7 minutes reading time (1326 words)

How Small Businesses Can Keep Up With Content Demands

How_Small_Business_Can_keep_up_with_content

Running a small business is often hectic and marketing is one of the biggest demands. But it’s also essential.

With the majority if purchases now occurring online and an increasing amount of local traffic to local businesses being guided by the internet, it really is crucial to make a success of the web.

Web success means ranking well in search engine results. Since SEO (search engine optimisation) is all about keywords and keywords are just that… words… SEO is actually all about content.

There’s no getting away from its importance. To rank well for your niche, your business needs to produce quality content that people a) want to read, b) will share and c) will link to.

But what is ‘quality content’? It used to be that anyone could string 300 words together in a blog, cram it with keywords, post and voila… up the rankings you go. To be frank, I’m glad those days are over, but it does complicate things for your business.

So, what should you do? The best ranking content is long-form (over 1500 words) and written, with mixed media (video, images, podcasts, eBooks etc.) and dynamic elements.

Sounds challenging right? It can be! But all is not lost. There are some things small businesses can do to keep up with content demands without leaving their budget in the dust or drinking espresso into the small hours. Here are three of the most effective methods.

Outsource your content production

And no, we don’t mean, run to the content mills for cheap, grammatically problematic prose. You have a resource of budding writers and posters at your fingertips and all you have to do is ask for their involvement.

Outsource content production

User-generated content is one of the biggest trends in digital marketing. Companies like Starbucks and Travelex have embraced it and so can you.

Studies show that consumers crave the opportunity to interact with the companies they buy from. So for businesses who request content from their followers, the media flows freely in.

User-generated content can really take the pressure off your posting schedule. Rather than get creative and spend hours perfecting posts, your job is simply to:

  1. Provide a platform for people to interact with your brand. This should be somewhere (forums, blog comments section, social media etc.) where they can submit reviews, photos, videos, opinions and other titbits, or offer advice to other customers like them. Some website builders are better for this than others, so consider switching if your current provider doesn’t have the right options.
  2. Curate this content for irrelevant, spammy or offensive stuff.

The best thing about this strategy is that involving more people will always allow for greater creativity. You’ll get entries and responses that you would never even have thought of and, best of all, you’ll get to reward and interact with your customer base no matter where they are in the world.

You can encourage submissions from your followers by:

  • Setting up competitions
  • Allowing comments on your blog posts
  • Asking questions or requesting opinions from your readers within each post
  • Adding a user-driven forum to your website
  • Asking for reviews post-purchase

You will inevitably save yourself a lot of time and creative energy. But beware! You will also expose yourself to the full force of the general public’s peculiarities, so expect to be removing and blocking a fair whack of the content that comes in.

Remember, it’s not all about writing

If you’re not a natural wordsmith, all is far from lost. Although written content is what first comes to mind in discussions of content marketing, the internet is far more diverse. 80% of marketers put visual content at the forefront of their campaigns.

Audio video content

We’re talking videos, podcasts, images, GIFs, infographics and so on. You might not enjoy writing down your ideas, but how about talking about them? Or creating interactive graphics to explain them?

Even if you are a confident writer, switching up your methods regularly can really help to relieve any feelings of weariness that come from sitting down every day to write post after post after post. To get the most out of this strategy:

  • Check out what your competitors are doing with different media and adapt some of their ideas. If they are doing it and are successful, it’s likely they’ve looked into what their audience is into and are reacting to it.
  • Do a bit of research as to what type of media and which posting platforms are most appreciated by your audience. Best practice in marketing is to go where the people are. There’s no point you taking to Instagram if your audience is on Twitter.
  • Tailor your posts to the channel they’re shared on. Don’t add a lot of high-resolution videos to your on-site blog as this will drastically slow down your loading speeds and affect user experience. In the same vein, don’t post links to long-winded blogs on Twitter when people there are looking for quick information that’s easy to digest.

Forget ‘reduce’, just ‘reuse and recycle’

Every content department worth their salt schedules reuse into their posting calendar. If you’re not repurposing what you already have, it’ll become stale and irrelevant over time.

If you look at the metrics for your older posts, how many have recently had traffic? If the answer is few, you need to up your recycling game.

recyle old blog posts

Here are some ideas for reviving old content and driving traffic back to your past labours:

Rewrite and lengthen old posts

It used to be ok to post 300-700 words of fairly shallow or unsubstantiated guff a few times per week. But times have changed! Long-form content (over 1500 words) is the most shared and the most read by people online.

Rather than thinking up entirely new topics and writing a piece from scratch. Try going through some old posts and identifying those that could be expanded on, or could carry a bit of additional detail.

Using this method, you’ll only have to write an extra few words to get a high-performing piece, rather than writing 1400-1500 from scratch.

Create link-roundups from old posts

You don’t have to leave those old ‘time specific’ posts or advice from a few years ago to rot. You can use these old posts by creating roundups.

Roundup posts are those where you link to a series of related pieces and summarise them in a new post where you say a few words about each, e.g. why it’s still relevant today.

Content round up 2018

Combine old and new related posts into a new series

Creating a series is one of the best ways to revive old posts and showcase your prolific writing skills. If you’ve created a few posts about working from home as a parent, create the ‘best of business and family’ series and release it in your regular blog digest, or as a PDF for people to download and store for the future.

Not only will you reuse a good bunch of old posts, you’ll be creating a new, novel-media, added-value resources for your readers.

Write follow-up posts to time-specific pieces

For example, if you wrote a ‘2018’s Best Naughty Puppies Of The Internet’, follow it up with ‘2018’s Best Naughty Puppies Of The Internet: 2019, The Newcomers’.

Your ‘best of’ or other time-specific posts don’t have to be limited to a 6-month timespan. Revive and reuse them with a  short introduction about what’s changed, or a summary of what’s in and what’s out this year.

Final thoughts…

In the ever-changing world of SEO, keeping up with the rankings can feel like a chore. The amount and quality of content required to edge towards page 1 can be overwhelming. But by outsourcing to your audience and being a little creative, even the busiest small business owner can give their output a boost.

So don’t be put off by the hype. Get out your microphone, take to social media, make use of what you already have and make real difference to your content game today.

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Friday, 13 December 2019

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