How SMEs and Startups can use content for lead generation, growing a relevant social profile and boosting brand awareness.
When thinking about content that’ll help to promote your business it’s about both quality and quantity. For small businesses that like run a lean operation, one of the best ways to cost-effectively generate leads and grow awareness is to create targeted content. Below is a guide on how to find relevant content topics and use content marketing to generate leads, grow a relevant social profile and boost brand awareness.
Defining your purpose is important as it will determine the structure of your content and your call-to-actions throughout the promotional period. Think about the reaction you’d like your content to spark and what the next logical steps are for the person reading or viewing your content.
*Tip* Call To Actions should be channel specific when repurposing content.
Your written content could be; Blog Post, Ebook, Lightpaper, Whitepaper
Tools: Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Buzzsumo, Crunchbase
One of the highest recommendations we can offer is to focus on creating content that your audience is looking for as opposed to creating content that you think sounds good or what you think the audience wants to read. If there’s a strong hunch or you are passionate about a specific topic, it’s always a good idea to qualify your thoughts with some search data. Remember, the main purpose of your content is that it must provide value in some way.
Researching content topics will help you to tailor your titles for SEO purposes, find relevant sub-headings, and give you popular talking points as well as keywords and buzzwords that should be included.
Break your target audience into two categories – your primary and secondary customers. A few points to consider here should be the problem you solve for your potential customers, location and cost of product or service.
At Lab99 we like to break the content planning process down into a few layers and use data to back our decisions. First we take a look at the end audience and think about why our talking points would be not only interesting, but beneficial to them by focusing on their online presence, revenue, and even employee count. These help us to better understand our prospects and why our services would be beneficial to them. For us, we know that we can provide the most value to companies that have either raised Seed or series A funding with a technical team. With this understanding, everything we do is tailored and targeted to speak to either founders, employees or investors of those companies as we know they often need help with marketing. You’ll need to be able to easily explain why your business or product will be beneficial to that audience.
For each relevant target we will also create audience personas to identify our primary, secondary and ‘would be nice’ customers.
Here’s Lab99’s breakdown:
Primary: Technical founders who have raised between $100,000 – $250,00 with less than 3 team members
Secondary: Founders and marketing managers of startups who have raised series A and are looking to accelerate growth
Would be nice: Angels or VCs who regularly invest $250,000 or below in seed funding
Once we have identified these individuals we will then start to think about the type of content they will be attracted to and which topics would be useful. To fully build out your personas you should consider all aspects of their business.
With your audience identified it’s time for your keyword research. We like to start with Buzzsumo which is a great platform that gives you a bird’s-eye view on what’s trending. A simple keyword search on Buzzsumo can quickly tell you what is currently trending, where, and why! You can also use this to find trending topics to latch onto and plug your content. Their monthly cost isn’t high so we’d recommend paying for this tool as you will get access to features that will give you the most recent data on your topic.
*Tip* Buzzsumo is a great tool when repurposing content to check which content types are popular relating to your keywords and which platform is best to share on.
Example: We did a search for “growth hacking” which quickly showed that Neil Patel pretty much owned the content game for all things relating to growth hacking over the past 12 months (based on interactions and shares).
Continuing with popularity, our next stop is Google Trends to find location specific search popularity, compare keywords and to find title ideas. Your title and blog in general should aim to first ask and answer a pressing question for your readers, and your Google Trends search should reflect how your readers will ask the question.
*Tip* If you’re selling to companies globally we recommend to still think local. Breakdown your campaigns by locations (we recommend cities) and go from there.
Lastly, we take our list of keywords and check Keyword Planner. You’ll need to create a Google Ads account before you can access the keyword planner tool. It’s 100% free and takes a few minutes to get you up and running. Once you’re in hit the ‘tools’ tab on the top right of your screen, then select ‘Keyword planner’ on the far left of the menu. Here you’ll be able to see search volume, bidding costs for your keywords and related keywords.
*Note* You don’t need to run an ad campaign to use the keyword planner tool.
*Tip* Sharing popular and relevant news will help to drive traffic to your social profiles and website. Remember to repurpose popular content and share while trending. This will boost your visibility. Curating the right content for your audience is as important as creating organic content. Once this formula is cracked you will find that visitors will come back to you as a trusted source for news and information within your niche.
Crunchbase is a great tool to use that will give you industry specific information on companies which is an important factor to help you tailor your targeting.
- Business name
- Funding amount
- Personal Linkedin profile
- Company Linkedin profile
- Social media account urls
Here’s how to breakdown the above and make use of this valuable information:
Armed with this information you can take a look at where your audience lives online and which channels are most important to them. Creating a multi-touchpoint campaign can be difficult to do without the relevant data on where your customers live online. With Crunchbase you have the ability to get platform specific and while monitoring potential customers and their activities.
*Example* When checking social profiles you will quickly learn that your prospects might be particularly active on Instagram. If this is the case, you will quickly know that your business too should be active on instagram and the content should be visual to reflect the platform.
- The first thing you should do is ask yourself what the purpose of your content will be? Decide on a piece of content you would like to focus on for the next 4-6 weeks. This should be an actionable piece that offers industry specific value and insights that will be useful to your target audience.
- Connect on all social media channels. This will give you relevant information on a company, what they are doing and topics they are interested. A socially active company or individual will give away great information on how to identify mutual interests. Be sure to have relevant content that your audience can relate to. Here a first impression does lasts, and this is where your prospect or their business will get a first glance of your product or service. Ask yourself how much value, tips or insights you need to give away so that you can at least get a follow back.
- Repurpose larger pieces of content for specific social media channels and break down topics. You should also find related news and events to share during this 4-6 week period that is directly or indirectly relatable to your main content piece as well as your product or service.
*Tip* If you’re main piece of content is related to content marketing then each week you want to research the most relevant content marketing news and trends in order to have your day-to-day content remain relevant. You can get away with a bi-weekly schedule, but to maximise effectiveness in the fast-paced world of content marketing we suggest you set aside some time weekly to find relevant and up-to-date talking points.
Try it for yourself and let us know how you get on! If you need any further help or advice shoot us a message in the contact box below!