First, let's define what content actually is and why it is so important for local businesses.
“Content is King.” That's what Bill Gates said in 1996, when he talked about the then emerging Internet. Content is the way to stay in touch with customers and communicate your expertise to the world.
Content is information.
People are looking for information and it is a unique opportunity for you to show your expertise in the industry.
People should feel something when they interact with your content. With well-made content, you can entertain people and customers, as well as evoke emotions.
With the availability of the Internet, the shopping process has changed dramatically. Customers and customers’ behaviors are changing, so it is crucial that you adapt your business.
Content is like your colleague who guides and educates your customers through the buying process, from the very beginning, when the customer names his problem, all the way up to purchase and retention.
It consists of 4 key parts...
1. Awareness – In this phase, a customer names his problem, but doesn’t know a solution yet.
2. Research – A phase where the customer learns more about solutions available on the market.
3. Consideration – In this phase, the customer compares different products or services and learns more about them.
4. Buy – The customer has all the information needed and is going to make a decision and buy a product or service.
If I can only give you one piece of advice, it would definitely be to follow the “Content Formula.” Be sure you create content that is Engaging, Valuable and contains a Call To Action.
First and foremost, content should be engaging. It should evoke emotions, entertain or educate. When your content completes one of the aforementioned actions, users will interact with the content, and that's your goal.
To find performing content try a tool called BuzzSumo.
Always ask yourself: Does this piece of content contain any value for my audience?
If your content doesn't have value, why should people consume it? Always consider this, because creating a piece of content takes time and a lot of effort, so it should have value. Otherwise, it is a waste of resources.
Tell people what exactly they should do. It's called a Call To Action. This helps you to increase content engagement, because people will react – comment, like, share, etc.
Don't let people think about what they should do... If you do, they usually don't do anything. Make it easier for them by being direct and telling them what action they should complete.
Content is information in various forms. Different types of content are suitable for different situations. Sometimes a piece of text is enough, other times it is better to shoot a short video.
How many types of content do you think exist? Dozens! To name them all, we suggest you to sneak into CoSchedules blogspot, where they listed 113 types of content.
Known as UGC, this type of content is associated with your brand that your fans or customers create and publish.
It's an important part of the entire purchasing cycle. It allows people to discover your products or services, as well as learn more about it and make final purchase decisions.
You know from the previous chapter that online reviews appear in Google Search results. In this case, they perform the function of content, which can significantly affect the customer's purchase decision.
With the growing popularity of Instagram, especially Stories, users share the small joys of their everyday life. This can be a visit to a cafe or barbershop, and this often ends up with a post for their audience. If they happened to visit your business and tagged you in their post, that’s a free promotion for you.
Be sure you have your business listed in Facebook, so people can tag your business in Instagram Stories.
A blog article or review is one of the most common forms of user-generated content. For blog posts, it is good to be aware of the Content Life Span, which is usually many years.
Even comments in forums should be considered to be UGC. People talk about products and services and often provide information and insights, so potential customers can learn more about your products or services.
Try tools like Mention or Google Alerts to get notified when someone mentions your brand on the web.
Don't be afraid to encourage customers to create and share content. It turns out that more than half of them would appreciate, if the brand told them what type of content to create.
It happens that many times, people run out of ideas on what to publish. There's nothing wrong with that, it's not always easy to spout out a constant flow of ideas, especially when you're busy working for your business.
So we are bringing you dozens of tips on what content you can create, and not just for social media.
Content creation is basically a never ending loop. It consists of 4 consecutive stages.
In the planning phase, it is essential to generate ideas. Create a pool that you will regularly fill with various content ideas- whether it's your own ideas or inspiration from other businesses.
A constantly full pool of ideas will keep you on track and ensure consistency in publishing, especially at the time when you run out of ideas.
Use a tool called Trello for (not just) collecting ideas.
The creation phase can swallow a decent amount of time and energy. We recommend that you set a specific time block for content creation. Despite the availability of various applications, it is still a creative process.
Speaking of applications, you know that there are tens of thousands to choose from and a lot has been said about each one. Because of this, it is not easy to know which ones to use, so we have prepared a shortlist of applications that we ourselves use and can happily recommend.
If you're overwhelmed with day-to-day work, try outsourcing. For example, via Fiverr.
Publishing is essentially the same and can be simplified across platforms.
However, once you serve multiple channels at once, publishing can become an overwhelming experience, especially if you want to publish at specific times. Each platform has its own specific window where the content gets the most engagement.
Evaluating published content is perhaps the most important part of the whole loop. You put a lot of time and energy into creating content. Therefore, you need to know if the content brings you what you expect from it. See this article about setting goals.
It takes some time to create content. But it doesn't mean you should spend it anyway. You can outsource this activity to someone else. The process is called outsourcing. You can use platforms like Fiverr or UpWork and find someone who helps you to prepare graphics, texts or anything else you may need.
You should consider outsourcing while preparing a creative for your paid campaigns. You can easily find people who are more skilled and can prepare stunning graphics and catchy texts.
Use brand book while outsourcing. It saves time by preventing mistakes caused by the wrong color, font or style usage. There are some free apps on the web – try CoreBook or FlipSnack.
Adding a post is quite easy and straightforward across platforms. But we can go much further and put posting on autopilot.
There are tools for scheduling posts for exact times. These tools help you schedule content in bulk for days or even weeks ahead. It ensures your posts will be automatically posted at specified times to specified platforms.
Groost app uses the same principle for publishing social media ads. It allows you to create one ad set and the platforms automatically publish ads across many channels so you don't have to spend time and energy with manual work.
Buffer is probably the most famous tool used to automate social media posts. With this tool, you can prepare social media posts in advance, set a date and time as to when it should be posted and Buffer will do it for you. With Buffer, you can connect a bunch of social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Later is a well-known app that features a packed marketing platform for Instagram. One of its main features is planning and scheduling social media posts. Its well-arranged interface is easy to use, so planning and scheduling will be much easier for you. It is free to use with limited features and accessible via a smartphone app.
Every platform works a little differently in regards to the time that is the best for you to post. If you post at the wrong time, even perfect pieces of content could easily be drowned out by the noise of the virtual world. Your goal is to avoid this phenomenon by posting at the right time.
One possible strategy to use to find the right times is to study your data and analytics. This could work, but if you are just starting to post content, your data is probably not so relevant yet.
We suggest you follow these rules:
The best time to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 11 A.M. from 1–2 P.M. These are, on average, the best times across platforms. According to Sprouts data, we can say that Wednesday, in general, is a great day to post. And that the absolute worst days are Saturday and Sunday.
The best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 11 A.M. and Friday from 10 A.M.–11 A.M. It is an all industry average. Just like Facebook, Sunday is the worst day to post on Instagram.
Overall, you just need to keep in mind that there is no wrong time to post, just some days when you should expect lower engagement.
You still with us? Awesome! You made it to the end of our guide to digital marketing for local businesses. Let us know if it helped you build your online presence and find new customers. 👌