Getting Started with Content Marketing

By: Gina Todd, Digital Marketing Specialist at POS Nation

Content marketing. You may have heard the term — but what does it mean, exactly?

As defined by the Content Marketing Institute:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

While it sounds simple, it’s easier said than done — which is why several small businesses are not on board with creating custom content. The truth is that content marketing involves a lot of research, time, and a commitment to consistency. Fortunately, due to the complexity of the point of sale purchasing decision, the POS market is ideal for this marketing approach. If you’ve been looking for organic ways to boost your content marketing efforts, we’ve got some tips on how to get started!

Finding Valuable Content Topics
As you’ve learned, content marketing is more than the act of creating content. Therefore, if your team is brand new to content creation, it’s not a bad idea to start off with a group brainstorm. Collaborating with others on your team to discover who the target audience is, what is important to them, and how to grab their attention will help you create content that aligns with company goals. Start to think about how you can be a resource and answer the questions of potential customers rather than simply advertise your services.

Another important area of research involves Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for content that will live on your company website. Think about the keywords that your customers plug into Google when doing industry research. Consider which keywords you want your website to rank for, too. Our team uses SEMrush to monitor where we rank for specific keywords, where our competitors rank, and to find keywords that are highly-searched in our industry nationwide. Just as importantly, think of the keywords you want to avoid. When we constructed our website, we wanted to be a technical support resource for POS software — focusing on keywords that made us look like the experts in this area. As a result, we began receiving multiple calls a day from people demanding support for software we didn’t even sell.

After doing your research, you can then come up with content topics based on what you’ve learned. For example, our marketing and sales teams collaborated to learn that customers can get overwhelmed when they receive their point of sale system and tend to struggle with set up. Our target audience is small business owners, and we’ve found that a majority are older in age and/or not great with technology. With that mind, we wrote a blog called Setting up Your Point of Sale System to help new customers feel comfortable, pointing them to our free resources and tech support.

Deciding What to Create
Now that you have some topics lined up, you might be wondering what you should do with them. Content marketing opens the door for creative freedom, allowing you to make the call on what the content should look like and where it should live. If your goal is to answer a complex question, like setting up a POS system, you might want to publish a blog or article so that you can include all the necessary details. Something that doesn’t need a lot of explanation through copy can be displayed visually in an infographic or downloadable guide. The choice is yours!

Another benefit of content marketing is its fluidity. You don’t have to choose just one platform to focus on, as your content can be slightly modified and live in several places. For example, we took our blog article and created posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We could even use the same content we published in the blog and create a video in the near future.

Developing a Content Calendar
Once you have a game plan in hand, you’ll want to develop a content schedule. How often will you be publishing blogs? How many times will you post on your social media accounts per week? How many videos will you create per year? Creating a content marketing “calendar” is vital. With the fast pace of social media and other online platforms, customers will immediately notice if you’ve been silent. Consistency is key.

Look into ways you can schedule content and make your own life easier. Facebook allows you to schedule your posts if you have a business account, and free platforms like Hootsuite make it possible to schedule content to other channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. (Hootsuite has a cap on the number of channels and users you can add for free, so keep this in mind.) Additionally, your website may have a scheduling capability for blogs so you can create multiple at once in the CMS and set publish dates. Ask your web developer if your website has this capability or if it can easily be integrated.

Are You Ready for This?
As a small business, we understand that content marketing can be an overwhelming concept. But with research, collaboration, and organization, content marketing success is possible!

Eventually, your team may want to explore new marketing efforts and expand into social media advertising and paid campaigns. This is a great move — only if you’ve been consistent with publishing valuable content and are happy with your organic efforts. For now, be patient, think strategically, and set achievable goals for your business.