Content continues its reign as the king in marketing, and rightfully so. Seventy percent of marketers actively invest in content marketing. Likewise, 72% claim that having a solid content strategy is a major element of their success. As a result, emerging and established brands alike are taking advantage of the benefits of content marketing to help grow their business.
What is content marketing?
Simply put, content marketing is defined as a strategic marketing approach that helps form strong relationships with your audience. This relationship is nurtured through valuable and relevant content (in a variety of formats) on a consistent basis.
Content marketing is essentially when you put useful information in the hands of your target audience. Traditional marketing, on the contrary, is when you go after your audience and attract them with the information you want them to receive.
Because content marketing is defined by the audience’s interest, it is usually far more effective than traditional digital marketing approaches such as paid advertising, email campaigns, and sponsored marketing.
Some of the most popular formats for content marketing include blog articles, videos, infographics, case studies, e-books, webinars, podcasts, social media posts, email newsletters, presentations, brochures, and more. Potential customers are already looking for high quality content, your job is to make sure they find it via email marketing, video content, and/or paid ads.
As a small business, you might fall into the trap of thinking that producing quality content that stands out is the prerogative of big brand names with big budgets, large marketing teams, and lots of resources on their hands. But a content marketing strategy is possibly even more crucial for small companies. Even the smallest businesses can engage in outbound marketing, launch a popular social media channel, crank out good content, and use its brand personality to draw audiences into the sales funnel.
When compared to other forms of promotion, content marketing delivers some of the highest ROI for every dollar spent. Great content also offers benefits far outweighing the time and money that goes into it. Proven to be a cost-effective strategy, content marketing generates three times the leads at 62% less cost compared to traditional marketing approaches.
What are some of the main benefits of content marketing for your small business?
It will deliver ongoing value to your audience and drive engagement.
By providing your target audience with valuable content on an ongoing basis, you are giving them powerful motivation to come back for more. Fresh, relevant, trending content is your shot at boosting your audience’s engagement whilst continuously enhancing your brand image.
It will build authority and trust.
Producing content that helps educate your audience about your business instead of blatantly promoting your services will help establish your authority and expertise. The more insight-driven, quality-focused content your company produces, the more people will consider you a thought leader within your niche.
Once your business is recognized as a go-to resource for valuable, expert information, you will gain your customers’ long-term trust and loyalty. Every piece of relevant content you share will solidify your reputation as a reliable authority. This is true whether you are conducting a B2C or B2B content marketing effort.
Content is what will make your clients return when they have questions and eventually when they are ready to make a purchase.
It will support your digital marketing channels.
Successful marketers know that 100% original content goes a long way. That super-informative blog article that you just wrote can be shared on your social media channels, transformed into an impressive infographic, or featured in your newsletter, fueling the traction across all these platforms.
It will generate leads.
Lead generation is one of the benefits of content marketing. Think blogging, smart gated quality content, and strategically placed calls-to-action (CTAs).
Consistently publishing blog posts is an effective content marketing strategy. Expect your lead generation efforts to rise by 88% or 67% respectively, depending on whether you are a B2C or a B2B company, giving you unparalleled ROI for every marketing dollar spent.
Gated content usually comes in the form of e-books, blog articles, white papers, and even videos. Sought-after gated content generates leads by expanding your email contact list. Visitors fill out a contact form that provides their email address in exchange for access to the gated resource. These visitors willingly subscribe to your emails and look forward to them.
Strategically placed CTAs within your relevant and engaging content can also generate inbound marketing leads. By clicking on your CTA, visitors will move through the sales pipeline. This is perhaps the single greatest content marketing benefit.
It will boost your search engine rankings.
Without exaggeration, content marketing is the soul of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Influential content that visitors engage with contributes to your website’s domain authority, strengthening your search engine rankings. Additionally, unique, creative content built around the right keywords and targeting the right audience via social media marketing gets indexed quickly and ranks better on Google.
Higher rankings, in turn, will lead to more traffic to your website.
How do I make content marketing work for my small business?
If you are looking to implement a content marketing strategy for your small business, here’s how to do it.
Define and set SMART goals for your marketing campaign.
Most marketers already know that defining your purpose and setting goals are vital for content marketing.
Content strategy goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. In other words, they need to be SMART. Here are good examples of SMART content marketing goals as you seek to raise brand awareness.
- Rank higher on Google and land on the first five pages within six months.
- Obtain 200 new email contacts in two months.
Identify and track your key metrics.
Define the key metrics that help you understand if your content marketing campaign is moving in the direction of your goals.
Content performance indicators include website traffic, unique pageviews, likes and shares, conversion rates, number of downloads, and bounce rate. According to the Content Marketing Institute, there are at least four content audit metrics to track over time.
Learn from the data. Adjust your content strategy and keyword research accordingly.
Select your target audience and marketing channel.
Before you start creating or promoting any type of content, make sure you clearly understand who your target audience is. Define their demographics, interests, personality types, and followings.
Once you figure out the who, identify where your audience is most likely to spend their time. Then pick the right digital channels to distribute your content. Consider blogs, social media platforms, email campaigns, and online forums to boost brand awareness.
Keep your content creation team to a publishing schedule.
Create a posting schedule and (as any experienced content marketer will tell you) stick to it. You can’t significantly raise brand awareness and build customer loyalty with an occasional social media post.
Consistency is key when it comes to publishing great content. Similarly, avoid posting too often, not posting enough, or posting irregularly. Your end goal is to engage, not to overwhelm. Better to generate one killer blog post per week than 10 boring posts per day. Use your content marketing effort to drive long-term audience engagement.
Create. Adjust. Repeat.
To make the benefits of content marketing work, the quality of your ideas must translate into well-researched, valuable, engaging content.
Your great content needs to educate your audience and answer their questions. Produce fresh content with the same vigor you examine your target audience and marketing channels.
By continuously learning from your KPIs and tweaking your content strategy, you will develop a solid foundation of evergreen, relevant, and valuable information. Likewise, you will also build trust with your audience.
Content marketing can mean the difference between struggling to grow your customer base and taking your small business to the next level.
Whether you create the content in-house or hire a content marketing agency to do it for you, now is the time to embark on your content marketing journey.