5 Content Marketing Tips for Growing Your Online Audience

There have been volumes written about search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing, but for a lot of small business owners and creative entrepreneurs, the various SEO tips and tricks can seem a little out-of-reach…not to mention irrelevant to their real-world goals of making sales and raising awareness of their brand. Duct Tape Marketing founder John Jantsch takes a more pragmatic approach to marketing and selling, with SEO tips and content marketing tricks small businesses can employ right now.

Create content. It can be hard to make time to invest in consistent nurturing of your business’s online presence, but the truth is that search engines won’t pick up what you’re not putting out. “Anybody who’s telling you that all you need to do is set up a Facebook presence and get lots of likes and that’s going to sell products is dreaming,” says John, so make sure you, as a small business, are putting out content regularly. Not sure how to get started with regular blogging? Check out April Bowles Olin’s CreativeLive course, which specifically focuses on how small businesses can grow through blogging.

Make it evergreen. “Organic SEO is not necessarily instant gratification,” John says of long-tail evergreen content strategy. However, patience pays off; John says he still sees lots of traffic from blog posts that are nearly 10 years old. Why? Because they’re still relevant. Invest in Google AdWords to see what kinds of terms your audience might be searching for, or play around with Google Trends. When you’re writing blog posts and making content that answers common challenges in a way that’s pertinent to your business, you’ll see steady surges in traffic over the long haul.

Diversify. Email marketing. Social media. Podcasting. The occasional candid photo. Posting a variety of content — those which serve your business objectives, those which remind your audience that you’re a real person, and those which directly engage potential new clients — can help create a cohesive web presence, which drives clicks and links, which ultimately drives a higher Google ranking when someone comes looking for your website.

Share strategically. Do you really need a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, website, and blog? Yeah, says John, you sort of do — but only in that they all work together. “You have to think of them supporting each other,” John says of the many spurs of digital marketing. “It’s very difficult to get your content to rank without social media.”

Consider WordPress. “I run my entire online presence from WordPress,” says John. WordPress got a reputation early on as being just a blogging platform, but it’s actually a really powerful tool for creating dynamic, SEO-strong websites for small businesses. John’s blogged a lot about WordPress and its many functions — read up on what he’s written for more information about this super-powerful platform.

Know your analytics. Posting at 3pm might be more effective than posting a 1pm, but how will you know if you’re not analyzing? Tools like HootSuite, Facebook’s native Insights, and Google Analytics can helpful to assess what’s working and what’s not. If you can cut what’s not working, you can make more room for what is.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.