“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” —Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer, The Content Advisory

Launching a successful digital marketing campaign is every small business owner’s goal. Without effective marketing strategies, growing your business and building a solid customer base can be quite challenging.

However, small businesses aren’t getting the same amount of attention and do not have the kinds of luxuries that big and more established enterprises enjoy. With limited resources, such as lack of funds or access to a larger and more experienced staff, smaller businesses may find it more difficult to make their marketing efforts pay off. Additionally, small enterprises also may not have the skills or knowledge needed to properly strategize and execute their marketing strategies.

The good thing is that these challenges can be overcome with proper planning and strategizing in the right direction. With so many marketing methods available with which you can experiment,  your chances of reaching a wider range of potential customers and creating a profitable long-term business are quite high.

Content marketing for small businesses is one of the many digital marketing strategies that is not only cost-effective, but also highly effective in terms of generating new customers and leads.

What is Content Marketing?

We’ve all heard the phrase “Content is king”, and many of us have started a few blogs to promote  our businesses. Content marketing is all over the place, and it has been around for a long time. When you hear the term “content marketing”,  things like blogs, curated content, or even social media are usually what come to mind. The truth is, content marketing is more than just the content format.

Did you know that about 90% of organizations in varying industries use content marketing in their marketing campaigns?

A definition of content marketing from Content Marketing Institute states that, “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Content marketing is not your typical type of traditional marketing, namely one that usually involves interrupting your audience to ask them to perform a certain action. Instead, content marketing is permission-based and driven by creating content as a tool to distribute your message that resonates with your target audience and addresses their particular issues or questions. Over time, using content marketing can greatly influence your customer’s behavior as you continue to effectively communicate with your target audience, which will not only help you sell your products or services, but can also help you more effectively gauge the growth of your business.

A strong piece of high-quality content has the potential to make someone stop, think, review, and act upon your business’s desired call-to-action.

Benefits of Using Content Marketing

So does content marketing really work for small businesses? Yes, it can. In fact, big brands like Nike, Apple, and IBM are pushing out tons of resources to produce quality content. The good news is that you don’t need tons of money to see a positive ROI from incorporating content marketing into your business strategy. You just need to realize that 70% of customers prefer to learn about a company through a blog post over any other form of advertisement.

Do you know that the average small business owner spends less than 1% of their time on content marketing? That means these owners are spending most or all of their energy and resources in other areas. Content marketing is a long-term strategy that can result in increased traffic to your website, increased conversion rates, and more leads coming into your funnel. Content marketing is useful for your bottom line, as well as for your customers.

1. Increased Conversion Potential

The primary goal of content marketing is to engage, inform, assist, and deliver value to your customers. Once you have that covered, you can take advantage of any remaining space to promote your products or services. If done correctly, you can easily increase the number of conversions you get. Keep in mind that content marketing is not intended to directly sell your products and services, so remember not to turn your content into some kind of an advertisement.

2. Increase Traffic to Your Website

Most small business owners rely on their websites to generate new leads and revenue. However, simply having a website is not enough to guarantee success. Providing your audience with easily accessible quality content drives more traffic to your website. With improved search visibility, the amount of traffic that visits your site will eventually increase. 

3. Establish Your Brand as an Authority

If you want to become an authority within your industry, content marketing is a great way to do just that. Producing informative and educational content influences how your audience thinks of your brand. With a strong SEO in mind, coupled with a robust marketing strategy and the ability to consistently create high-quality content, you can indirectly sell your products or services to your target audience.

Your goal is to establish yourself as a recognized and esteemed leader through your content as the go-to resource for solutions when it comes to whatever questions or problems your audience may have. If you become an authority within your field, consumers will be more likely to trust your brand and support your products or services. 

4. Content Marketing is Cost-Effective

Content marketing only costs time, and compared with other digital marketing tactics, content marketing costs 62% less,  but is three times more effective. Content marketing is easy to begin, and often helps marketers reduce the number of resources they need to spend when engaging with customers and generating leads.

While your first few months may not yield much in terms of serious results, you will gradually start to see growth and improvement over the next few months. By the time you’re a few years into your consistent content marketing strategy, your return on investment could easily quadruple without you even knowing it.

Steps To Creating An Effective Content Marketing Strategy

“Content marketing” is a buzzword. It’s becoming more and more popular, but the problem for some business owners is that many people don’t know how to create an effective content marketing strategy for their business.

A ”content marketing strategy” can be defined as a long-term plan for creating and distributing content that will engage your target audience. This may include blogs, tweets, or any other type of social media post. You may also create infographics to display an idea in the most visually appealing way possible while still including text where necessary (this is a popular one for online retailers). Some businesses also create videos that get people talking.

There are many reasons why content marketing is such an effective strategy, including increased customer engagement in the form of higher click rates on your website, more qualified leads from potential customers who have been exposed to you through various forms of media (i.e. emails, tweets), and more qualified leads from potential customers who have been exposed to your business through various forms of media.

There are many variables that come into play when trying to create a successful content marketing strategy. These include the type of business you have, your audience’s demographics (such as age range, gender,), and how much time is available for consistent updates on social platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

One tactic  to help you systematically build your strategy might be working with somebody experienced. This may be a company that can help you not only develop your online presence, but also provide guidance around what kinds of strategies on which you should focus your energy and efforts towards ensuring the best possible return on investment.

For those without the resources or time (like some small business owners), there are some other ways you can build a content marketing strategy that may be more cost-effective in terms of ROI.  One idea is developing a brand personality, such as choosing an image or mascot for your business.  This can help create engagement with audiences.  Another approach might include creating engaging video updates, such as company profiles that show behind-the-scenes footage about things are done at your organization and staff members mucking around their workplace). 

1. Define your audience 

What are your business goals? Who do you want to reach with your marketing? What is the best way to get in contact with them?

The first step in defining your audience is knowing who they are and what makes them tick. Once you have a clear picture of who they are, it becomes easier to make a plan for how to most effectively connect with them.

2. Research what they are interested in 

There are a lot of quality marketing strategies out there, but they don’t work if you’re not utilizing the right ones. It’s important to know what your audience is interested in so that you can target them with specific content that will resonate. Blogging allows you to communicate directly with people who are already looking for information on topics similar to yours.

3. Create a content plan: What will you publish? How often? What format? Who will write it? 

You’ve got a great idea for a blog post, and you’re excited to get started. But wait, there’s more! You also need to create a content plan that outlines which specific topics about which you want to publish,  how often the posts will be published on your website or blog, and in what format they’ll be published (i.e., text-only posts vs photo/video).

The key is to identify the type of content your audience needs so you can give it to them with consistency. For example, if your audience needs inspiration for their businesses every day, then publishing one new blog post per weekday might work best. 

4. Determine the best distribution channels for your content (e-mail, social media, etc.) and set up an editorial calendar to keep track of all posts 

One of the most important aspects of content marketing is determining which distribution channels to use for your content. The reason this is so crucial is that it can affect how many people you are able to reach, and therefore, how effectively you can increase sales.

The best distribution channels for your content depends on the tone of your content. If you have a light-hearted blog post, sharing it on social media is a great way to attract an audience. If your blog post has more of an educational or informative tone, emailing it out to relevant businesses and organizations may be a more suitable route for reaching your intended audience.

5. Track metrics on how well each post is doing so that you can adjust future posts accordingly

One of the most important aspects of marketing is tracking metrics. It’s not enough to have a visually appealing website and business cards. You need to know how well each post is performing in order to plan most effectively for the future. Post metrics are an important measurement when it comes to content marketing. By tracking them, you’ll know which posts are getting the most likes and shares, which will give you a good idea of how well your future posts might do.

Learn more about content marketing and strategies you can incorporate into your marketing efforts by getting in touch with us at No Joke Marketing.