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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.

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.

There's simply no denying the fact that we all are dependent on our mobile phones today. Mobile devices are everywhere and social media (coupled with mobile SEO) now plays a huge role in attracting new business.

We still use desktop devices, of course, but we now depend on the internet and our mobile devices for our day-to-day needs. Isn't it somewhat obvious, then, what makes mobile SEO important?

The Rise of Mobile Devices...and Mobile SEO Optimization

In this regard, it's useful to understand the importance of mobile SEO. Mobile traffic now outpaces desktop search. You can't leave your desktop user behind, of course, but mobile SEO should be your primary focus.

Today you get maximum sales, traffic, leads, and conversions via mobile users scanning through your content. The rise of search engine optimization is an unavoidable fact because people are always on the go and things on their to-do list are being done on the go, typically on a mobile device.

The advantageous ranking of your content today largely depends on the mobile experience, leveraging local SEO, using social media as part of your digital marketing, and how well your website is optimized for mobile search.

Also, you have to keep mobile-first indexing in mind as this is an important part of mobile marketing. Consequently, mobile SEO is critically important. In this regard, you may need to consult with an SEO agency to make sure you are optimizing your content for mobile without leaving the desktop user behind. Otherwise, the user experience is likely to suffer and you're likely to lose the mobile user.

Listed below are some best practices for tweaking content for mobile SEO. As you consider investing in SEO services and building a mobile friendly site, keep in mind all the relevant factors that influence search engine optimization. These include the site's design, fast-loading content, user interface across mobile and desktop, and navigation. They all influence mobile SEO either directly or indirectly.

1. Prioritize page load speed.

In the age of fast internet speed, your website content cannot lag. Mobile users are notorious for demanding responsive design and a lightning-quick user experience. Your content must appear super fast on any device. If you aren't working on mobile optimization, your user experience is bound to suffer.

You must optimize images for mobile search, invest in responsive design for all your content, use the minimum amount of code, reduce the number of redirects, and use browser caching to its maximum effect. Of course, there are many more tasks that can increase page speed on a desktop and a mobile device and position your mobile site for search engine success.

2. Let the Google "spiders" crawl all over your website.

Blocking Google search spiders can have a disastrous effect on your website. In all likelihood, the ranking of your website will suffer badly, both for your desktop user and mobile visitors.

There are some readily-available tools you can use such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics. When used correctly, these technical SEO tools (and others) can help identify and understand whether the spiders are reaching the important parts of your site or not. This leaves the window for desktop and mobile optimization improvement wide open.

3. Pay attention to your search engine result page (SERP) display.

Mobile search engine optimization requires attention to detail. When you add a number of microdata (tags) such as and structured data to your mobile site, search engines can interpret or read them more accurately.

By working toward a mobile first index, you will boost your desktop SEO as well. This represents a true win-win SEO strategy.

Google search can also display your page in SERPs in a better way by facilitating the concentration of the rich snippets beneath the title of the page.

4. Mobile optimization holds the key to increased traffic.

Ask your dev team to make your website mobile-friendly and desktop compliant. Outdated plugins such as Flash might not be useful. It's always better to avoid using too many plugins. Pop-ups need to be avoided as well.

Instead, HTML5 represents a much better and more useful choice for your mobile website. For touch screen navigation on a mobile device, designing for the fat finger is always better. This means that the buttons must not be too small...or too big. Otherwise, scrolling your mobile page becomes tedious.

Less screen space means you have to reduce the length of titles, URLs, and meta-descriptions for the mobile version. What looks great on desktop might transform itself into a jumbled mess on mobile. However, you cannot compromise overall message quality as you tailor text for mobile use.

5. Content upgrades and optimization are a neverending process.

Optimizing your content while keeping local search in mind is another important mobile SEO best practice. Start by standardizing your business name, address, phone number, the name of the city you are operating in, and the metadata of your site for mobile users.

Mobile first indexing combined with local SEO is sure to increase the impact of your search result. Invest in responsive design, accelerated mobile pages, and some solid social media support as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Launching a mobile site means little, of course, if you don't attract visitors. Your mobile friendly website needs to have support from a digital marketing plan. Should you decide to work with a SEO agency to help you get started, make sure your agreed-upon mobile SEO strategy provides for regular check-ups and fine-tuning.

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