What Is Content Marketing, and Is It Right for Your Brand?
Maybe you have never heard of content marketing, and you've most certainly come across it. This is the type of marketing that brands of all sizes do in lieu of or in addition to traditional advertising. Content marketing comes in a variety of forms. While the majority of content marketing is developed by the brand, unlike traditional advertising, it doesn’t openly promote the brand. Instead, it is intended to deliver value to clients in order to pique their interest in the benefits of your services. The Oxford Dictionary defines content marketing as:
A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy for acquiring, engaging, and retaining clients. Content marketing is much more than just videos, blogs, and social media updates. There are lots of value-added content kinds to pick from that will provide your clients with a broad and fascinating content experience. We will get into those later in this post.
Let's look at some of the reasons why content marketing should be a component of your small business marketing strategy:
Content Marketing Delivers a Higher ROI
As a new entrepreneur, you most likely will not have the funds or resources to pay for costly traditional advertising, and standing out among the thousands of commercials that clients see every day is a massive task in and of itself. This is why content marketing is a more cost-effective method for a business with limited resources.
One of the most crucial things to remember, though, is that content marketing is a long-term plan for helping your small business expand sustainably. While commercials can be helpful in getting new clients quickly, content marketing is far more efficient in fostering loyal clients. This sort of inbound marketing saves you money in the long run because clients can share your material with their networks, providing you with access to a broader brand audience.
There are numerous forms of content marketing. Helpful articles, social media stories, and blogs are all low-cost and affordable ways to begin developing brand awareness. According to HubSpot, in their 2018 State of Inbound Report, they saw that “82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI in their Inbound Marketing strategy.” While content marketing may appear to take a lot of time and work at first, it is well worth it in the long run.
Content Marketing Builds Trust in Your Brand
As a new business, it is critical to establish a brand image and gain the trust of your clients. One of the greatest ways to accomplish this is through the content you create!
Because you control the message clients take away from your marketing, content marketing makes your brand appear more human than paid advertisements. According to Forrester, “68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online.” Upland says, “Branded Content is 22x more engaging than display ads.” This should make it clear that your content can do much more than only educate your clients; it can also foster authentic relationships that allow them to entirely trust your business.
Nobody knows your small business better than you, so developing content that communicates your brand values should be simple now that you've identified them!
You Can Use Your Clients in Your Content Marketing Strategy
What if I told you that one of the best ways to create content is to let your clients do it for you? Say what? Let me elaborate for a moment. By letting users generate content for you through social media posts and reviews, you are leveraging user-generated content or UGC.
User-generated content can take numerous forms, ranging from Instagram photos of your clients using your items to client testimonials on your website. When your clients post on social media, you can repost it to your story to show prospective clients how much your biggest fans adore your products. Giving these clients particular recognition fosters special and deep relationships with them by demonstrating that you are listening to them!
Reviews and testimonials are another excellent sources of UGC content for eCommerce businesses, but honestly, it helps any business. Your prospective clients may be hesitant to try your services at first if you are a new business, especially if it’s a possible significant expenditure. Diana Kaemingk of Qualtrics says that “91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.”
As you can see from those statistics that, client reviews should be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Showcasing your previous clients' positive experiences becomes a great way to ease prospects’ concerns with genuine feedback.
Content Marketing Helps Your SEO
In today’s crowded marketplace, it is hard to be seen as a legitimate business without having an online presence. I have taken numerous phone calls from people looking to start a business who needed a website to be able to get a bank loan. While many of these businesses might only need a simple web presence, others need something much more robust. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in your digital marketing strategy.
Everyone seems to be talking about boosting or improving their SEO these days, but it can be challenging to determine the right techniques and strategies for your small business as a new brand. Fortunately, this is another instance when great content is vital.
SEO and content marketing go hand-in-hand; you can't effectively perform one without the other. Creating a list of useful keywords, for example, is pointless unless you use them somewhere on your website, such as a blog post, landing page, or geographic landing page. On the other hand, you can't create high-ranking content to increase organic traffic without a strategic keyword analysis. In fact, the most effective SEO approach was discovered to be relevant content production. It's obvious that content is the SEO weapon your small business requires.
You can increase organic search traffic by writing blog posts, articles, or obtaining backlinks from partner or companion brands that include the keywords you want to rank for. This makes it easier for clients to find you because you'll be ranked higher on the search engine's results page (SERPs). Again, this is an affordable and low-cost strategy to help more clients find your brand when they're looking for your services.
Present Yourself as the Expert You Are
One of the primary and hugely beneficial benefits of a good content marketing strategy is that it is simple to update. While you may not have the time or resources to alter your website design, you can easily publish new material on a regular basis.
A content marketing plan will allow you to test and measure all sorts of content types. By measuring what works best, you can tailor your strategy to your target audience's tastes and ensure you're providing actual value to each prospect and client.
7 Content Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses
As we have already discussed, content marketing is an effective and inexpensive way to reach prospective clients and serve your current clientele. Often, small businesses will get stuck trying to figure out how to produce content on a long-term basis. Here are seven ways to use content marketing to grow and engage your audience.
Write Blog Posts
Blogs are the first thing that most business owners think of when they think about copywriting. They're everywhere, but that's because they still work. You can reach new and existing clients with content as long as you provide value in your blog posts.
Blogs have to be helpful and, ideally, entertaining in some way in order to be effective. Don’t be afraid to let your personality come through. For example, if you are like me and a phrase may trigger a song lyric, then put a meme or gif of that in the post. You can also consider referencing it in the post. The bottom line is that blogs shouldn't read like a Fortune 500 press release unless you are going for.
The goal of any blog post is to provide the reader with something to interact with, whether they follow your content or find you through a social media post or a search engine.
Also, keep in mind that the goal of the post is not to sell but to provide value to your visitors and promote yourself as the friendly neighborhood Spiderman or expert.
Video is becoming a more dominant media online. Video helps keep viewers engaged and interested. It is also a great way to be seen on a variety of devices and platforms. Hiring a professional agency like Rocketwheel can help kickstart your video marketing efforts.
Mine Social Media for Ideas
If you want your content marketing to appeal to prospects and clients alike, you first have to understand their concerns. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Quora are teeming with groups and subgroups that might assist you in locating your target audience.
You can learn more about your potential client’s pain points by investing a little time and effort. Then, through your content, you can address those. While you can directly respond to people's questions on social media, you can also extend the topic and conversation to your own site.
Infographics, like video, are a wonderful technique to communicate a plethora of information in a matter of minutes. Infographics might be as simple as a chart illustrating a point you're attempting to convey. You can also make them look extremely sophisticated by including eye-catching visuals and embedded links. They are effective for visually introducing a new topic to your audience or for emphasizing a point.
Let Your Clients Help Create Content
One of the best things you can do is to utilize testimonials and case studies to bring the focus back on your clients. Case studies are especially beneficial since they present a tale that your audience should be able to relate to. They also highlight your goods or service without appearing like you're bragging.
Refresh and Reuse Old Content
You don't have to start from scratch every time you publish a blog post or design an infographic. Instead, convert existing information into a new format. You can create an infographic from slides from a presentation you made to a client. You may even make them into a video with some voiceover content.
Take Advantage of FAQs
Your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section is another great location to look for content ideas. You can think about questions you are asked, talk to your sales, or customer service people to find out what concerns come up frequently. Then, dedicate a blog article or a dedicated page on your site to each question.
The internet continues to shape and change how prospects find you and how you find them. While there is always some new technology or marketing strategy that promises to disrupt the status quo, content marketing remains one of the best ways to grow and sustain a small business online.
Contact me or any one of us at Cube Creative Design to discuss your content marketing strategy and how we can help your small business grow!