I still get amazed when small business owners have a great looking website (or sometimes a not so great looking website) and yet spend such little time on driving traffic to it. I’m of the school of thought that marketing is about getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you.

So how do we do this?

What we do know works is content. Not just any content of course, but expert, valuable, free, interesting content. This builds trust, and encourages people to like you.

As Jim Kukral says people use the internet for one of two reasons: To solve a problem, or to be entertained. You’ll find plenty of people who will tell you the top 10 reasons people use the internet,but they always fit into one of those two categories.

Whatever you are publishing, keep one eye on those two reasons.

Where do I start?

Whatever your field, you are (hopefully) already an expert at it. There are undoubtedly plenty of questions you get asked frequently, so create an FAQ section.

This has two benefits, firstly if people want to know the answer to something you may come up in the search engine results. Secondly, visitors are more likely to buy what you’re selling if they trust you, and a good quality FAQ goes a long way to earn that trust.

Blogging – is it for me?

I often get asked about the purpose of blogging, or if it’s for me/my business. Although it might not always take the form of a traditional blog, blogging is for every small business owner who has a website. There are cases where it might not be called a blog, for example legal services might prefer to call it a journal, as it has a more professional sound to it, but for our purposes here we’ll call it a blog.

The purpose of the blog is simple, it’s the same as any other content on your site, to build trust and drive traffic. This does mean that you should make sure that your blog posts are relevant to your audience. A good source of blog posts are events that you may attend. Review them and include a few pictures. Another type of article that always interests people is a behind the scenes type of article, something like “this is what we’re working on”, or “where we’re moving to”, or “planning on attending and why”.

What else?

So we have our FAQ and our blog. Now we need to look at content that raises us above our competitors. There are still numerous sources of content, not all of them are relevant for all business types, so pick the best matches for your audience.

News/Curation.

If you point out things that your audience will find intersting guess what we achieve? We’ll get our audience to know, like and trust us.

This is a lot easier than it sounds, there are several feed subscription programs out there which will deliver you a regular source of interesting news. Simply write a paragraph or so about your thoughts on the topic and link to the article.

Tutorial.

Tutorials are a great way to show your expertise. If you can teach me to do something (preferably using a product I buy from you) and I am able to do it, then you’ve gone a long way to proving to me you’re an expert.

Product Review.

Review products which are in line with your customers needs (but not in competition with you) and guess what happens?

Gallery.

The importance of images cannot be stressed enough. Set up a gallery and ask people to send in pictures of things they’ve made with your product. Rr using your product. Or standing next to your product. You get the idea. These create interest, help to spark potential customers imagination and help increase loyalty from the customers you feature.

Case Studies.

If your product or service is quite large scale then a case study might be feasible, showing how it helped the customer to more profit/better service/whatever the aim was.

So where is the marketing?

All of this content produced and not a marketing preachy article in sight. So how will this help sell more? It’s perfectly acceptable to put a call to action in with your content. For example in a case study this might be “click here to see what other services we offer to solve your problem.” In a gallery or tutorial, this will be a link to the product, or even better an option for people to add the product to the cart right there on the page.

A product review you can mention the product of yours that this product you’re reviewing sits with.

The important thing is to remember that what you’re mainly selling in your content is you. Without this content how will I know I can trust you? How will I come to like you?

If you need help planning your content marketing strategy then get in touch to see how we can help you increase traffic to your website.

Images with thanks to Catherine Archer-Wills.

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