Content strategy has always been a valued part of SEO and, with Google’s recent updates, it’s become increasingly important. No matter what size your business is, having a regular flow of good quality content on your site is essential.
However, content does take time to produce and, when you’re a small business, it can be hard to find the time or people to produce regular content for your site.
There are several options for small businesses to make the most of their resources and create a site with a steady stream of relevant, useful content. We’ll go through some of them here in order to help those of you who are finding it difficult to know where to start.
Have a blog
If you’re going to start creating a stream of content for your website, then the easiest way to integrate it is by starting a blog. It’s fairly simple to add to the structure of your website and gives you the opportunity to write pieces on everything from current industry trends to your business’s achievements. It gives you a space to talk directly with your customers and perhaps be a little less formal than normal, thus allowing you to create a more personal relationship.
It also gives you a set timetable for content delivery – for example, you may decide to publish one blog post a week. Knowing this and having a set deadline means you can easily factor it into your weekly schedule. It also gives you a chance to plan out topics in advance and note down good ideas as they come along, whilst keeping space for flexibility in case anything news-worthy suddenly happens in your industry.
Blogs are also great because they allow for customer interaction. Make sure you have a comment section underneath every post and interact with your readers. Reply to their queries and encourage further discussion on the topic.
Have a plan for content distribution
So, you have a blog with a regular content schedule. Great. But what about getting people to read it? You need to make sure that your content is publicised. Use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. You could set your blog posts to feed automatically into these social media sites. Allow readers to see a snippet of the text and provide a link back to your site where they can read the rest of it.
You could even start an email based newsletter. You might not want to send this out every week, but a monthly newsletter with links to your top blog posts, as well as a roundup of any important company activity can be another good way to get more traffic onto your site. Make sure you create an option on your blog and on your social media sites for people to sign up to receive this.
Another option is to set up an RSS feed. This is can be a great tool for pulling in more readers. Allowing people to subscribe to your RSS feed means that whenever you add new content to your site they will get a notification about it and a link, which will hopefully entice them to visit your site. You can also submit your feed to sites such as Alltop and Technorati who will include links back to your blog on their site, thus widening the number of people who might find your site whilst searching online.
Hire (or rent) someone who can write
This may seem to be an obvious point, but it’s essential that you have someone within your company who can write good quality posts. Writing isn’t everyone’s forte and, if you don’t have someone in your company who can do it, you might want to consider getting someone in specifically for content.
Naturally, hiring an extra person can be a big step for a small company, so you don’t necessarily have to go this far. What you can do instead is outsource your content needs to freelance writers. There are plenty of sites – from Copify to ProBlogger – which allow you to post a title and brief for a piece and pay someone to write it for you.
One quick warning, not everything produced on these sites is of the highest quality; sometimes the content you get back doesn’t read the way you were hoping.
There are a couple of things you can do about this. Firstly, when you write briefs, make sure they are detailed enough to explain what you really want. Secondly, you can normally ask for changes to be made to the piece by the author, and you do not have to accept it until it is satisfactory.
However, what you might also find useful is having someone who can dedicate half an hour or an hour to proofreading and editing each piece of content you receive. This can be a good way to check that the quality is good, as well as ensuring it gets the right message across and does so in the appropriate tone for your site.
You’re ready to go!
If you put these simple guidelines into action you should be good to go. Get your plan together, check you have everything you need, and get started. As Google focuses more and more on content, having a good quality blog can only enhance your site. It should help your rankings and also encourage more people to visit, and hopefully link to, your site. So what are you waiting for?!
Image credit: Saad Faruque