A content marketing campaign is one element of a business that doesn’t have to be put to bed during the silly season. By mid-November the panic is palpable. Less than a month to go before Jo’burg closes down. Small business owners (those who are not in retail or the hospitality industry) have to find some way of clawing their way through the dead weeks over the festive season and hanging tight through January while they wait for business to get back into gear.
It’s the buzz at every business networking meeting: What are you doing to get through December? It’s bad enough that times are tough but jeez, nothing happens after the 15th!
One solution for keeping your business alive during the downtime is to ensure that your marketing continues to work hard for you even while you escape to Mauritius. Now is the time to ensure that your online marketing is in top form to carry your business through the holidays.
If you get the right content in place and implement a sizzling social media strategy for disseminating it, you should hit the deck in January with a bunch of new leads and prospects for new business.
Here’s a checklist of what to do about your content marketing before the year-end countdown.
Do an SEO audit of your website
Especially if you haven’t refreshed it for a couple of years. Is your content on your website optimised to attract a strong Google ranking? Have you re-written and re-structured your site to make the most of the opportunities offered by Google’s new algorithms? Panda and Hummingbird are giving great exposure to well-written, relevant and original content. It’s a no-brainer.
Do a UX audit of your website
How are users experiencing you site? Do they stay and browse and enjoy their time there? Or do they quickly get frustrated or lose interest and move on. Have you made it easy for them to find what they’re looking for? You may find that all that’s needed to give your site the necessary sticky factor is to re-design your home page and improve the links and calls to action.
Give out free stuff
Why should you hand out free advice online? Because people love to get information that makes them feel smarter. They love to be entertained and inspired. And they love to find solutions to some of their problems, without having to see a consultant or fork out some money. All they have to do to download the e-book/calculator/fun game/free app is to leave their contact details behind.
Get enough of these downloads going over December and you’ll come back to a fresh database of prospects in January.
What’s more, Google will reward you for getting all these people linking to your site by improving your ranking.
Set up a kick-ass pipeline of articles
If you are running a business, you have relevant information and insights to share with your customers. So share. (See free stuff above.)
Running a hardware store? Share DIY tips on You Tube. An orthodontist? Publish before & after teeth straightening pics on Pinterest. Furniture design? Write about home décor and the benefits of a well-designed product. You’re a yoga teacher? Blog about the body-mind benefits of each posture. Investment consultant? Publish a newsletter about the opportunities you have on offer.
Useful and relevant content builds your authority and attracts a following. Above all, it gives you a platform (remember the data base) for engaging with your market and building your brand.
And again, you’ll be giving Google exactly what it wants to get you to #1.
Use social media strategically
If you are not comfortable using social media, get in an expert to help you build a programme of interaction, to ensure that your content gets out there. Get the traction going before December and watch it sustain right through the holidays.
Yes, you can send tweets from the beach. Or if you really need to shut yourself down for a couple of weeks, get someone else to handle the content dissemination for you over that time.
Just don’t let your social media campaign lose momentum – you want it to be going strong come January.
Sign up with Google+
With all that great content of yours circulating in cyberspace, picking up followers faster than the Pied Piper, you have to be on Google+. This is where you as the author get noticed by Google.
No matter if all your content is ghost written, you can still put your name to it as it’s your IP. Alternately, you can use a writer who already has strong author credentials with Google and coast on his or her status. Either way, this helps to achieve your goal of great Google ranking.
So sign up with Google+ and make sure that every piece you publish is linked to your Google+ url.
Colleen Lewis is the founder and director of 10 Plus Media.