According to the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of all companies in the U.S. use some form of content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy. So what exactly is content marketing and why should it matter to small business owners?
Content marketing educates.
Content marketing is another opportunity for you as a small business owner to educate your customers and fans about your business—regardless of whether you deliver a product or a service.
Are there complicated nuances to your business? Explain them in a video or blog post. Does your product have an interesting back story behind it? Share it. Do you have raving customers that love your service? Invite them to talk about it on a podcast or post their reviews on your website.
Your lead purpose in content marketing is to attract and keep customers by providing some sort of value.
Content marketing builds brand awareness.
Content marketing is, in essence, brand journalism. You are creating a media outlet for yourself outside the traditional channels. You can not only build valuable, engaging content but also a chance to create the voice of your brand.
Content marketing builds brand loyalty.
People can simply by-pass ads on the TV or radio and throw away snail mail advertisements. Content marketing is a way to communicate with prospects and customers without pitching or selling your product directly. By providing useful, educational, clever or entertaining content, you’re giving your fans another reason to appreciate your brand and share it with their friends, co-workers and families.
So how do I start?
Content marketing takes many forms. It can be anything from blogs to videos to podcasts to infographics—or all of the above! The key is to choose whatever medium(s) that best suits your brand and provides the best opportunity to reach your customers.
The first question to ask yourself is ‘what are my goals?’ Do you want to raise awareness about your brand? Convert an audience to paying customers? Convert loyal customers to evangelists for your business?
Just like the concept of pivoting, think about your content creation and curation as a series of tests to help you determine what works and what doesn’t for your business. A great place to start as you explore options is The Content Marketing Institute—they have a lot of great how-to’s and educational tools for you. We are also strong advocates of observing what other businesses are doing—whether they’re in the same industry or not. Their content can be a starting point as you begin to think about what you want to create. Find the things you love and that inspire you, and take it from there.
Go get ‘em, small biz.
© 2015, StreetShares Inc. All rights reserved.