The Importance of Content Marketing for Your Small Business
The Importance of Content Marketing for Your Small Business
Today’s consumers hop online to search for everything from daily news to cute cat videos to reviews of local businesses. Content marketing is all about leveraging the people who are already online to grab their attention, educate them, establish trust, and put your name in their head when they are ready to buy.
Customers today are sick of sales tactics. Between billboards, TV, mailers, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, people see more than 5,000 ads per day!
No wonder why ad-blockers are so popular and trash cans are so full.
Today, customers shop differently, so you must market to them differently as well.
We are all tired of in-your-face advertising that is cheap, impersonal, and trashy.
Content marketing allows consumers to come to the business on their own terms, when it’s convenient for them, and/or when they have an immediate need. This is how today’s consumers prefer to shop.
Instead of endlessly throwing your product at customers hoping someone will bite, content marketing brings interested and open customers to YOU.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a verb. It’s the carefully-created content that reaches specific customers in a specific way. The importance of content marketing is all about creating content directly for a target audience in order to bring new traffic (and therefore new customers) to your business.
Content marketing often involves the use of:
Interactive content, and more.
Content marketing isn’t just text; it is any form of content that provides education, incentive, and entertainment for your audience.
Companies who recognize the value of the content marketing concept and do all they can to use it to the fullest are Good Clients. These are the clients who routinely get the best results out of their online marketing efforts.
It’s how content marketing was born and is still what most clients do. They are free, easy to setup, and can help turn you into an industry expert.
When you offer free knowledge and help, it gains trust with your readers. You’re providing them tips, tricks, and information for free! Using your blog as an opportunity to educate, nurture, and then guide leads to your sales funnel can completely change your business.
By creating more content, you are creating lots of little pathways all over the internet that all lead back to your site. Blogging has shown a consistent increase in leads, and we’re talking LOTS of leads.
For example, imagine you are a baker and your cake orders have plateaued recently. You’d like to gain more customers, so you start a blog. Your posts are focused on birthday cake ideas, wedding trends, and unique baking tips. Eventually, with proper optimization, when people search “Birthday Cake Ideas,” they come across your blog post and now, you have a captive audience of people in the market for cake.
Blogs are a great starting point, but there are other forms of content marketing that are also popular and can be very effective for small businesses such as:
Videos: Make a video people love to watch, not one that sells a product. Use videos as a way to have fun, show off your company’s culture, background, and story. Plus, videos are more likely to be shared.
Downloadables (Ebooks, Whitepapers, PDFs, etc): These are usually full of extensive content about your industry. You can create valuable content that people really want and deliver an opt-in option to build your email list.
Email: Email subscribers gives you a captive audience and allows you to more closely cultivate your leads into sales.
Why Use Content Marketing?
Today’s consumers hop online for almost everything these days. It’s all about leveraging the people who are already online to grab their attention, educate them, establish trust, and put your name in their head when they are ready to buy.
Almost 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. Basically, that’s everyone.
More information is distributed through blogs and social media than any other form of communication. Your business needs to be a part of that party!
Stop Selling, Start Educating
Content marketing with blogs is about educating your people, not pitching your product.
A plumber publishes “Learn 5 ways you can keep your drain from being clogged.”
A carpet cleaner writes, “Why it’s important to clean your carpets.”
A realtor provides, “A guide to neighborhoods real estate prices.”
And so on.
It’s about presenting your company as the authority in your industry. You helped them out, they see you as an expert, they come back.
Good Clients are happy to give away valuable resources through expert content for customers to creates and establish trust.
As you present yourself as an authority, your customers begin to trust you more.
And so does Google.
The more resourceful the content, the more likely people are to link to it because the content provides value to their readers. These incoming links help build trust with search engines.
Informational, entertaining, and useful content wins against high-pressure sales and big-promises marketing every. single. time. Customers come to you already informed and ready to buy because your messaging already sold them on your product or service.
The proof is always in the numbers: Content marketing for small business generates over 3 times as many leads as traditional advertising. It has 6 times the power of outbound marketing. This helps convert people into leads, and convert those leads into customers.
Start With Your Website
Even if you don’t realize it, the very basics of your website are the beginnings of content marketing.
Never launch a website without content.
Even if you only start your website with the homepage, about us page, and service pages, it still needs to be GREAT content. Once you have a killer website, it’s time to focus on your blog and other content marketing venues.
But What Do I Write About?
It’s better to write something than to not write anything at all. But to make your content work for you, you have to have a plan.
One of the best strategies is to tackle “hot button” topics. These might be things that you don’t necessarily want on your website homepage, but it’s information your customers are searching for.
“As a writer, you try to listen to what others aren’t saying… And write about the silence.”
– N.R. Hart
The Big 5 was created by Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion and is a great launching point to start establishing yourself as an industry expert:
Cost Questions: How much does it cost? What’s the price?
Problems, Issues, Negative Reviews: What’s the most common problem in your industry and how do you solve it?
Comparisons: This vs. That or How do you compare? It’s OK to talk about the competition and provide honest comparisons.
Reviews: These are a powerful driving force for buyers. Become the expert, do the research and be the go-to resource for reviews to help buyers make decisions faster.
Lists: Best of, Top 10, etc. People love lists full of valuable information, so give the people what they want.
Once you’ve covered the Big 5, continue to develop creative content with topics like:
FAQs: What do your current customers or leads ask about the most? Good Clients can identify pain points, and deliver content based on what people are searching.
Tutorials: Show others how to use your product or service more effectively.
Local Guides: Drive traffic to yourself just like a billboard on a highway by creating name recognition.
You don’t have to be in the industry to write about it. A real estate agent could research and publish an article about the best local dog parks or farmer’s markets in the area. This is also a great opportunity to attract incoming links to your website because you’re creating a unique resource that isn’t readily available elsewhere online.
Hundreds of topics with valuable information can refer back to your company website.
Importance of Creating a Content Strategy
In order to reach your full potential with content marketing strategies, you must have a plan. The best way to achieve is by establishing a content calendar.
A content calendar is a simple tool that works to focus your efforts. It’s a written plan to help track what you will write and when. Sticking to this plan is the best way to ensure you are continually pumping out quality content to your readers.
You can even create a Google Sheet to keep up with your plans for the month. Simply pick a topic with your team, decide who will write it, set a post date, and you’re done!
Tips for Writing Great Content for Your Website
First and foremost, your content should be high quality. This is a no-brainer.
Focus on quality over quantity with these best practicing for effective content.
Create a headline that is delicious, seductive, compelling, and impossible to miss. It must be so incredible that people click through without thinking twice about it and catchy enough to stop glazed-over eyes from scrolling past on social media.
Don’t be salesy – remember the point is to educate, not to deliver a weekly sales pitch.
Edit to be sure you don’t mix up “your” and “you’re” and keep all of the there/they’re/theirs straight. Little mistakes make you look unreliable.
Good Clients blog often, but don’t force out poor content just to get it out. Even if you can only do one post a month, that’s fine as long as it is good quality. Better to have one good one that 10 bad ones.
Give it length. One paragraph on a page is pretty much the same as nothing – don’t waste your time on bad content.
Repurpose content once you’ve been at it for a while. Create videos, presentations, or break a longer article into smaller pieces to keep your content working for you without reinventing the wheel.
It’s all important, but the headline, introduction, and conclusion are the money makers. The last word should always be a reward for the reader.
Importance of Integrating SEO into your Content Strategy
Every day, we each open a browser, type in a word or phrase and hit “search”.
At that point, the search engine blasts off and works hard to produce the most relevant information in nanoseconds.
Almost instantly, Google will recognize whether your content earns a spot at the top, or not. Your strategy determines your results.
Make your content work for you by utilizing SEO to gain more visibility in the search engines.
Keywords are crucial. You might tap into what people are already searching for by doing keyword research and integrating keywords and target phrases naturally throughout.
Backlinks are another major part of SEO success. When other websites link to your site, it gains credibility. This places you as the authority in your industry to your customers and to Google.
Without adding SEO to your strategy, you’re just spitting out content that may never be found and won’t be doing anything for you or your business.
By keeping SEO in mind from the beginning and optimizing each piece of content you produce, you will achieve higher rankings in the search engines and gain more visibility to your target audience. This gives you the opportunity to convert the audience you were trying to attract in the first place into satisfied customers!
A good strategy makes all that happen.
Be Patient, It Takes Time
Content marketing isn’t a magic wand and isn’t going to create a line out the door overnight. Once you’ve been in the content game for a while, you can begin to analyze your data to discover what is working (and what is not).
Good Clients track, measure, and evaluate content performance and deliver what their audience responds to most.
Do they prefer list posts over FAQs? Do they engage more with your videos than plain text? Once you have this data, you can capitalize on what is most effective.
The more content you have, the more credibility you create. Credibility creates trust, which leads to brand awareness, increase in traffic, and ultimately, more business. You must give it time, so now is the time to start.
Still Not Sure What to Write?
We can help. At One Thing Marketing, we help our clients create successful content marketing strategies for their business every day. We collaborate to create the plan, brainstorm, and create a content calendar and work together to create content that gets results.
One part founder, two parts bourbon. Dan, our resident SEO genius, works tirelessly to solve all of your online marketing needs. With 10+ years of experience in the field (and even more on the golf course), he translates all the technical mumbo-jumbo into effective strategies that will help your Louisville, KY business succeed.