Did you know that content marketing is a very effective part of an overall marketing strategy?
Sadly, many people not only aren’t using this strategy to help grow their business, but don’t even know what it is. Or worse … they spend hard-earned money and time on content marketing but are doing it wrong!
Here’s a run-down on the basics of content marketing, what it is and how it can help you grow your business.
Content marketing is simply the act of providing valuable information to customers and potential customers. You can provide content marketing via your website, publications, social media, pictures, audio, podcasts, webinars and video.
The idea behind content marketing is simple. You provide knowledge and information to people who might be interested in the product or service you provide, without this content being directly sales related.
Content marketing helps to establish you as an authority in your field of expertise, which in turn has many benefits. One major benefit is that it gives people confidence to trust and buy from you. In addition, you make it easy for others to want to share links to your content and recommend you to their contacts. In turn, this may boost your site in the search engine rankings too.
A simple example of content marketing is a plant and seed website that provides articles on their site explaining how to grow vegetables and flowers. If you have questions about how to grow tomatoes, for example, and a website answers those questions and sells tomato plants, you are more likely to buy your tomato plants from that site.
That’s a very basic, straight-forward example, but there’s so much more you can do too.
Good content marketing is not an advertisement for people to buy your products. It is separate from advertising or sales calls to action you might create. Rather, it is helpful information that would appeal to a likely customer of yours.
If you have a website, content marketing is easy to start. Creating a blog on your website or a section for “how to” articles or tips is a great way to begin. If you don’t have a website, creating a customer newsletter is another way to begin. (But you should still get a website up-and-running a.s.a.p.!)
To begin, make a list of ideas of topics that might be of interest to people who use your product or service, whether or not they currently buy from you. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, begin by thinking of the most common topics you get questions about. (Relevant to your niche, of course).
Then create your content. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have time to write the content yourself – or if good writing is simply not your forte – don’t do it yourself. It’s easy to find a professional content writer who can write the content for you. The cost of good content and a great strategy are usually outweighed by the benefits and higher profits you’ll experience.
There are essentially two types of content. The first is “forever” content, meaning that it never gets old or needs to be removed. Those articles on how to grow tomatoes are a good example of forever content. New people will continue to seek out that information. Okay, so they may not last “forever” … but the information within them doesn’t change too much over time.
The second type of content is the type that needs to constantly be “fresh”. This content includes seasonal information and tips as well as articles that might be related to items in the news that are of interest to your target market. Since this content goes stale it must be replaced regularly.
You can choose to use one or both types on your site. Just keep in mind that if you choose to use content that goes stale, it is important to update it regularly. A mix of the two types of content works well for most businesses and is my preferred style.
Once you’ve got your content ready, it’s important for people to know it’s out there. Post links to blogs or articles via social media to drive traffic to your site. Also, make use of keyword rich content to increase your rankings in the search engines. Announce your blog or articles via any correspondence with current customers or advertisements.
Next, encourage your customers, subscribers, social media contacts, colleagues and team members to share links to your content too.
Content marketing allows you to provide valuable information to people who are likely to use products and services. It is also one of the most inexpensive and valuable marketing tools in your toolbox. So if you don’t already use strategy this within your small business, make sure you get onto it soon.
Donna-Marie is an award-winning Entrepreneur, Author and Content Marketing Specialist. Through her business, Jacaranda Business Support Services, she has been helping other small businesses to grow since 1998, with a knack for teaching systems that allow business owners to increase profits while working less.