Content continues its reign as the king in marketing, and rightfully so. Seventy percent of marketers actively invest in content marketing and 72% claim that having a solid content strategy is a major element of their success. 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.
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 content marketing is possibly even more crucial for small companies.
When compared to other forms of promotion, content marketing delivers some of the highest ROI for every dollar spent. It 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. 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.
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 content, and strategically placed calls-to-action (CTAs).
Consistently publishing blog posts is an effective 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 leads. By clicking on your CTA, visitors will move through the sales pipeline.
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 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 is how to do it:
Define and set SMART goals
Defining your purpose and setting goals is 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:
- Rank higher on Google and land on the first 5 pages within six months.
- Obtain 200 new email contacts in 2 months.
Identify and track your key metrics
Define the key metrics that help you understand if you are 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. Track these metrics over time, learn from the data, and adjust your content strategy accordingly.
Select your target audience and channels
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.
Stick to a publishing schedule
Create a posting schedule and stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to publishing content: avoid posting too often, not posting enough, or posting irregularly. Your end goal is to engage, not to overwhelm.
Create, Adjust, Repeat
To make the benefits of content marketing work, the quality of your ideas must translate into well-researched, valuable, engaging content that educates your audience and answers their questions. Produce 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. 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.