Content marketing is one of the best investments a small business can make. There is a whole lot of talk surrounding the industry currently and all signals are pointing to content marketing being the future of marketing, but I’ve got some news for you…
…content marketing is not the future of marketing.
It’s the present.
How do I know this?
Let me tell you – I know this because it works for me. It works for my clients. It even works for my clients clients’. Wherever I look, it is working.
Define working I hear you say?
Content marketing has helped Content Hero increase leads to this website by 55% in 12 months; our clients have benefited massively from the top quality copy we produce which has helped to drive sales; and our clients clients’ – we work mostly with digital agencies – have seen a tremendous ROI from their content marketing strategies.
Content marketing sounds great! But what is it!?
In case you aren’t fully aware of what content marketing actually is, it’s the process of creating and distributing content that benefits the reader. That’s right – content that benefits the reader; content that has real power and value behind it. Content marketing IS NOT about pushing people to buy from you. Instead, it’s all about being helpful, answering questions, creating buzz and yes, it’s also about generating a form of positive reaction, but not through a hard sell…
…the thing is, many people don’t understand this.
Well now you do.
As a small business owner, you can create your own content and you can curate and distribute your own content – whether you write articles, produce infographics, create case studies, develop a demo or game, you have the power to make content marketing work for you.
How can I get in on the action?
If you’re a small business with a website, or an offline business with a number of social media handles, you can start content marketing right away.
Content marketing does not have an exclusive club.
Here’s are some ideas for your small business:
Write an article for your blog, write a guest post for a blog, create an infographic, create a newsletter, create a case study, create a video, develop a game, develop a demo, develop an app, post reviews, post comments, build a microsite, build a squeeze page, seek endorsements.
You can also share any of the above efforts made by other businesses.
Surely there’s more to it than that?
Yes, there is.
But, and this is a BIG BUT, the trick to an effective small business content marketing strategy is not solely in the type of content you create, rather, it’s in your distribution and personal willingness to make it work.
For sure all of the content that is to represent your business needs to be of a high quality and for sure, it’s also going to have to be valuable to your audience.
But what good is any content if your potential customers aren’t going to find it?
The good distribution of content starts at home…
If you have a website, you have the ideal platform, or ‘hub’, to start your new content marketing strategy. If you don’t have a website, you really should and – even if you don’t think your customers are online, they probably are – by not having a website, or at least a good business Facebook page, you could be missing out on a lot of sales.
You will also need all of the social media accounts you can get – chances are, the majority of your customers are on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but you should never forget about LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, MySpace and Flickr. A good social media portfolio will allow you to target as many potential customers as possible, and be found by other online entities that are going to share your content.
You need a hub to display your very best content and whether that’s a Facebook page, About.me page or website, you are then going to need to assess the demand for the type of content you produce.
You are a publisher and a marketer. Embrace this fact.
If you create content, you are a publisher. If you share and distribute content, you’re a marketer. Small business owners are both of these.
Chances are, you’ve got a limited budget for your content marketing strategy, and that’s fine – there is no shame in going solo and trying to reach your potential customers all by yourself.
Thankfully, help is at hand… not from a knight in shining armour, or from a marketing superhero, but from content marketing tools.
Now you’re talking! Tools you say?
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – content marketing is a time-consuming process, and it takes trial and error to get it right, unless you’ve got a lucky penny with an enviable track record.
Content marketing tools can be online, offline and app based, and we have a pretty good idea of the one’s which work for a small business. After all, we’re a small business ourselves! Here’s a few online tools we recommend you check out:
…I don’t want to delve in to these tools’ features too much, but there are a lot more tools that are perfect for small business content marketing, and the one’s listed above are just a snapshot.
Ultimately, tools are designed to make your life easier. Any tool that saves you time or money or helps you in some other way is a valuable asset to have.
Remember that in order for content marketing to work, you must have a clearly defined goal.
Whenever I chat to a small business about content marketing, they always ask the same question – what’s the goal?
In almost every case, I give them the same answer – to be a leading expert in your particular niche.
Thought leaders sell. Reputation is everything in business and content is the best way to reach your customers and the people who will help to grow your business through sharing.
I say, try out every possible format of content you can, and measure its success to find out what works for you.