One of the most common challenges I find that small business owners run into when it comes to their marketing, is the content creation process. In my work during the past few years, this was increasingly important, especially as business owners are faced with a multitude of channels and platforms, all with their different content formats and trends. That’s why content creation for small businesses can often feel like a never-ending race to keep up with all the changes and new features, all mixed up with the already overwhelming task of running all the aspects of your own business.
I’ve been there myself, and I understand the struggle. But through my work with different solopreneurs, some parts of the process stood out for me that made it clear that the key to simpler and more efficient content creation is a strategic approach that combines clarity, goal-setting and a touch of adventure. Next, I’ll introduce you to the key points to work on if you’re currently struggling with your content creation process.
1. Start with SMART Goals
Success in marketing for your small business begins with setting SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It may sound like a mouthful, but it’s a straightforward way to make sure your goals are clear and practical. Setting SMART goals means focusing on one thing you want to achieve. It could be getting more people to know about your business, selling a specific product, or engaging with your audience.
Make sure you can measure your progress using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Check that your goals are doable based on what you have, and see if they’re relevant to your overall business mission. Lastly, put a time limit on your goals so you can plan effectively. Starting this habit, even if your numbers seem small, will set you on a path towards more strategic content creation.
2. Avoid the Ideas Overwhelm
A common theme I see with most small business owners and solopreneurs, is that they don’t ever lack ideas for content. It’s natural. You’re the expert in your business, and have all these topics and issues running free through your mind, ready to be shared with your audience. But more often than not, this will actually create a sense of urgency to get it all out at once, which will in turn become overwhelming at the point of actually creating and sharing the content.
My advice is to start from your goals. Think about what you want to achieve in the next month or quarter and what you want to sell, and set a SMART goal or two. Then, picture the ideal client who will be most interested in what you will offer or promote. Go in as much detail as you can about them and how they may feel or think about it, as this will help you tailor your messaging to speak directly to them.
Then, when it comes to creating your content calendar, pick content pieces that would be valuable to them around the topics of your goal. Think educational, nurturing and entertaining content. Following the 80/20 rule, make this type of content take 80% of what you share, with the remaining 20% for more direct selling communication.
Connecting your content to your promotions doesn’t mean every post should be a sales pitch. It means your ideal client will be ready to talk business when you finally get to selling because they already know about the issue, understand the solutions, and see you as the answer through your value content. It’s a way of guiding them through a journey before reaching the selling part.
3. Embrace Adventure: Learn and Let Go
While the previous point may seem a little more complex, I urge you to not stress out too much. Look at your content creation process as an adventurous journey. The internet is in constant change, so you don’t know where exactly it may take you. You have to be ready for the unexpected, but the whole experience can be smoother and more strategic with a little planning beforehand.
When it comes to your content, try things out without overthinking it. Each piece of content is a chance to learn something new and improve how you do things. If a post doesn’t get as much attention as you hoped, don’t worry. Not many people probably noticed anyway! Think of it as a lesson, not a mistake. The trick is to keep trying different things until you find what your ideal client likes. And if you ever feel embarrassed about your content ‘flops’, please remember that even the most famous brands didn’t become awesome overnight. They had to figure things out too. So have fun with it, keep trying new stuff, and know that each piece of content is a step closer to creating a brand that really connects with your audience.
4. Consistency over Quantity
Some may trick you into thinking that it’s all about quantity. That all you need is to post x times a day, on y number of platforms, and be in z places all at once! Madness! That may work for larger businesses with a big team behind them, or for content creators who do this as their sole job. But it may not be realistic for a small business or solopreneur like you. You have to do your actual work, run the other aspects of your business like operations, client management, finances and so on, and marketing is just one part of it all. At most, you might have a small team, but the most common case is having one do-it-all marketing person to help, or no one else but yourself.
Keeping this in mind, it helps to look at what you can realistically implement long-term for your marketing content creation. If you can only commit to one blog article a month, and 2-3 social media posts per week, then that’s good enough as long as you are consistent with it.
Here are three simple steps to keep things on track and to help you stay consistent without overwhelming yourself:
- Focus on one or two topics at a time. It’s easier to manage and keeps your content cohesive.
- Create an idea bank. This is like having a reserve of content ideas for later, so you never run out of things to share.
- Decide on a manageable amount of content to post weekly and monthly. Anything extra is a bonus.
5. Track your Progress
The journey doesn’t end with creating content; you need to track how it’s doing. Every month, take a moment to look at how your content performed and how it relates to your goals. Did it reach the right people? Did it help with your sales objectives? This information is like a goldmine. It helps you figure out what’s working and what you can improve.
Maybe a certain type of post gets more engagement, or a specific topic resonates with your audience. Take note of these insights, adjust your content strategy accordingly, and repeat this process. Over time, this data becomes invaluable in finding the right formula for your small business.
If you’re unsure what to track, look at your initial goals again and see what may be the most relevant to help you figure out whether you are making progress or not. It’s not always about follower numbers, or content views. You can go deeper with it and track how many people wrote to you in your DMs, or how much traffic you got on the website from a particular piece of content. It may also be helpful to get a professional audit done every quarter or 6 months to see where you could improve.
Then, store all of this data in a format that is simple for you to understand and use, such as Google Sheets or Excel.
These five points are some of the most important to keep in mind when creating content for your small business. Navigating the marketing maze becomes easier when you set clear goals and stick to them, embracing the SMART approach. It’s not about overwhelming yourself with endless ideas, but about planning and creating strategic, goal-oriented content. Enjoy the ride, experiment, and know that every piece of content is a step closer to a brand that truly clicks with your audience.
If you found this article helpful, you may enjoy my future expert insights for small and medium business marketing. You can find out when a new blog post is published by signing up to my newsletter updates at the bottom of this page.
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