Get to know your audience first
A great SME content calendar offers value to the reader. By this I mean your words have either:
- Taught them something they didn’t know
- Explained something they didn’t understand
- Left them with a tangible asset which they can use in a meaningful way
Researching and understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP) is critical not just for shaping your product/service, but also for getting a handle on what content they will value most.
Your ICP’s knowledge level regarding your business offering, their in-house resources and available budget all have a part to play in shaping your content calendar.
Show your expertise, but on terms that they can understand and appreciate. Share some informed predictions about how apps will change in the next five years, offer tips on the customer journey etc.
Keywords, keywords, keywords
You’ve probably heard a lot about keywords and keyword strategy, some of it straightforward, some of it very confusing. Setting your target phrases isn’t complicated, so long as you stick to these three top-line keyword categories:
Engage users by creating content centred around educating them on your expertise.
For example, awareness keywords for a Manchester-based accountancy firm might include:
- Calculate VAT easily
- How to file tax return
- Get best business loans Manchester
- Best accountants in North West
Connect with people who are weighing up options. So, to keep the accountancy example:
- Business accountancy deals
- Tax return packages Manchester
- profit and loss template
- Accountant rates North West
Talk to people who have their card details at the ready and are ready to buy now:
Schedule an accountant consultancyRegister for accountancy services ManchesterWhere to find good accountant UK
The best content strategies are properly targeted. They cut to the heart of what the reader wants and points them in the direction of the answer.
So don’t treat keywords as a means of tricking them into your site, treat them as the quickest way of answering their questions.
Set realistic goals and prioritise them
Look at the kind of traffic your website or blog is currently attracting. How many users are visiting? What time of day are they viewing your content? How long are they staying on the page?
List out all of the metrics you care most about and set pragmatic goals for each one of them.
Once you have your baseline traffic numbers, start planning achievable targets based on your ICP. Research their most searched-for keywords and work them into your strategy.
You can check these metrics with a number of free or cheap tools including Google Analytics (GA) and Adwords.
The key is not to run before you can walk.
Organic content is a process, it isn’t a quick, expensive win like much of PPC advertising or social media boosting. It is, however, extremely rewarding when done right. Indeed, 2018 research by Profitwell asserts that organic content can provide an ROI eight times higher than outbound content such as social media advertising.
Include more than just words
As mentioned earlier, providing ongoing value is key to stimulating sustained audience engagement.
It’s one thing to drive traffic to your website with great content, it’s another to keep them coming back for more, or to just check in to see how you’re doing.
There are a number of ways you can encourage this.
Video content aligned with the tone and messaging of your blog can boost your organic reach significantly, while images, infographic content and social sharing options also have a positive impact.
On a simpler note, you can include downloadable non-time sensitive content which customers can use and reuse long after you’ve connected with them.
For example, you can download our Content Calendar Template here: Content calendar template
Make sure your voice comes through
Just because content is original doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily characterful.
So much of this is about building awareness among your target audience and making sure they remember what your name is and what you sound like.
Where many SMEs have an advantage over larger corporations is their freedom to offer a more direct line between themselves and potential customers. It makes you seem more approachable, more authoritative and more likely to give straight answers.
Read your content back to yourself. Is this how you talk about your business in person? If not, add a little more personality.
Analyse, learn and adapt
Everything is easier in theory, it isn’t until your content is out in the wild that you’ll really see what your ICP likes, responds to and engages with.
Reporting is your friend and it needn’t be painful, time-consuming or expensive. GA is free to integrate and very easy to use if set up correctly.
Look at which blogs are performing the best, based on your most important metrics and create more content in a similar vein, thematically and structurally.
Learn from your mistakes and your successes, making sure that you aren’t repeating the former. It’ll put you well on the road to meeting your digital marketing goals.