Content marketing has become synonymous with successful businesses over the past few years. However, it remains an anomaly to many. Today, we’re going to dive into what content marketing is and how it can significantly impact your small business. Let’s start with the basics.
What is content marketing?
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action,” according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Content marketing offers businesses another way to entice their customers without putting out traditional advertisements. Companies can strengthen their brand identity, awareness, and credibility by publishing informational blogs, distributing white papers, and being sited on other industry websites. Content marketing gets a business’s name out to the public in a way that is helpful to the target audience and does not require any action from their users. It gives to the public without demanding a return. It’s actually quite a nice way for people to become acquainted with a brand.
What does it provide a small business?
Now that we understand what content marketing is, we can look into what it provides a small business. Of course businesses want to appear as helpful and informative to their prospective customers, but there are also ancillary benefits of content marketing to the company. By utilizing this kind of marketing, it allows small businesses to increase their SEO rankings and highlight the key differentiators between themselves and their competition. Searches thrive off of key words, and when a business strategically publishes content, it should include pre-determined keywords that are associated with the brand. Thus, it strengthens your rankings and boosts where your business falls in search results.
Content marketing also allows your customers and followers to share your original thoughts. By posting to social media or maintaining a regular blog, your audience can email or share via social media platforms, snippets of your information or an entire post with a click of a button. Giving your loyal customers the ability to distribute your content not only broadens your content’s reach, but drives traffic to your website as people often visit a business’s website once they’ve seen valuable information from them.
For small businesses, though, having a content marketing plan that is robust, but scalable is key. You don’t want to over promise and under deliver. Determine how much new content you can reasonably publish per week and stick to that schedule. Your followers will become familiar with your posting cadence and look forward to fresh content. This encourages them to visit your website, blog, and social media accounts as they search for your new information.
A way to guarantee your content marketing stays on target and doesn’t deviate from your audience is to develop a content marketing mission statement. This kind of mission statement reinforces the key targets and principles of your business so you can stay on point with your messaging.
Defining the target audience – clearly explain whom you are trying to reach.
What are you delivering to the audience? – are you providing helpful information, inspirational messages, industry advice, or something else completely? Whatever it is, make sure you can articulate it before you begin pushing content.
What are your objectives in sharing your content with the audience? – is the objective to grow your business? Increase your subscribers? Convert a certain percentage of visitors to customers? Again, write these outcomes down so everyone involved in your business understands the objectives.
Once your mission statement is solidified, make it known! Put it on your website, blog, and social media accounts so your audience is consistently exposed to it and becomes aware of why you’re posting.
The content marketing mission statement also serves as a roadmap for your content strategy. It easily filters what is a fit for your brand and what isn’t appropriate. It’s a useful tool to keep you aligned with your goals and developing the most relevant and unique content for your audience.
How to create compelling content
Content has taken on various forms throughout the years and integrating different types of content into your strategy is key to keeping your audience engaged. Amy Wood from Unbounce published a fantastic infographic that depicts how to create the best kind of content for different media. I reference it daily and hope you find it as useful as I have. Click on the image for the complete infographic.
Content marketing is something all small businesses should implement into their strategy at some point. Hopefully this guide helps you take the first step toward embracing this robust marketing tactic and allows your marketing efforts to double in no time.
About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.