You are a business owner — congrats! You came up with a great idea the world needs to know about and now you’re stuck with the question of HOW to get them to know about it. There are a lot of long answers to that question, countless books and classes that are helpful, but you want to know what you can do now, right now! You’re fired up and excited and you want to start getting your brand out there NOW. Good news, you can. I’m going to give you three free strategies to market your business and start connecting with clients today.
3 Strategies to market your business
Start marketing your business in these three areas:
I’ve been thinking about how I want to use this blog in a way that’s genuinely helpful to other marketers while also being authentic. I’m interested in almost everything so narrowing down a focus is a tough ask, but finding a niche that’s helpful to others is nearly impossible.
Mindfulness has been a huge key for me in helping me find this balance, starting with my work.
How many times do you find yourself staring at the same email, excel sheet, whatever, for minutes that turn into half hours, and before you know it you’ve given in to every distraction and still haven’t finished that one task.
That serves no one well, especially not you.
What is mindful marketing?
Even if you know nothing about mindfulness as a meditation practice, that’s ok. All it boils down to is giving your focus to whatever it is you’re doing. In meditation that means breathing, in business it means focusing on your task at hand and maximizing your output in that time.
It means planning and spending only the allocated time accomplishing what you’ve set out to do.
It’s basically bringing out the best of productivity techniques you’ve heard about but personalizing them yo fit you, your business, and your own brain.
So from now on, my promise to you is to bring you techniques that will help you maximize your time while getting the most out of your business.
I’m excited to go on this journey with you, and if you have questions please don’t hesitate to reach out.
During my time helping business owners set off on the journey to go digital, I’ve learned one thing: there’s a lot to know. I forget that what I know is based off of over a decade of working in digital media and marketing along with a hunger to keep up with what’s going on in the ever changing world of content marketing.
But you didn’t click on this article to hear me opine, so I’ll get to the point.
Whether you are the person starting your business online or if you’re trying to help a client, here are some tools you can use.
For building a website
To be honest, companies that will help you build a website are myriad and a longer article on their own. So, I’ll give what I recommend to my clients when they are getting started.
Medium has a really simple, sophisticated interface. If your business is more content-oriented, then this is a viable option (similar to mine, for example) for you. You have a lot of creative leeway using their free package. There are more options when you pay for the site (this is one of my favorites) but in the meantime you can get started for free.
WordPress is a favorite option for many people. My own site is run off their free option (though I do pay for my URL through GoDaddy), but they have a more robust version you can pay for. WordPress is a great option for many businesses because it can be as manual or analog if you want. If you only want to sell some items and update a blog, you can do that via some plugins and an app on your phone. Or if you want to code your own, unique website, that’s available to you too.
If you’re looking for a simple, beautiful option where you can sit down and have your business up and running in 1hr or less, I’d recommend SquareSpace. At $9.99/month for a basic package, you get a ton of features including the ability to sell things. Truth be told, if I or one of my clients was in a retail business, I’d run it off of SquareSpace. Chances are that just one sale will more than make up for the cost of the site, and you have their support staff on-hand ready to help with your questions. It’s the best value for a paid website I’ve found.
For socializing your business
Every business has a different strategy for how they want their brand and content to be seen by the public which is why there are a lot of different options for managing social media posts. Additionally, you’ll need to decide what you want your tools to do for you: automatically posting, chain of approvals, or simply scheduling. However, keep in mind that you will pay for these conveniences, so it’s important to think about which you really want/need then scale if needed.
You’re convinced you need a content marketing strategy, but where do you begin?
Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Review Your Demographic
Have you ever heard the saying that we get what we need, not what we want? That’s often the case when it comes to internet marketing. You can try your best to attract a certain demographic of people, including employing specific SEM parameters, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll get that audience.
For example, if you have a website about yoga, you may try your best to attract people who are experienced yogis, but instead you find new enthusiasts. Does that mean your readership is any less valuable to you? No. Of course not! You should embrace people who find your content helpful, and aim to build a community around that which will still achieve your original goals.
Imagine this: you buy a pair of shoes, but you can only wear them with one specific outfit. The same is true of your other shoes and other outfits. Sure, some people hold their closets to this rule, but it’s expensive wasteful. So, why run your website the same way?
I’m a huge proponent of repurposing content because at the end of the day, you paid for the content (whether with dollars or time), so you might as well get the most bang for your buck. Most digital marketers know that completely duplicated content isn’t a great experience for readers, however, content about a similar topic can actually help drive SEO traffic to your page. And believe it or not, readers like repurposed content when it’s done the right way.
There’s no single method to making repurposed content work for you, because it largely depends on who your audience is, and that will change from site to site. You’ll want to figure out some insights about what delivery methods your visitors engage with most. Do they prefer articles or videos? Are infographics a hit? Does short or long content perform well? Additionally, you’ll want to think about your social media channels, and how they can help you leverage your content. All of these insights can not only get more eyes on what you’ve published, it can also help you decide which marketing partnerships will likely be the most beneficial, thanks to these audience insights.
Here are five clever ways to get the most mileage out of your content and how to make it more engaging.
1. Turn it into a multimedia experience
You may have seen Moz’s Whiteboard Friday, where Rand Fishkin & Co. take a different SEO-related concept each week and illustrate how it works. The videos are one of the most educational parts of my week, but Moz goes one step further. They also publish a hi-res photo of the finished whiteboard, and type out all of the text below the video. If that isn’t enough for you, they also embed an audio file from Soundcloud so if their users are podcast people, this option is available as well.
A single weekly post repurposes content in four very user-friendly, and engaging ways. While many people watch videos, others would rather quickly scan an article. And if the lesson that week was particularly illuminating, the photo allows the visitor to share it with only a few clicks.
2. Revisualize the content
Moz takes, quite literally, a straightforward approach to repurposing content, simply delivering the same product in different ways, but there are other methods to making the same thing feel fresh. If you have a piece of content that lends itself to becoming an infographic, then take a few moments and create one.
Even if you don’t have a graphic designing bone in your body, there are lots of free tools out there to help you design an image people will engage with. My favorite is Canva. I discovered it a few years ago, and since then I’ve created marketing materials for clients, social media posts for college intramural programs, lengthy infographics, a new cover for my novel, business cards, and some casual pics just for the heck of it. Do a quick content audit, focusing on which pieces get the most engagement, and start thinking about new ways to present it.
3. Socialize articles… Again
People are typically pretty good at Tweeting or posting their content to Facebook, but are you employing the most engaging tactics? Let me illustrate. When I used to write for a celebrity blog, we’d have headlines like, “You Won’t Believe What Shoes She Wore With This” and post a picture cropping out the shoes. Sometimes, if the headline was that ambiguous, we’d crop out the celeb’s head, too.
Of course, this is the most shameless form of clickbait, and no one likes that, so don’t go that far, but think in th same frame of mind.
If you have an article about how to de-stress and de-clutter your life, create a graphic with the article title, or a little factoid that will entice readers, and direct them to the article link. By using this method, you get double leverage out of your post without looking lazy and simply posting the same link again, or coming up with something like, “Throwback to one of my favorite posts.” If you’ve tried that method, it’s ok, we probably all have at some point.
You can also launch a week-long social media campaign. For example, if you have a website about yoga, feature a new pose each day to balance the seven chakras. The info is already on your site, you’re just making it accessible in a new way.
Everyone starts the new year off with the best of intentions. We write down resolutions, we get into a positive mindset, we really do try to start off on a good foot.
If refining your content marketing strategy is on your list of improvements to make to your blog or business, then creating an editorial calendar is a key tool to make that happen. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, from the Dominican University in California, conducted a study about writing down our goals. She found that people were 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they wrote them down. That’s how an editorial calendar can help you.
If you’re struggling to start one, here are some tips to make a helpful calendar for you, no matter what your KPIs are.
Pinpoint Your Goals
What’s the reason behind why you want to ramp up your content marketing strategy? Is it because everyone else is doing it so you feel like you should too? Or is it to gather leads? Maybe you want to provide your potential customers with information that will help lead them down your sales funnel?
Whatever the reason, write it down. This way, when you’re creating your content ideas, you can refer back to the goals and ask yourself if the content will help achieve them.
Create a Plan
Ask yourself question like how often do you want to publish articles? Do you only want text or do you want graphics too? What kind of a budget will that take, both in terms of time and money?
Once you’ve narrowed down any potential problems with publishing type and frequency, you can be more realistic with your overall strategy and expectation. For example, if you hope to gain five leads from each article, and 500 leads for the year overall, then you know you need to publish 100 articles, or roughly two per week. If your budget only accounted for half that many, then you need to reevaluate either the budget or your expectations.
There are plenty of articles out there providing editorial calendar spreadsheets, telling you what you need to have in each one, and the list goes on. I’ve found that these are helpful to give you ideas of what you might want in your own calendar, but at the end of the day, you have to fiddle around and see what works for you.