certainly agree that a high-value content asset that is exceptional, unique and superior could produce the hoped-for results derived from Content Marketing, It is EXTREMELY difficult for small businesses (that often lack the resources of money and talent) to create something that fits that bill.
I’m going to explain how you can leverage “good” (not necessarily exceptional) content to get the most out of your Content Marketing. That being said, I do agree that trying to make your content as exceptional as possible is important, so check out this list to help you examine your content’s potential.
The Missing Link-Content Publicity
Regardless of the type of Content you create, you need a proactive Content Publicity plan to achieve the kind of results we always hear about and hope for! This will allow you to earn links/mentions that also boost search rankings, gain positive exposure to a much larger audience of potential customers, attract new fans/followers and email subscribers etc. Unbelievably, this crucial aspect of Content Marketing is left out of many articles and posts all together.
What You Can Do…
- Use Facebook Ads to expose your content to your local market
- Easy to create and select a precise target market (a budget of 20-100 dollars should suffice)
- Use your social media accounts to promote your content
- Don’t be afraid to put a small amount of money toward paid promotion of your post on Facebook ($20 should be sufficient for most local businesses)
- If you need still need to build a social presence, you can use Facebook Ads (for example) to attract new page “likes”–tools like Constant Contact Social Campaigns can help you accomplish this
- Leverage your email list to gain exposure for your content
- Create an outreach list of people that may be interested in sharing your content
- Create a list that includes the website name, contact name, phone number, email and social account
- Use a Google search to find bloggers that may be interested in your specific content piece–try a tool like Solo SEO’s Link Finder
- Find a list of top Twitter influencers in your area by using tools like FollerWonk
- Create a list of local groups, organizations, etc. that may be interested in your content piece—again, a tool like Solo SEO’s Link Finder can help you with this
- Begin your outreach via phone and email! Don’t be pushy, just introduce your content as something you thought they and their audience may find interesting or useful. Your ask should be someone passive as well.
- Add a Call-to-Action to your pages sidebar
- Have your web designer add a sidebar Call-to-Action to drive some conversion action. Examples of this would be “sign up for our email list for 10% off your next purchase” , “download our Free E-book”, “follow us on Facebook for more tips and insights” etc. It’s a bonus if you can tie your Call-to-Action in with your specific content piece!
Following the above blueprint can help you turn your formerly failing content plan into an effective form of marketing that produces valuable increased brand exposure, demonstrates expertise to your local market, potentially earns links, mentions and shares that also assist search rankings, and even has the potential drive measurable leads and conversions.
Next time you create a piece of content, try taking a couple of weeks to do some Content Publicity…it makes all the difference! Once you do, you’ll likely start the see the sought after benefits that your content has been failing to produce for your brand and website.
Have any input? Let’s talk! Tweet me @Ricky_Shockley
by Ricky Shockley