In case you haven’t already noticed, content marketing is now all the rage for businesses of all sizes, and especially small businesses.
According to a survey by BusinessBolts.com, three-quarters of small businesses are engaged in content marketing, and 74% said they plan to increase their content marketing budget in the next year. The study also says small businesses are finding benefits in traffic, search rankings and brand building in exchange for minimal effort.
So what exactly is content marketing? This is the best definition we’ve come across: content marketing is the ability of a business to create and communicate educational information to existing and potential customers in a meaningful way that drives trust and creates a connection.
As you can see, the main goal of content marketing is to educate rather than sell; by positioning yourself and your brand as an authority aiming to educate, the selling is far more subtle, and this approach will build trust in the long-run.
So how are small businesses using content marketing? Most have been using a combination of social media, articles, newsletters, blogs, videos, case studies, white papers, webinars and the list goes on.
As a small business owner, you may be wondering how to balance producing quality and relevant content that appeals to both the search engines and your audiences. Here are some great tips that will improve your SEO and expand your brand’s reach through content marketing:
Know your audience: Understanding and defining your target audience is the cornerstone of effective communication. Research your audience, know their likes, preferences and needs. By taking the time to get to know your audience, you will be better able to engage them with content they are actually interested in.
Demonstrate your expertise: Do you know everything there is to know about car alarms? Then let the world know! You want to be able to show existing customers, and prospective customers, that you are an expert in your respected field. Always write about topics that relate to your niche and profession, and if you don’t know something as well as you would like, don’t be afraid to do some research.
Make your content shareable: Always make sure that your content includes ‘like’ and share buttons, the easier you make it to share your content, the more shares you will get! Also, always try to include images such as infographics to increase your shares; have you ever noticed how much more inclined you are to share an image vs. just text alone?
Onsite SEO set up: Make sure that you tag all relevant key words to make your content easier to find.
Make an editorial calendar: Content marketing is a sustained effort, in order to make it easier to produce timely and relevant content, try creating an editorial calendar. Mapping out your ideas ahead of time will allow you to commit to your efforts.
Define how you will measure ROI: Knowing if your efforts are effective is critical to your content marketing success. Start with defining the metrics you will use to measure, for example, will you track new leads, subscribers, ‘likes’ and shares, and overall brand awareness? Mashable featured a great article on tracking content marketing success a few months ago, read it here.
Now that you have some great tips to help you with your content marketing, it’s important to keep on this in mind: like PR, content marketing can best be thought of as a marathon, not a sprint!
Content marketing is a long-term investment, one that businesses should be prepared to commit themselves for the long haul. And like PR, you may not immediately see the benefits of content marketing; you’ll only fully realize the value of content marketing through consistent and sustained effort.