DIY Content Marketing: A guide for Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs

Content Marketing has been the buzzword for a while now. No doubt that someone has told you to follow this route. We are here to give you some tips and headers on how to get started at making and posting content yourself. We also added a list of tools and resources that will help you create stunning and relevant content.


READ: 5 MARKETING TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS.

  1. What is Content (and why is it important)?

  2. Set Goals and Create a Strategy

  3. Creating Content

  4. If You Can't Make It, Curate It.

  5. Experiment

  6. DIY Content Creation Tools + Resources


What is Content (and why is it important)?


Content is, simply put, the media your brand puts out that adds value to your customer's life. It does not directly advertise your business or products, but rather aims to inform or entertain. It has been around for decades, however, content has come to the fore, dominating the marketing world in the last couple of years. Content comes in many shapes and sizes, but the dominant types that we are sure you would have seen are videos and blogs. They also exist in the following forms:

  • Images

  • E-books

  • Email Newsletters

  • White Papers

  • Podcasts

  • Infographics

  • Quizzes

  • Demo videos

  • Product features.

It seems counterintuitive to publish ads that do not directly market your product or service, but the statistics show that content marketing has become one of the most effective strategies in marketing, especially for Business to Customer (B2C) operations. It works because it allows customers to engage with your brand. People engage more with content than direct marketing because they feel the former adds more value to their lives. Content provides you either with information, encouragement, or entertainment. 70% of people prefer to get their information about a company or learn something through an article or blog post than through a traditional ad. That's not all; there are a ton of other pros to content marketing:

  1. It Educates your audience and makes you an industry authority: When customers decide on using a product or service, the first step they usually take is to educate themselves on said product/service. If you provide your audience with relevant and quality information for free, they tend to regard your business as an authority in the field. They might not use you immediately after consuming your information, but when they do decide to make a purchase, you will be the first business they consider.

  2. It builds better Social Media traction: Social Media is the prime platform for you to engage with your audience. You can directly communicate with customers and you can gauge their wants and needs by looking at how they interact with your pages.

  3. More leads and conversions: It comes back to our first point. When people are impressed by your content, you are the first business they consider when making a purchase. Also, people tend to respond to your Call to Action if they thoroughly enjoyed or appreciated the content you presented them.

  4. Enhances SEO: If you consistently post high-quality content, you rate higher in google search results, ultimately making you more discoverable. If you're unclear about what SEO is, you can check back on our previous post.

Set Goals and Create a Strategy


Like most things in life, the first step to implementing content in your marketing is to start planning. Here is a basic step-by-step guide on how to create a comprehensive strategy:

1. List your marketing goals.


Yes, Marketing does have one overarching goal- get the word out. There are, however, more specific ways in which you gain can gain a bigger audience. Do you want to increase your brand awareness, want more website visits, or do you want more people to contact you? There are different routes to achieving each of these goals. Once you have set specific goals, you will have a better understanding of the purpose of your content.


2. Create a SWOT analysis & an Action Plan


A SWOT analysis should be nothing new to any business owner. If you have made one for your business at any point, it would be useful having it next to you as you plan your marketing strategy. Knowing your strengths and opportunities gives you a good idea of what you should focus on in your marketing campaigns. It could also possibly give you ideas on what type of content you can create.


Once you have an idea of what type of content you want to publish, it's time to create a Content SWOT. Apart from understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your desired content, it also helps you to eventually create an action plan for creating content consistently.


3. Create a posting schedule


Once you have decided on your objectives and have made an action plan, it's time to draw out a schedule. Content marketing only works if it is done consistently. A lot of new marketers fall victim to the 'spike of hope'. This happens when one piece of content does well or goes viral. You become comfortable with thinking that one piece of content will get you the recognition you want. Not all of your content will do well all the time, but the follow-through is the most important. If people love you're what you're making, they will want to regularly see more of it. This makes it important to schedule when and where you want to post content.


IMPORTANT: While working out a strategy, remember to ask yourself if the content is in line with your marketing objectives. If you want brand awareness, does the content communicate your brand's morals and values? If you want more site visits or customer queries, are there relevant Call to Actions (visit website, earn your coupons now, sign up now) in your content?


Creating Content


When the considerations and planning is done, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start making. A decade ago, the only way to create content was t


o outsource. If you want quality content and can afford professionals, that would always be the way to go. But when the


business is new and the budgets are tight, there are ways to create content yourself without a lot of resources and know-how. The last section of this article is a list of free and easy-to-use content creation tools and resources.


Content Formats


According to Lyfe Marketing, the three most popular formats are blogs, video, and infographics. Video is, however, quickly rising to become the top form of content. It can also be the most costly and time-consuming to produce. Video will aid your social media in greater engagement and would definitely be a wise investment once you have a marketing budget. If you do, however, want to try video content yourself, there are loads of free and easy to use video editing tools and a bunch of resources for music and stock footage on the internet (a few of the best which we included in our Tools + Resources List).


Luckily, blogs remain the most popular content form today and also the easiest to create and maintain. If you have a site built on Wordpress, Wix, or Sqaurespace amongst others, integrating a blog platform on your site is easy and seamless. Blogs are a definite must for any small business. If you want some pointers on starting a blog, check out our previous article here.


Third on the list is infographics (those quirky illustrations that bombard you with a bunch of stats and facts) followed by images, case studies and ebooks. You'll need some design skills for this, but there are a vast amount of design and editing apps that make the process easy and user friendly.


Do not spend all your focus on one format. Content marketing works well when there is variety. Also, ask yourself if the format does the subject matter justice? Will the content have a bigger impact if it is seen? Or does the content require a lot of information to be consumed, in which case an article or white paper might do better.


Here are a few headers to make engaging content:

  1. Remember your audience: The key to content is to make it relatable to your customers. Your content will become nothing more than a banner ad if a customer does not engage with it. Remember that you are also trying to build trust and give value to their lives with each piece of content that you share.

  2. Keyword research: Your content also helps you perform better in Google search results, so it's important to keep in mind that your content revolves around the same theme. Also avoid using industry jargon in your content, but rather think of three keywords people usually associate with your industry or product.

  3. Post your content everywhere: Make sure your content gets seen! Post your content across most of your social media channels if not all. Some content formats fare better on some platforms than others. Instagram is great for images and short-from video, while Facebook and Twitter are great for links and articles. Youtube and Facebook also have better engagements with long-form video.

If You Can't Make It, Curate It


For the business owner, doing a dozen things at once might be out of the question.

Fortunately, there are ways around this- content curation. This means sharing content on your social media from other creators, blogs, or businesses that relate to your product or service. Content curation will work on social media platforms that enable sharing like Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. Instagram has limited sharing functions and requires third-party apps to share posts. However, you can share posts via Instagram stories easily.


Quick Curation Tips


  • Follow your competitors and heroes: Make sure your business page feed inspires you daily. Follow others in the industry that you admire. Follow your most loyal customers or the clients that mention you on their platforms. Share any content they post that you like (and is relevant to your brand). Post any honorable mentions and praise from your customers. Easy as that.

  • User-generated content: The subtle art of getting your audience to create content for you. Ask your audience to post their purchases on social media and to tag you in it. Incentivize them- offer discount coupons or make your packaging remarkable enough that people would want to share it. Run competitions and promos where customers post content online to submit. There are 100 different ways to ask your audience for the content. Get creative.

  • Social Listening: See what's trending on social media and what your audiences are talking about. There's a few social listening tools that can help you identify what topics and keywords are trending like Google Trends and Tweetdeck. Also, get to know your customer better; see who they follow and what their interests are. Be sure to follow hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.




Experiment


You'll never know for certain what type of content or subject matter will work for your brand unless you experiment. Your first pieces won't necessarily receive the reach or engagement you wanted, but after a period of time, you'll start to see what works. Find out what intrigued your audience and plan accordingly. Remember to keep an eye on the insights and tracking data of your social media pages. Business pages usually supply you with a lot of data to help you gauge your engagement. Facebook for Business will show you the reach, engagement, and audience segmentation from posts and overall page visits.


Once again; look at the stats, and experiment accordingly. Don't be afraid to try something new or risky. The key is to stand out. Keep at it consistently and it will come as second nature before you know it.




DIY Content Creation Tools + Resources


Video Tools:


  • Adobe Rush- Adobe's easy to use video editor app for Desktop and mobile. There is a paid version of the app, but the free features are more than enough to make good looking video. Available on IOS and Andriod.

  • Adobe Spark Video- Much like Adobe Rush, Spark is easy to use, but focuses more on creating content for social media. Ulitmately, it's up for you to decide whether you prefer Rush or Spark Video. Available on IOS and Andriod.

  • DaVinci Resolve- This might be the best free alternative to Adobe Premiere Pro. It's also fairly easy to learn and it makes editing fairly seamless. Resolve is available for Windows and Mac.

  • Scenarist- Before you start with video production, you have to have a script or outline first. Scenarist is a perfect free tool to help you with fleshing out your video. Scenarist is available for free on Mac and Windows.

Video Resources:


  • Pexels- This is a great stock footage library that offers tons of stock footage for free. There's no watermarks on the free footage, but you do have to credit the creator (you can read more about accreditation on their website).

  • Storyblocks- A great stock library for audio, images, and video. This is a subscription service, so it might be worth considering once you have a budget to spend on content. Storyblocks is, however, one of the most affordable libraries out there.

  • Youtube Audio Library- Youtube has an archive of free-to-use sounds and music for anybody to use. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

  • Creative Commons- This website is more for research purposes, although it does have a sound library. Content that falls under the creative commons license means the media was posted by the author with the intent of it being free to use for anyone. If you search for creative commons footage or music, you are bound to find a plethora if free archives and libraries.

Design Tools:


  • Adobe Spark- Spark is great for a quick, professional looking design. Centred around social media content, Spark offers a lot of design layouts and allows you to edit them as you please. There is a premium version of the app, but the free resources are more than enough to go on. Available on IOS and Andriod.

  • Canva- Like Spark, Canva is great for on-the-go design. It offers a lot of templates and elements to make designing seamless. Canva is available as web app on any desktop browser or as a mobile app on IOS and Andriod.


Design Resources:


  • coolors.co- a great free color palette generator if you're feeling uninspired or struggling to with visual identity. Every time you hit space bar, it gives you a new palette option. You can save your favorite colors, adjust the colors, and even draw palettes from images.

  • freepik- A great stock library that provides a lot of free vectors, illustrations, icons, and images.


Miscalleanous Tools & Resources:


  • answerthepublic.com - Ideal if you do not know what type of content to create. You simply put in a keyword related to your business and presents a map of the most queries people search for related to the keyword.

  • Smart Blogger- Tips and tricks on writing and managing blogs. They offer paid courses on content marketing and writing, but their blog alone is a mountain of useful knowledge on blogging and content marketing.

  • Google Trends- Check which keywords and topics are trending over the internet.

  • Tweetdeck- See what's trending on Twitter and manage multiple accounts all on one screen.

  • Mailchimp- Best tool for email marketing and sending newsletters and automated responses.


Need some more help on Digital and Content Marketing? Reach out to us! We can assist with content creation and marketing strategies. Drop us an email at info@cultureleader.co.za and we'll get right back to you.

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