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8 Tips for Good Content Marketing

Posted by Kristen Hicks.

In the 4th and final video in the Austin Copywriter video series on small business content marketing, I’ve included 8 especially important tips for doing content marketing well.

What’s the point in putting in the time and energy, unless you take the necessary steps to get results from content marketing?

Watch it now:

In case you missed any of the videos that came before, here’s the rundown:

Part 1: Why Use Content Marketing?

Part 2: What is Content Marketing?

Part 3: The Benefits of Content Marketing

If you’d rather read than watch, here’s the transcript:

Hi! I’m Kristen Hicks and this is our 4th and final video in the Small Business Introduction to Content Marketing series.

At this point in the series, you should have a pretty good idea what content marketing is and the kind of forms it takes. So, now you have a decision to make:

Are you ready to get started?

I’ve got 8 important tips to help you create content that gets results.

Tip #1: Choose your Goals

First, you need to decide what you want to get out of content marketing.  If building authority’s your primary goal, your technique should look a little different than if traffic is the top priority.

You’ll probably want to accomplish some combination of these, but having priorities will help refine your strategy to something sustainable.

Tip #2: Keep your audience top of mind.

Make giving your audience something you know they need or want your priority. You’ll win more points with generosity than self-promotion.

For this tip to work, you have to make an effort to understand your audience. Create a customer profile and think hard about how to put yourself in their headspace.

Tip #3: Identify a need.

Review all the questions you’ve heard from customers and potential customers. Talk to everyone else in the company who ever interfaces with customers. From there, build a list of common issues and concerns your audience has and get to work answering them.

Tip #4: Include a call to action.

The end goal of all this content is to gain new customers. To help shepherd them from the role of content consumer to customer, you need to employ calls to action.

These won’t always be directly about sales. They could encourage the reader to leave a comment, reply to an email, or read another piece of content. The point is to continue the relationship beyond that first piece of content they encounter.

Tip #5:Do keyword research.

You want to talk the way your readers talk. The terms it’s most natural for you to use as an industry expert won’t necessarily be the same ones your customers use. Do your research, so you can make sure to be understood (and found more easily in search engines to boot).

Tip #6: Show your expertise.

Show people what you know! For anyone on the fence, or comparing competitors, a piece of content that clearly demonstrates how well you know your stuff will help make their decision that much easier.

Tip #7: Pay Attention to Industry Trends

Knowing what others in the industry are talking about will both make it easier to come up with content topics, and help you become a part of the conversation. By joining the larger industry conversation, you’ll draw more attention to your business and position yourself as an expert.

Tip #8: Network

As in most things in life, who you know matters! The more people who know and trust you, the more people in the world who are likely to share your content and recommend your business. Work to make connections online and off. Community can be a fantastic tool for content promotion.

Thanks for viewing the Introduction to Content Marketing for Small Businesses series.  If you have any questions or topics you’d like to see covered further, be sure to let me know in the comments.

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Posted by Kristen Hicks.

Now that you know what content marketing is and why it’s good for your small business, let’s talk about some of the specific benefits a business can achieve with good content marketing.

Part 3 in our Introduction to Content Marketing for Small Businesses video series covers what you can expect to get out of content marketing.

Give it a look, and let me know what you think!

If you prefer to read it rather than watch it, here’s the transcript:

Hi! I’m Kristen Hicks and welcome to part 3 of the Austin Copywriter video series on content marketing for small businesses.

Our focus in this video is some of the specific benefits content marketing can offer to your business.

We’ve talked more generally about why it’s useful and what it is, so here’s what you can expect to get out of content marketing.

Benefit #1: A stronger reputation.

So much of small business success comes back around to reputation. Who’s heard of you and what did they hear?

Current and past customers who have had a great experience with you are a really good way to build this reputation, but limited. They don’t know everybody, and you want to attract and impress customers included in that circle beyond their reach.

Imagine a woman in crisis. She’s having a terrible day because she has a problem she can’t solve on her own.

Naturally, she turns to Google. She finds a blog post on your website telling her exactly what she needs to know to solve her problem.

Success! You’ve just made a positive impression on someone who has never heard of you before.

The problem and solution vary depending on what you have to offer, and how you help your customers, but the idea is consistent. Helping people will improve your reputation.

Benefit #2: A convincing demonstration of your expertise.

That same woman we just talked about. Not only does she think fondly of your company now because you helped her solve a problem, that blog post also showed her you know your stuff on: accounting/furniture building/gardening/whatever your business does.

If you’re worried that giving your expertise away for free could lose you business, chances are, it won’t.

Most people are happy to hand over the chores they don’t excel at to someone who does (for a reasonable price).

Benefit #3: Greater visibility.

You need people to know you exist, plain and simple. No one will ever think to buy your product or services without first knowing you exist.

Content marketing helps spread the good word of your business throughout the web. And, once people start liking you enough to talk about you with friends, beyond.

You give people something worth talking about and sharing, and they will. Your reach will extend based on how large of an audience you gain, and how much they like what you have to say.

While not a comprehensive list, that hits some of the most important benefits of content marketing for your small business.

Check back soon for the 4th and final entry in our Beginner Content Marketing for Small Business video series where we get into some of the best tips to make sure you do content marketing right.

What is Content Marketing?

Posted by Kristen Hicks.

The 2nd video in the Austin Copywriter video series an Introduction to Content Marketing for Small Businesses is now up!

This one looks at the basic question: what is content marketing? Learn the proper definition, along with some of the best formats to consider for a small business content marketing campaign.

Check it out, and let me know what you think!

For those who prefer reading, here’s the transcript:

Hi, it’s Austin Copywriter Kristen Hicks again for Part 2 in our Introduction to Content Marketing for Small Businesses series. This time, we’re gonna suss out just what is content marketing?

The definition of content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute is “… a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Content marketing comes in many, many forms.

This video is a form of content marketing, the Austin Copywriter white paper on the same subject is another. Blogs, social media, infographics… the form is less important than the intent.

If this list seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. You shouldn’t see it as a list of requirements, but rather some suggestions. A small business should pick and choose the formats that best suit you.

Think about: the skills you and your employees have; the resources you have at your disposal; the best methods for communicating about your products and services; and where your target audience is most likely to hang out. Build your strategy from there.

One nice feature of content marketing is that the profusion of formats actually means you can get more out of less with re-purposing. With every piece of content you create, think carefully about ways it lends itself to re-use.

If you write a blog post about “The 10 Most Important Tax Tips to Save you
Money This Year,” you can make a slide show out of it, then turn that into a webinar open to your email list, and record that to have a video to post on your site after, which you can then promote on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Right there with one topic idea, we’ve come up with 6 forms of content marketing. Not so bad, eh?

Well that’s it for this entry in the Beginner Content Marketing for Small Business series. Check back soon for Part 3, where we’ll go over some of the top benefits of content marketing.

Content Marketing in 2014: Predictions and Plans

Posted by Kristen Hicks.

In the internet age, everything seems to move fast, and marketing is no exception. Even just the term “content marketing,” which has taken over to describe and shape a certain segment of the marketing world, only came into regular use in the past few years.

In a constantly shifting landscape, with new tools and trends often seeming to come out of nowhere, predictions are tricky business. Nonetheless, Content Marketing Institute found 50 content marketing professionals prepared to make their guesses for the coming year.

My own prediction made the cut, putting me in some pretty fantastic company, here it is:

I think the main trend will be towards more. I don’t mean that in terms of quantity, but rather more formats, posts that pack in more useful information, and an acceptance that content marketing requires more time and effort than some previously realized.

If you think I’ve got it all wrong, tell me what you think in the comments. What’s your prediction for the next year?

I can only offer conjectures for the general state of content marketing in 2014, but I have absolute power over the goals and plans for Austin Copywriter’s content marketing in 2014.

If I publish it where everyone can see it, there’s no going back. So, without further ado:

1) Commit to publishing on this blog with more regularity.

My modest, but realistic goal for this is at least one post a month. I recognize more would be ideal, but as one person balancing my own marketing with client work, understand the importance of making sustainable commitments.

I’ll be the first to tell clients: less content of better quality will always beat out a higher quantity of content that’s sloppy and lazy.

2) Experiment with new content formats and channels.

I’ve already delved a bit into the world of content development that falls outside of my writing comfort zone. Part 1 in my new content marketing for small businesses video series is already out, and the rest of the series will be released in early 2014.

You can also check out my new SlideShare presentation on the Basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for Small Businesses.

I aim to do even more with video, SlideShare, and images throughout 2014.

3) Develop and execute a content promotion strategy.

By seeking out more guest posting opportunities and building up relationships on social media, I plan to draw more attention and new subscriptions to the blog.

Like many people, I’ve learned the hard way that just creating good content and putting it out there isn’t enough. You have to develop a larger strategy that includes plans for promotion to get attention in an already overcrowded space.

4) Make regular, genuine contact with readers and others in the content marketing community a higher priority.

Relationships are hugely important in just about every aspect of life. This has only become more obvious to me in my years as a freelancer.

My goal is to build up a larger professional network of contacts that includes: readers of this blog, other marketers in Austin and online, other freelancers in a variety of industries, and small business owners excited about building their businesses with content marketing.

5) Attend local networking events and conferences to build a network and community of professional contacts of various skills and specialties.

Related to #4, I’ve found there’s no real substitute for meeting with other professionals in person, and attending live educational events. I’ve gotten a lot out of these experiences in the past year, and expect 2014 to be no different on that front.

Some of these are continuations of the business plan and content strategy I put together in 2013, but still of tantamount importance to my goals for the business.

What about you? Do you have a plan and strategy for the next year yet? Are there any questions or obstacles getting in the way of putting one together? Let me know, I’ll do my best to help.

Why Use Content Marketing?

Posted by Kristen Hicks.

Are you one of those people who prefers learning through videos instead of reading?

As an avid reader and professional writer, I don’t really relate, but I figure you deserve to learn about the benefits of small business content marketing too.

With that in mind, Part 1 of the new Austin Copywriter video series all about content marketing for small businesses is ready!

Check it out below, and be sure to let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

In case you’re not able to watch it, here’s the transcript:

Hi! I’m Austin Copywriter, Kristen Hicks. Look, I know as a small business, you have limited resources and really need to be careful where you invest your time and money. There are lots of options for advertising and marketing, so what makes content marketing worth considering?

Here’s the thing, people are sick of advertising that feels like advertising. Do you actually sit through commercials anymore if you have the option to fast forward?

Do you bother to look at the billboards, the ads on public buses, or the ones they even put in bar bathrooms these days? Probably not. I don’t

We all encounter too much advertising and have gotten really good at tuning it out.

The solution to that problem is content marketing.

Content marketing is based on a simple idea. Tell people what they want to hear, rather than what you want them to hear.

But how does that lead to sales? We’ll get to the how and why more in parts 2, 3, and 4 but it does!

Small businesses have long recognized the value of building a solid reputation on good products and personal customer service. Content marketing just helps bring those proven values into the Internet age.

Check back soon for Part 2 in to the Introduction to Content Marketing for Small Businesses series, where I’ll discuss just what content marketing is.

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