Small businesses are looking for ways to get noticed but many underestimate the importance of producing quality content. Content marketing in conjunction with SEO is a powerful small business marketing strategy. By writing, publishing, and distributing content that displays your expertise, you build credibility, authority and trust before trying to sell anything to those you wish to work with.
Small businesses should invest in content marketing. When you create and publish content that has value, you stand out from your competition. Your business becomes a resource for quality, educational information that will help potential customers make a purchase decision.
If you don’t believe in the importance of content marketing to your business, take a look at these statistics:
- 70% of people would rather learn about a company through content rather than advertising
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content
- 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it
Given all of these positive aspects of including content marketing into your marketing efforts, only 50% of small businesses with 20 or fewer employees report doing any content marketing.
What does this mean? There is ample opportunity for your businesses to get ahead of the competition with an investment in content marketing.
Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Increases your digital footprint
Adding more quality content to your website helps to create a larger digital footprint. Every page that you create for your website gives the search engine one more page to index and serve to your potential customers. The more quality content you have that helps them, the more likely they will choose your business when they wish to buy.
2. Generates leads more cost-effectively
One of the most important content marketing benefits is generating inbound leads by attracting your ideal buyers. Content marketing costs about 62% less than traditional marketing tactics but it generates about 3 times as many leads.
If you understand what your audience needs, your content will attract potential customers when it is presented during a search. When a visitor finds your content, they will take action if the content provided was captivating enough that they would like to see more.
Even though it can be time-consuming, content marketing is one of the best investments you can make in your business.
3. Builds trust and awareness
Sharing your expertise also builds the trust of your audience. Your content should provide advice, education and useful solutions freely and without a sales pitch. When you create and share high-quality content, you are seen as an authority in your niche. You are now the expert that can help them solve whatever problem they have. Relationships built on trust are more likely to move beyond free advice into a profitable relationship for your business.
Display your expertise in your field and write useful content that can help people overcome a problem or challenge. You will build your E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness), one of the guidelines Google uses to assess whether your content is valuable to readers.
4. Provides the foundation for SEO
Without content, there is nothing to optimize. In order to rise in the search engine results, you need to create content that offers value and shares helpful information with your ideal customer. When your content satisfies the intent of the search so it answers their questions, your content will attract them to you.
Ranking on the first page further strengthens the trust relationship between your audience and your brand. But generating traffic through organic SEO requires that you keep your content relevant, informative and up to date.
5. Increases your social media following
As your content gets promoted and shared, you can connect with people who have shared your content or commented on your post. This gives you an opportunity to answer other questions and become a trusted source for helpful information. When the need arises, you become the go-to business to help solve their biggest problem
Posting your content on your social media channels will provide customers a way to interact with your business. Your audience will want to like, comment and share content they find interesting. And they are more likely to like your page or subscribe to your channel if you are consistently giving them quality information.
6. Delivers a high ROI
With an effective content marketing strategy, there are many ways you will see a positive return on your investment. Your business will enjoy increased leads, higher brand visibility, better brand reputation and increased inbound traffic.
7. Provides long-term visibility
Unlike paid ads, content marketing is in it for the long-haul. When you run a PPC campaign, once you turn it off, your visibility goes with it. When your business ranks in the organic search engine results, it is there for a longer period of time. Your position in the search results is not predicated on your ad budget. But you do need to keep the content up-to-date so it remains relevant.
8. Delivers value with no strings attached
Giver’s gain is the concept of helping people grow their business without an ulterior motive. Content marketing takes the giver’s gain concept of networking to a higher level. You help people freely without expecting anything in return. This makes your business approachable and the one most people will feel more comfortable with when they do decide to choose a vendor.
What are the content marketing challenges?
Small business owners are very busy so I’d be remiss if I didn’t also spell out the challenges of content marketing. But keep in mind that there are ways to get help rather than go it alone.
1. Defining your goals for content marketing
What do you want to achieve with your content marketing activity? Do you want to drive more leads, increase traffic to your website, gain more visibility or build trust and awareness of your brand? Your answer will drive the type of content you will need to produce.
2. Narrowing your target audience
In order to succeed in content marketing, you have to focus on a specific target audience in order to create the right content at the right time to help them make a buying decision. If you can intimately understand your audience’s challenges, you can be found when they most need you.
3. Having enough time and resources to produce the content
Creating quality content takes time. But if this is important to you, carve out the time in your schedule or find someone who can do the initial writing for you. Then all you will need to do is review the content for publication.
4. Creating a content plan
A content plan provides the road map for what type of content to produce and when. Laying out the content with details such as publish date and media type to align with your ideal client helps you keep on track. This is one area you just can’t wing it and hope for the best.
5. Writing content with focus and clarity
If you create posts around a single or narrow topic, you will find that you can create more focused content that is easy to consume. Even though the trend is to write long-form content, shorter posts can still work to get you more visibility. Then you can develop some evergreen content that will provide long-term visibility for your particular expertise.
6. Knowing where to promote your content
You can create the best content, but if you don’t promote it, it will stay hidden. But where to promote it is the question. A local business can promote content on its Google Business Profile. Other options are promoting it on your Facebook page or on your LinkedIn profile or company page. Knowing where your target will most likely see your content helps you determine where to post.
7. Producing content consistently
Consistency in publishing is probably the hardest thing to do. Set realistic expectations around your content delivery. Creating content once or twice a month that excites and informs your audience is a good schedule for most small businesses. Look for other opportunities to share your expertise through interviews or guest posts. They also help you gain precious backlinks.
8. Measuring the effectiveness of your content
Measuring any marketing activity is always hard. But there are ways to do it. Using Google Analytics or Google Search Console, you can get information on what content is being seen. Both provide data that can help you see if your website is gaining more visitors, what pages and posts on your website are most trafficked and which channels are referring visitors to your website.
Seeing the effects of content marketing on your business takes time but you should notice if there are positive outcomes from having done the work.
Is it worth it for your business?
Content marketing benefits definitely outweigh the challenges. Proving your expertise through the content you produce is an investment you should make. Don’t wait to get started on this effective marketing strategy. Work with someone who can help you get clarity, overcome the challenges and help your business become more visible and valuable to your target customers.