Content marketing consists of a combination of created or curated content and specific distribution mechanisms. It’s a powerful means of disseminating information to audiences targeted by small businesses that ultimately drives consumer action and attention. In this digital age, content marketing has become a vital aspect in the success of a small business, allowing them to not only reach out to interested people through a variety of interactive channels, but also generate capitivation within audiences not otherwise privy to their products or services.
It’s about engagement and building trust, mobilizing conversations and creating a means of connection that resonates with target markets. Up to 60 percent of small businesses don’t have an online presence, so content marketing is an interactive way to rise above the competition with greater visibility.
But where to start? Content marketing is admittedly an endless rabbit hole of opportunity, so today we’re going to focus on the key ins and outs for small business success.
Why is content marketing so important?
As opposed to traditional marketing practices such as television and newspaper advertising, content marketing is a non-disruptive approach to engagement that gives target audiences the option to explore a small business’ products or services and dive deeper into their content. It’s gentle and therefore crucial in creating company rapport. This goes hand-in-hand with increasing consumer confidence. Content marketing naturally positions a small business as an authority figure in the industry, with the ability to teach and introduce people to new things.
Enhancing search engine optimization (SEO) is at the center of it all. The goal of SEO is to improve a business’ visibility in online search results and consequently lead more people toward their website and products. It is increased exponentially with strategic content marketing as it includes the keywords, title tags, inbound and outbound links and images that search engines use to grade how high up in the search results a page is to appear. Simply put, good content leads to a higher search ranking which translates into more clicks and more sales.
A lack of content marketing is only doing your great products and services a disservice. Let’s get creating and connect with the audiences you want to engage!
Things to consider
Thorough market research is crucial to the success of content marketing. It identifies who your audience is, where they’re most active online, what kind of content they’re interacting with and therefore the most effective pathway of information distribution. This ultimately leads to the creation of a persona which describes a target market brought together by validated commonalities in wants and needs as opposed to assumptions. Learn from your audience before they learn from you.
2. Industry marketing trends
Alongside research surrounding your desired audiences, it’s equally as important to understand the marketing trends of your industry and even the ones outside your niche. The result is up-to-date knowledge of market gaps and opportunities, popular dissemination mechanisms and a plethora of inspiration. Look for things that your business can do better, or create something completely original.
Unfortunately, there isn’t really an all-encompassing kind of content marketing that can nail sales, rapport, interactivity and communication all at once on one avenue of distribution. Instead, this needs to be achieved through a variety of approaches and mediums. Set goals and targets that you want to reach with each piece of content so you can develop a holistic plan of attack. For example: a Facebook post that leads audiences to an e-store and a blog post that tries to teach and inform the audience about a business speciality. Making these goals measurable via engagement statistics is the key.
Effective types of content marketing for small businesses
Social media posts
Social media is the leading means of consumer engagement within the realm of content marketing with almost 60% of the entire world population using at least one digital social platform every day. Which one of these platforms are best for your business? It all comes down to who your audience is and what social media they mostly interact with, whether that be Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube or an ever-growing wave of others.
With such a varied web of platforms, your business is able to share content in the form of videos, photos and text, all of which can draw comments, likes and shares. Think tutorials, testimonials, links to your website, interactive content like surveys and rich materials such as infographics. You’re even able to create interactive e-stores on many. Best of all, most provide thorough diagnostic tools that allow you to be constantly reviewing and analyzing the engagement levels of each post - vital knowledge for future content creation. No matter the kind of small business you are, the power and draw of social media content marketing cannot be understated.
Blog posts allow small businesses to teach and inform audiences, establishing a sense of industry dominance whilst boosting SEO simultaneously. Keywords drawn from the article cycle into search results, potentially picking up traffic looking for information that would have otherwise never stumbled across a certain brand. This continues to twist and turn throughout the search cycle for years to come to foster interest that is far from transient.
A call-to-action is a key aspect of an effective blog post which may come in the form of a link leading to an e-store, informative ebook, survey, email form or special deal. These all politely push audiences toward some kind of action, whether that be a sale or to sign up to a newsletter for continued correspondence. Post links to these blogs on your social media accounts to drive traffic to and fro for some intertwining content action!
The digital form of the trusty seminar, a webinar is a virtual meeting that gives small businesses a phenomenal opportunity to form an interactive, real-time back and forth with target audiences and even other businesses. These mainly come in the form of video presentations and feature open discussion, workshops and training which, beyond the live event, can be shared as a video for future interested parties. After the last few years, most people have become comfortable and accustomed to virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, and webinars fit into that digital engagement avenue effectively.
The small business’ webinar presents them as a knowledgeable industry leader and one willing to communicate, teach and, most importantly, learn from their audiences. While many webinars organized by large, established businesses are one-way communications, small businesses can benefit by opening up the floor, giving those interested a chance to ask questions and involve themselves with the processes of your company. This works to form loyalty and an enduring relationship between business and consumer. Implement social media to advertise a webinar and drive traffic towards the event.
Create a content calendar
An effective and ever-relevant content marketing strategy is one that doesn’t stop creating content. The key is to spread out content across multiple mediums and platforms, planning week by week, month by month what posts are required and what needs to be done. Reactionary posts are great, but not sustainable in the long run. Look ahead at certain dates that are important to your business like launches, changes and even holidays.
You need to meet target audiences in the middle by not overloading them with content or offering peanuts every now and then (unless you sell peanuts), so create a calendar that helps you disseminate your offerings holistically. It might even be worth looking into a copywriter to keep up with the need for relevant content.
Keep your small business at the forefront
Content marketing is no small or easy task, but the benefits for your small business are immense, improving SEO, building trust and rapport and ultimately increasing sales alongside a loyal customer base. Get your foot in the door to a world waiting to discover your products and services right now.
You might make a few mistakes, but it’s all worth it in the end. You will emerge with a small business ready to make a difference in your industry.