Our series on content marketing continues today with a discussion about the benefits this marketing strategy can have for your small business. Now that you are familiar with what content marketing is, and some different types of content you can create, let’s talk about why you should be doing this in the first place.

1. Content is great for SEO
Search engine optimization trends come and go, but relevant, quality content never goes out of style. Each time Google updates its search algorithm (like the recent switch to Hummingbird), SEO experts pepper the Internet with articles about how to take advantage of the new system. And a lot of that is great advice, even if it can be impossible to keep up with. But one sure-fire strategy for improving your ranking without living on SEO blogs is to regularly publish quality content that people will find useful.

There are three major reasons why: First, frequently creating new content that lives on your website tells Google that your site is fresh and up-to-date, which is a major consideration in ranking. Second, when your content gets linked to by other bloggers, or if you create guest blogs that link back to your website, that helps increase your site’s authority – another key ranking factor. Third, we now know that Google has started to value social signals more highly. That is, when your content is popular on various social media platforms, Google takes that to mean that your site is relevant to viewers and will increase your positive ranking.

2. Content is great for social media.
This is a nice bit of synergy. Social media benefits content in the way listed above, and at the same time, content benefits your social media profiles. Think about it; if you blog 3 times a week, that’s 3 more relevant items you can share with your social communities (more, if you post it in different was). If you’re doing different types of content – like photos, videos, and tutorials – even better. This gives you more chances to reach your audience, more chances for them to share your updates with their social networks, and more chances for their friends to connect with your profiles.

3. Content is great for your brand.
Because one of the goals of content marketing is to create things that will be helpful to your audience, a handy side effect is that it bolsters people’s relationship with your brand. You helped them solve a problem, you were there for them when they needed you, and for that you will hopefully get some brand loyalty in return. Also, the more your content gets shared around the web, the more exposure you earn, and the more brand awareness you’ll get.

4. Content is great for growing leads
Once you become an old hand at creating great content, you can begin to ask for something in return when people want to view it. If you have published a whitepaper, ebook, or detailed tutorial, you might want to consider putting it on a landing page where people can download it. On that page, you can have a form that captures whatever contact information you’d like in exchange for the download. This can give you valuable insights into who your customers are, depending on the fields you include in the form, and also help you grow your email marketing list.

Have you tried content marketing already? We’d love to hear about the benefits you’ve seen for your small business.

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the resident blogger at Webs, where she also manages marketing for Pagemodo – a suite of social marketing tools. Loves marketing, small businesses, and whales. Get more from Sarah on the Webs Blog and Google+.

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