Even if you can see the value of creating compelling content, getting started with content marketing is hard. Creating any kind of compelling content takes time — and time is often something small business owners running one-person shops don’t have.
It also takes knowledge, expertise, and commitment to a long, often difficult, process. But the benefits and results are worth the effort, time, and investment.
Creating content creates assets for your business that you can use in a variety of ways, multiple times. One piece of content can turn into several for you to use across blogs, social media, emails, and more.
And all those assets work together over time to help you build an audience, gain influence in your industry, and generate leads. It’s worth figuring out how you can get started with content marketing for your business.
Don’t Do Everything, All At Once
A word of caution: countless activities fall under the content marketing umbrella. In a way, this is great for a business owner. Thanks to so many options, there’s bound to be solutions that allow you to market your business the way you way.
But the flipside? There are so many options. It’s easy to get lost in all the possibilities — and therefore, all the choices you need to make about what to do.
Don’t get overwhelmed or find yourself with a case of analysis paralysis. You can add complexity over time, once you gain momentum with your marketing efforts.
Start with easy action items you can do today, without any additional knowledge or training. This allows you to succeed at the most critical stage: just getting started. The first step is by far the hardest.
Try one of these three ways to get started with content marketing in a way that’s simple and sustainable.
Get to Know Your Audience
Don’t leapfrog over this critical step. Knowing your audience is the only way you can create content with a message that resonates with the right people.
Your content could be amazing — but if it doesn’t spark an idea or action in the people you’re trying to reach, it fails by default.
Create a persona that you can keep in mind when you work on any kind of content or marketing campaign. This persona should be a single person. Know as many specific details about that person as possible when you create the persona.
When you write a blog, you’ll speak to this specific persona. It should represent one person: the epitome of your ideal client.
This makes your content more effective because it makes it personable. Each audience member can feel like you speak directly to them when you write posts, record videos, share podcasts, or teach courses.
Of course, this makes it crucial that you know your audience extremely well. When you create your persona, the details you fill in shouldn’t be based on guesses or assumptions. You should know specific things about your audience — and if you don’t, you need to do the legwork to learn about them.
Write a Blog Once a Month
Not everyone loves writing like I do. Not everyone writes for hours on end each day like I do, either.
And that’s fine. You don’t need to be a writer or have a ton of time on your hands to get started with content marketing by blogging.
Anyone can commit to spending one hour each month to write a simple, short blog post. Get at least 750 words down on a page and you’re done for four weeks.
Why start with a blog? Because this content easily lives on your website, which serves as the hub of your business online. Everything should point back to your site, and you want to create a little content to live there and provide value to your audience.
You can publish your once-a-month blog post on your site — but you can also republish it or syndicate it on platforms across the web to increase your reach.
A blog post is also incredibly easy to repurpose into other content that you can use across multiple channels. You can take your one blog and:
- Record a short Facebook Live video of you talking about the main point of the post.
- Copy and paste quotes from the post and share them as social media updates.
- You can send a link to your email list, along with other valuable links or helpful commentary from you.
- Record audio of you talking about the subject of the post and sharing the most valuable highlights.
- Turn the post into an infographic.
Eventually, you can also stitch together multiple posts into something like a full-length ebook or free course to give to site visitors.
Start with a blog because you can easily turn this one piece of content into several to distribute across multiple platforms. It’s a great way to get the most mileage from the time and effort it took to create the post.
Use Hootsuite or Buffer to Schedule Social Media Posts
You don’t need to sit on Twitter for hours and catch every single tweet that appears on your feed. While real-time interaction and engagement with other users is important, it’s not required to get started.
Then, schedule 30 minutes into one day in your work week. Use that half-hour to schedule posts for the upcoming week — and then be done with social media until next week.
If you have a Twitter account, try scheduling two posts per day. With Facebook, try for a post every other day. Same goes for LinkedIn.
(Yes, you should share more to get the most out of social media for content marketing purposes — but remember, the most critical step is to get started! Being active is better than having no presence at all, so give yourself permission to start small and increase your efforts from here.)
Not sure what to share? Try for a mix of the following:
- Your blog posts
- Quotes that are relevant to your audience
- Articles and blog posts from other websites that your audience might find interesting or helpful (use Feedly to help you aggregate content to share so you can quickly scroll through to see what posts are new)
- Tips and ideas that you want to share
Engage and Start Conversations
If all you do to get started with content marketing is create a blog post once a month and schedule some social media updates to go out throughout the week, you’re doing a wonderful job.
You could continue this for six months to a year and likely see an increase in website traffic, social media followers, and even email subscribers if you have opt-in forms set up on your website to capture the people who visit.
This is perfectly okay if these two simple steps take up all the time or resources you have available to devote to content marketing right now. Slowly, as your business ramps up through these consistent efforts, you can decide to ramp up your marketing efforts as well.
If you do want to take one more step, here’s what you should focus on: engagement. This means you take the initiative to reach out and engage with others, from prospects to people in your industry.
Start conversations. Ask questions, Provide help when you see a need. Showing up this way is memorable and makes a big impact — and takes zero money to do, only a little more time each week.
The key to make this as sustainable as your once-a-month-blog and 30 minutes for social media per week? Keep it just as structured.
Devote 15 to 30 minutes every workday to engagement. Comment on other blogs, join in on discussions on LinkedIn or Facebook, send a tweet to a few people you want to connect with, or send emails to ask questions, provide help, or foster a budding relationship.
Remember, the point of content marketing is to build an audience so that you can create connections and build relationships. And that’s the focus again here.
You don’t need any special marketing expertise for this. You just need a willingness to invest in relationships.
Take a few simple steps to generate some compelling content on a few channels. Then power up your efforts by focusing directly on the people you want to reach on the other side of the screen.