Businesses have used the power of content to build brand awareness and customer loyalty for a long time. Digital media and internet-enabled devices have become a constant part of consumers’ everyday lives — meaning content marketing has never been easier.
Great content marketing allows businesses to connect, engage and build relationships with existing and potential customers. Here’s what you need to know about using content to successfully market your small business.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material such as blogs, infographics, podcasts, webinars and videos to provide helpful and relevant information to a target audience.
With content marketing, the goal isn’t to explicitly advertise your business or your products. Instead, it aims to create interest, build trust, establish credibility and build customer relationships by inviting them to organically engage with your brand.
What Are the Benefits of Content Marketing for Small Businesses?
Content marketing can be time consuming, but it’s low cost and highly effective. It works to support all of your other marketing efforts and can help you gain an edge over the competition.
Establish your business as a thought leader. When you spend time posting high-quality content for your audiences, you boost your expertise and authority on the topics you care about. You can become a voice that others in the industry listen to.
Build your brand. Consistently posting pieces of content can help you define your brand voice. You can emphasize your company’s values and mission. This can help you build strong relationships with your audience.
Get more eyes on your site. One study found that business websites that actively wrote and published blogs got 55% more website traffic. Content creation and publication can boost your search engine optimization efforts and help boost your search engine ranking.
Close more sales. When people connect with your brand they’re more likely to purchase from you. The best content helps build trust. Including a call to action (CTA) in your content can help nudge customers along in their journey. Plus, you can create a piece of content that provides potential customers with information about your business or product, which can help them make better decisions on what to buy.
How To Get Started With Content Marketing
Find your audience. Define your target audience by looking at demographics such as location, interests, pain points and what they’re looking for. This can help you create effective content that resonates with them.
Determine your expertise. Identify the subjects that you want to create your content around. Think about what makes sense for your business and what your customers care about. You should also consider what makes your business unique and how this will help you solve your audience’s problem.
Decide what type of content is best for your business. Content comes in many different formats. Think about what you have the time and resources to create. Here are a few content types you can consider and what you may want to know before you get started.
- Blogs. Writing good content for a blog takes time and research. If you’re using an SEO strategy you’ll need to do keyword research, craft outlines and then take the time to write a blog that’s helpful to your audience.
- Video. You don’t need to have a bunch of fancy equipment and cameras to shoot a good video — chances are your smartphone will be more than up for the job. You should still take some time to do your research about how to shoot a video well. Plus, investing in some lighting and ensuring you have a nice background may be a good idea.
- Email newsletters. Email marketing is a great way to reach your audiences. A newsletter can help you stay front of mind, keep your audience up to date and it’s a good way to distribute your other content. If you want to create an email newsletter you may want to sign up for a service that will help you organize your email lists and provide you with some templates to get started. Some services also provide tools to help you stay compliant with SPAM laws and other email marketing regulations.
- Social media posts. Social media is a great way to reach new customers. It’s a useful content marketing tool because not only can you distribute your other content, but you can craft posts that are content themselves. It allows you to engage directly with your audience on that social media platform.
Tips for Creating Compelling Content for Your Small Business
You don’t have to be the world’s best writer, graphic designer or videographer to craft compelling content. Here are some tactics you can try that can help your content marketing plan succeed.
- Use storytelling. Humans are wired to love stories. When you’re creating new content, try to think of ways that you can turn it into a story that will captivate your audience and create an emotional connection to your brand.
- Solve problems. Create valuable content that gives practical, actionable suggestions to your audience. If they know they can get good, clear answers from your site, there’s a higher chance that they’ll come back the next time they need help.
- Create visual appeal. Visual content like graphs, videos and images can help your brand stand out. They often make it easier for your audience to digest and process the information you’re providing.
- Stay consistent. Try to maintain a consistent schedule. Whether it’s when you send your email newsletter, upload your video to YouTube or publish your blog, consistency is key. Try creating a content calendar ahead of time to keep yourself on track.
- Track progress. When you understand the metrics around how your content is performing, you can see where you can make improvements and what you should keep on doing. Make sure to keep an eye on your contents’ performance.
Helpful Tools for Content Creators Getting Started
There are a lot of tools on the internet that can help you in your content marketing efforts.
Content creation. Tools like Canva and Adobe Express can help you create graphics and images to use in your content marketing campaigns.
Social media management. Tools like Hootsuite or Buffer can help you organize, schedule and post your content.
Analytics. Google Analytics can tell you how your website is performing, how many visitors you’re getting, what they’re looking at and how they found your site. Most social media platforms also offer analytics insights on business accounts. It can help you see who’s interacting with your posts and how they’re performing.
Outsourcing. If you don’t have time or resources but still want to do content marketing, you don’t have to hire a whole marketing agency. You can outsource some of the work by hiring a freelancer on sites like Fiverr and UpWork. There are a lot of experts out there that can help you.
Suggestions from Expert Content Marketers
Curate carefully and be consistent
“Curate with Your Customer in Mind. Understand your audience and what they want. Content creation isn’t about what you want to say, it’s about what your audience wants to hear. In the vast digital bazaar, tailor your content to suit your audience’s needs and interests.
“Embrace Authenticity. Authenticity is a currency in the age of digital marketing. As a small business, your unique story and personal touch are your greatest assets. Let these shine in your content, fostering a genuine connection with your audience.
“Consistency is Key. Posting quality content sporadically isn’t enough. Consistency in posting not only improves SEO but also helps establish your brand as a reliable source of information.”
Marshal Davis, President
Marshal Davis is an entrepreneur who has bought and sold multiple 7-figure businesses. Currently, he runs Ascendly Marketing, a highly awarded digital marketing agency. With his expertise, he has helped hundreds of business owners, and the Ascendly team has generated hundreds of five-star reviews from clients, resulting in tens of millions in revenue for their clients. Marshal holds a Business Degree with a Concentration in Finance and has also played professional baseball with the New York Mets organization.
Team up with other businesses
“One key tip for successful content marketing is to consistently create valuable and relevant content that addresses your audience’s needs or interests. It’s crucial to know your target audience and tailor your messaging accordingly, whether it be through blog posts, social media updates, videos or email campaigns.
“Another effective strategy is to collaborate with other businesses in your industry or local community by co-creating content such as webinars or guest blogging on each other’s websites. This can help expand your reach and establish yourself as an authority in your field while also fostering relationships with like-minded individuals. Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of visuals – eye-catching graphics and high-quality images can make a big impact on how well-received your content is by viewers.
“By implementing these tips into my own business strategy, I have seen firsthand the positive results that come from creating engaging and informative content for my audience.”
Vaibhav Kakkar, CEO
Digital Web Solutions
Vaibhav Kakkar is the CEO and Founder of DigitalWebSolutions – the Agency for Agencies – fueling some of the top agencies around the UK, USA and Australia. Through a futuristic approach to digital marketing, DWS helps more than 58 agencies stay consistent with their goals by handling 100% of their backend tasks – content, link building and development. As a thought leader, Vaibhav has been blogging and speaking about SEO and the world of digital marketing for more than 12 years.
Show your audience what happens behind the scenes
“Posting quick snapshots of your daily business activities on social media can have a tremendous impact on promoting your small business and fostering a strong community. By sharing these glimpses, you invite others into your world, showcasing the passion and dedication behind your brand. From capturing the hustle and bustle of your team to highlighting new products or services, these posts create an engaging narrative. They allow your audience to connect with your journey, building trust and loyalty. This simple act enables you to reach a wider audience, inspire curiosity, and ultimately cultivate a supportive community that champions your business every step of the way.”
Erik Wagner, Head Of Marketing
Erik Wagner is the head of marketing for Plivo’s CPaaS business, which comprises Plivo’s core cloud communication offerings, including voice and messaging APIs. He has over 14 years of experience building marketing strategies and leading marketing and sales teams for growth-oriented technology companies.