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5 Steps For Small Businesses To Promote Online Content

5 Steps For Small Businesses To Promote Online Content

You’ve listened to all the experts. You’ve done your keyword research, crafted a backlog of blog posts that will reward the customers who come to your page, and created an editorial calendar so that your content will continue to arrive on schedule moving forward.

You are competing with millions of posts every day and promoting a new content gets harder and more complex. But how do you get those first visitors to your blog? How do you get your content the attention that it deserves?

Leverage interested friends and family

There’s a limited number of times that this will work, so only beg for help specifically from your personal audience with big events. The initial launch of your website is a good time, as well as when you’ve written content that has a wider potential interest base than your specific audience.

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To help your close group feel comfortable sharing your content, consider providing them with some basic language for how to spread the word. Instead of starting with “My daughter wrote a blog,” for example, they might say “You know, I found this great website devoted to approachable tech tutorials – actually, my daughter writes for the site – and you should check it out, I think you’d find it very helpful.”

One of the keys of marketing is to lead with how you’re helping the customer, and that’s just as true for your content as it is with anything else.

Spread the word to your social media pages

When your site is ready to go, spread the word to your personal and professional social media pages. Depending on where your social media platform exists, you may or may not be able to have your content automatically shared to your sites. Figure out whether this will be automatic or manual, and make sure you have a process in place for regularly sharing content if it will be necessary to share it manually.

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Make sure that your content shares with pictures! There’s no exception anymore to not using featured images with each and every post. It’s expected. Make it happen.

Make sure your more specialized audiences know about your site

Online content is the key to marketing for the future. Integrating content with SEO, however, is just as important as writing it in the first place. If you’re paying attention to your industry, you’ve probably found more than one content site that’s devoted to fans or customers of the service or product that you plan to offer. It could be a group of message boards, like Absolute Write, the Fountain Pen Network, or Ravelry, or it could be a set of blogs were the comments section engages in rigorous discussion.

Whatever it is, consider plans to make your new site available to that audience. If you’re following a blog, pitch a guest post to the blog owner where you can link back to your site. If you’re following a message board, consider a post announcing the new site, and potentially offering a temporary discount or perk to members of the site.

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You already know that these people like your product in theory; now’s the chance to help them like it in practice.

Advertise in any brick-and-mortar locations

If your business has a physical location, make sure that customers who come in are aware of the new site. Be prepared to tell them about it’s value while they’re in your location. “I’m so glad you asked that question! Here’s the answer. Now, you should also know that we’ve launched a series of instructional videos on our website, let me give you the web address.”

One great idea for any in-store marketing is to use QR codes. Most smartphones can scan these easily and then direct users to your website without them needing to type in your URL. If you’re giving out postcards or business cards, include these scannable codes to make customers’ lives easier.

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Talk about your website whenever it’s relevant

A marketer’s work is never done. While you want to be careful not to become that person who never stops talking about their job, and can seem too salesy and pushy about it, look for opportunities to promote your work in relevant ways. If your website is about the benefits of a particular product, for example, and you see a discussion come across your social media asking a question you’ve recently addressed, drop a blog link into the discussion. Preface it with an acknowledgement of the question and a brief version of the answer. “We discussed that recently on the blog! In short, you’ll find … check out the post for more details.”

Featured photo credit: FirmBee via pixabay.com

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Margarita Hakobyan

MBA from the University of Utah

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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