Small Business Content Marketing: A Checklist

Small business content marketing is a minefield! (And I get that!) The reason being is that there is a lot of different terminology used, a host of things that can be included and it ultimately leaves the average entrepreneur and small business owner asking themselves; “Where do I start with my small business content marketing?”

I conducted a short survey recently with a segment of people that subscribe to my updates asking them a series of questions related to their challenges, their current activity and how they seek help and consume information. The results across the board were very interesting.

Two responses stood out.

When asked; ‘which of the following (sales and marketing) areas do you think you could improve?’ 80% of respondents replied content marketing.
When asked; ‘When looking for help in sales and marketing what do you typically do?” 28% would hire someone to do it for them and 80% would look to do teach themselves how to do it. (Note – there were other options available for this question.)

How would you analyze this?

I feel you would come to the same conclusion I did!

In my eyes this confirms how we are indeed living in an information society where people are first and foremost seeking information around a service or product they are looking to purchase to help them make an informed decision. It also illustrates that we are aware of this and know that information marketing, small business content marketing and the like is an important aspect of our business to implement well.

So, where do we start? Well, first their is a general misconception that blogging is small business content marketing. No. This can constitute a part of it but as a stand alone activity it is (simply) blogging, or writing.

Content marketing is broader and is made up of a series of components. Here is a checklist for successful small business content marketing.

The Checklist:

Firstly, what is content marketing? It is important to understand that content marketing is not about selling it is about communicating with an audience to add value through relevant information. Or, a simple definition I found on the Content Marketing Institute:

Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one. ~ Robert Rose

With this in mind here are some items to check off the list when reviewing/implementing small business content marketing.

1) Materials: What content will you create? At this time it’s important to choose at least two formats of content to create. The list to choose from is quite extensive, however it includes; Article(s)/Blog(s), E-Book, White Paper, Report, Product/Service Demonstration, Updates/Newletter, Video, Podcast, Webinar and others.

2) Distribution: How will you get your materials into the hands of those you are meant to serve? Again, the list of options is quite extensive. First decide if it will be primarily offline or online and if it will be a one time distribution or something that is automated based on an interested parties need(s) at one particular time. I recommend to do two things, one to make one material available for download from your website and two to leverage partners for distribution.

3) Technology: Firstly, you may need to adopt certain tools depending on what you want to create and how you primarily want to distribute your content. However, I strongly recommend purchasing a tool for prospect/contact management and lead nurturing.

4) Lead Nurturing: Yes, not all prospects will be ready to purchase and will need to be influenced over a period of time. Ensure you are keeping in touch and sharing your content with them consistently.

5) Promotion: With everything else in place you can address how you will promote your content and how to make it available. Choose 2-3 channels (depending on budget). These could include; Your own channels (blog, newsletter, website), Social Media and Paid Media (PPC, Banner Ads, Affiliates, Sponsorships etc).
Now you’re good to go!

Small business content marketing is a minefield, with lots of areas to address. This checklist will get you on your way, just make sure you know what purpose it serves, why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve. Consistency is key.