Content marketing isn’t just a buzzword – but a real tactic that helps small businesses get a competitive edge on the market. We all live in the digital age, which means information is readily available at our fingertips in the form of content: YouTube videos, a blog posts, e-books, newsletters — you name it.
Depending on the piece of content, it can do one of three things to help your small business grow:
- Build brand awareness
- Build trust
- Increase conversions
Want to understand how content marketing can help your small business grow?
Let’s get into it!
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined audience — with the ultimate goal of driving customers to take action!
Instead of pitching your products or services via direct advertising (like Google ads), content marketing allows you to be seen as an authority to your target audience with helpful information that helps them,
- Solve a problem,
- Consider a different approach, or
- Get high quality information about a topic
Content marketing works because it provides value upfront with no hidden fees or costs — except for maybe contact information if its gated content.
Let’s take the example of a mortgage brokerage specializing in refinancing… A custom content marketing strategy might involve publishing and distributing the following piece of content:
- Awareness piece: “Should you refinance in 2023? Mortgage Experts Weigh In” (Blog Post)
- Consideration piece: “How Lisa saved $50,000 by refinancing her home” (Case Study)
- Decision piece: “Refinance Your Loans 2023 | Book a Demo Today” (Landing Page)
Each piece of content helps move the prospect closer to making a decision about refinancing, or not.
And with each piece of content, there will be less and less people, but ultimately that’s why it’s called a funnel.
Content marketing helps weed out the unqualified and brings forth people who you want to work with.
Benefit #1: Improving SEO Rankings
The best thing about content marketing is that it helps bring in SEO traffic.
A good content marketing strategy will incorporate keywords into their content, so that it can more easily be found when people google. Therefore, doing basic keyword research is crucial to any content marketing strategy.
The second most important thing is writing quality content that your target audience can easily engage with.
If you’re ever unsure how your content is performing, looking at Google Analytics can help give you an idea of how engaging your content is.
Google’s “Helpful Content Update” makes it very clear that site’s that promote quality content will have a clear advantage over competitors who resort to black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing.
For every piece of content you publish, ensuring it’s optimized for search engines is a crucial part of your overall content marketing strategy.
Building Brand Reputation and Authority
Building authority in your business niche is all about producing high quality content that positions YOU as the expert. Have you ever read an article that really helped you understand a topic thoroughly, or see things in a completely different way?
We call that “thought leadership” content, and it’s a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. The more you can present yourself as a leader in your industry, helping potential customers with commonly asked questions – the better you look.
More than looking good though – you’re actually providing value to your customers without them ever paying you a dollar. This, in its truest sense, is the heart of content marketing. And it helps build your brand reputation by the number of people who find value in your content.
High value content can take many forms:
- White papers
- Blog Posts
These are just some ideas, but ultimately the content itself needs to be carefully put together either through research, expertise knowledge, or a combination of the two.
Content marketing is based on the reciprocity principle, which basically says, “If you do something nice for me I’ll do something nice for you. I feel obligated to reciprocate.”
Now that you have a sense of how content can help build trust online with visitors who are not only brand-aware, but trust you, we can talk about the biggest perk of content marketing for small businesses:
Getting your prospects to say “Yes.”
People buy from people they know, like, and trust.
I know you’re probably starting to think this sounds like “Sales 101”, and not marketing.
But marketing isn’t that far different than sales; these interactions just happen to take place online.
Getting your prospects to purchase your product or service is much easier if they already,
- Know about you,
- Trust you, and
- Believe you are the best solution for them
Content marketing takes your prospects from a journey of being unaware browsers of the internet to brand advocates (yes, content can be used even after prospects become customers!)
A conversion could be a newsletter subscribe, an e-book download, but usually the conversion most small business owners are looking for is to book a demo or request a free quote.
After that, then it’s up to your salesmanship to seal the deal.
Succeeding Small: Content Marketing for Small Businesses
Succeeding Small helps small businesses get the visibility they deserve. As a full-service agency with copywriters on deck, we ensure content is working to your advantage. Whether its a social media post, a landing page, or an evolving blog – we work with you to decide what piece of content will drive meaningful business results.
Content marketing is here to stay – and if you have questions about how it can help your business grow, we’d love to chat!