5 Steps to Building Great Small-Biz Marketing Content

Content is a major aspect of anything a local business attempts to do online—in fact, without content, you have nothing. Whether it’s a one liner for a microblog or comment response, 500 words for an article, 250 words for a blog, website copy, or landing page sales copy, you  must have content to succeed, and not just any content, but strong, clear, and interesting content that captivates your audience.

Many small and local business owners have a challenging time coming up with fresh, newsworthy content for their online marketing efforts. Yet in reality, many have tons of content already created that they can simply repurpose or rewrite from a fresh and new perspective.

Below are five simple action items to put in place that will give you plenty of content to take you into the 2012. Sound crazy? Well, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised!

ACTION ITEM #1: Identify Content Needs or Gaps

First, what type of content do you need? Blogs and articles are always in demand to gain exposure and boost SEO for your local business. Also, what are your marketing goals for the upcoming year? Do you plan on conducting presentations or webinars, creating newsletters, or developing eBooks and videos to promote your business and expert status, for example? Make a list of all the different types of content you’ll need, in addition to why you need them. Be sure to include keyword and search engine optimization needs for the upcoming year (keyword focused articles or blogs, for example).

ACTION ITEM #2: Hire a Writer

If you do this, then the writer can help you with the next three items, in addition to brainstorming with you on the item above. When you hire a ghostwriter, it takes the pressure off of you to write content on a regular and consistent basis so you can focus on your base business.

You can find very good writers at a reasonable cost on sites such as Elance.com and Guru.com. You can also conduct an Internet search or look on Craigslist. And remember, you get what you pay for, so look for a strong English speaking writer who is great at research and has some successful examples of content to share with you. I’ve found that this step—hiring a writer—is worth every penny for small and local businesses.

ACTION ITEM #3: Review all of Your Online Content

To repurpose content, you want to look at all of the content you currently have in place. Pull together your blogs, articles, presentations, videos, newsletters, email campaigns, web copy, and press releases, and look for opportunities to repurpose the content. For example, do you have a video you can turn into a blog or article? Or maybe a newsletter item or two that can be turned into a presentation or video? And what blogs or articles do you have where the content could be turned into a mini presentation or video? The list could go on and on.

ACTION ITEM #4: Gather all of Your Offline Content

When repurposing content, you don’t want to forget about your offline, hard-copy content, as well. Do you have printed newsletters, circulars, promotional fliers, or articles, for example? You can take a lot of this content and create online copy from it.

ACTION ITEM #5: Create a Topic and Content Checklist or Database

To keep your content organized, it’s wise to create a simple Excel spreadsheet that includes your upcoming writing needs, in addition to any current content you plan on repurposing and how. Also include a date (day, week, month) in which you plan on posting the ‘new’ content from the source you’re repurposing. Some may call this a form of an Editorial Calendar.

These action items can make it simple for any small business owner to identify and post lots of new and interesting content on a regular basis. Plus, hiring a writer can also help you in developing new content from scratch. Happy New Year, and good luck!