Clever content marketing for small business

Though time consuming, developing solid content strategy is paramount to achieving meaningful leads for your business. Content marketing is statistically one of the most effective types of marketing for small budgets, making it ideal for small businesses looking to grow, improve customer experience and increase retention.

Before content strategy was even a thing, getting it right inadvertently turned out to be a pivotal and defining moment in my career.

In 1998, I developed and owned an online community, a fan site for an AFL team. At this point, social media, smartphones, SEO and Google were not yet invented. So how was this success even possible? There was almost zero strategy involved, I was just a 15-year-old kid doing something I was deeply passionate about. Nonetheless, my site was contracted to an international network of sporting sites and I began to see revenue unheard of in those days. Without knowing it, I had incorporated principles that apply to good content marketing strategy of 2017. 20 years on, my success drivers are pretty much bang on.

Passion is paramount

Avoid creating content that you’re not truly passionate about. Ideally, you’re also knowledgeable about the projects you’re working on – that knowledge and contagious passion will shine through everything you create and you will be rewarded with engagement, solid search performance and increased site traffic. Create blogs, email marketing and social posts that speak to your passion – what is it you love about what you do? Share the behind-the-scenes story – stories will build trust and loyalty.

Frequency is key

In 1998, my site was visited frequently as it contained new content at least once a day. Simply, I was defeating the competition with the one key metric that mattered deeply to the consumer. They wanted stuff to look at and read – and that my dear reader, hasn’t changed one bit. Google and Facebook have you over a barrel – Google crawlers will reward your site with more traffic, the more content you create. If you don’t have the resources, explore outsourcing your content creation to a freelancer who understands your business.

Conversation is critical

I launched a discussion forum on the site, and suddenly there were hundreds of new users every day. Unwittingly, I had ended up owning my own social-media platform, driving incredible traffic to my site. My fellow footy fans began to create the football community they’d always desired. I had simply created the platform that allowed their community to flourish. This additional site traffic was the perfect business model, with users generating regular content for me.

So, what can we learn from this?

There are two questions you should ask yourself:

  • How can I bring conversations onto my own platforms?
  • Am I using so many platforms that the conversations about my content are being diluted?

If so, review your performance analytics and refine your approach, focus on reducing your digital footprint to two primary channels that matter most to your key audience.

People have the power

If I’m frank, the content I was creating wasn’t incredible or highly intellectual. Short and trashy content always rated higher than in-depth analysis pieces. One of my contributors once took photos of all the player’s tattoos for a feature piece. I was apprehensive to publish the article; however, it became the most engaged with piece on my site.

The lesson? Be responsive to your target market’s wants and needs. As far as content strategy goes, allow demand to inform your actions.

As a 15-year-old, I wasn’t exactly business savvy. But I surrounded myself with the right people, networked and shared consistent content. Following those simple actions, resulted in rewarding outcomes. The moral of this story? Focus on small, meaningful actions. The digital world may be a lot more complex than it was in 1998, but the fundamental principles remain the same.

Martin Cox, Director and Co-Founder, DO Commerce

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