Have you ever wondered why people find things they search on the internet without stress?
Have you wondered who puts these stuff on the internet and why they do?
If you’ve been there, then welcome to content marketing for small business.
This is one of the most simple and detailed blog post you’ll ever read on content marketing.
Not only are you going to learn about content marketing, you’ll learn how to use Content marketing to to drive sales and attain your goals.
What is Content Marketing for a Small Business?
Interestingly, whether you’re a small business or medium business or even if you’re not interested in business, the definition of content marketing is still the same.
Also, this definition is regardless of whether you’re in Nigeria, South Africa or United States however strategies may be slightly different.
Content Marketing as Strategic Marketing
So generally, Content marketing is regarded as a strategic marketing approach focused on building quality, useful or relevant and consistent content on the internet (could be social media, your blog, website etc) in order to attract a well-defined audience that will help you drive a profitable customer action.
Content marketing typically is a long-term strategy aimed at building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them quality content that is very relevant to them consistently.
Over time, when customers decide to make a purchase, their loyalty already lies with you so they will prefer to buy your product over others.
The story of Content, a documentary by CMI tells a lot more about its history and how it became a widespread term for the new form of marketing..
Key Elements of Content Marketing
From our definition, the three key characteristics of successful content are Quality, Usefulness, and Consistency. This three are very important while building a successful content marketing strategy.
Let’s talk about each of these elements in details:
For a successful content marketing strategy, the quality of your content has to be really high. This will not only set you aside from the other people writing same content, people will read your content based on the quality of the stuff you produce.
Usefulness and Relevance
It’s not just important you create high quality content, it’s important your content should be relevant or useful to your audience.
So if you’re writing a high quality blog post on electronics while your audience is more interested in food and cooking, that content may not be useful to them.
Even when you provide high quality and useful content, if you don’t produce the content on a consistent basis, your readers may lose interest over time and move onto the next person.
So the first step to a successful content marketing strategy is creating a high quality, useful content on a consistent basis.
Content Marketing from a Marketer’s Perspective
As a content marketer, my goal is to build websites and provide digital marketing to businesses. This is why I’m writing this content on my blog, Social Media, making YouTube videos and creating Free Courses on blogging and marketing.
As more people get to consume my content, some of them will hire me to build their websites or for other marketing services.
At the end of the day, my reader gets value from the free content I create while I get monetary value for the services I render to them
Now, in a nutshell, that is a summary of what content marketing means to a content marketer.
The more people see, consume and gain value from your content, the more they are more likely to buy your services/product or recommend them.
Types of Content
While there are many different kinds of content, based on the results they create, some are more popularly used than the others.
Here are some of the most popular content types you can use for your content marketing strategy: Audio, Blog Posts, Case Studies, E-Books, Email Marketing, Infographics, Podcasts, Whitepaper, Videos.
Difference between Content Marketing and Other Marketing forms
There are over 159 different kinds of marketing but one thing that stands content marketing apart is not just the platform used, but the strategy.
For instance while most other forms of marketing focuses on selling the product to the customer, content marketing emphasizes on creating value to the prospect before sales.
With content marketing, instead of driving customers to your landing pages based on what you’re selling, you first provide value to your customers before selling to them.
And why is this important for a small business?
One thing about marketing is that people don’t like you to sell to them directly. They want to buy when they have to, not because you’re advertising to them.
So instead of selling directly, as a small business, you inspire people to buy from you after you’ve already created enough value for them based on the content you share.
This content saves as incentives, giving them reasons to choose you over others.
Benefits of Content Marketing.
Content Marketing holds a lot of benefits for you and your small business. Especially if you’re running your business on a budget.
If you’re running a bigger business, the benefits of Content Marketing becomes even more noticeable as it helps you build a loyal and engaging audience for your brand.
The following are some other important benefits of Content Marketing to your small business…
Content Marketing Creates Value for your Audience
Content marketing is important because it creates huge value for your audience, your prospect and for you, the content marketer.
How does this work?
Check out this scenario…
Let’s say you want to know what Content marketing is all about so you search for the term, “Content Marketing for Small Business” on your web browser…
Google brings out the link for this post and some other posts in the search results page and then you click and read it.
After reading the post, you see links to other related posts and you read them because you find them interesting.
During the process, you noticed I’ve written a lot about content marketing on my blog and most of the articles make sense to you. So the next time you need anything on that topic, you visit my blog.
Over time, you subscribe to my email newsletter because you want notification about new blog posts.
Throughout this period, you keep reading my content and because the stuff i post continuously solves your problem, you begin to see me as a very credible person.
After a while, you or your friend needs stuff that’s related to the services i offer, say WordPress Website Design or Content Writing for instance.
He tells you about it and immediately most likely I’ll be one of the first people that comes to your mind. And you link us up for business.
Now, this scenario wouldn’t happen if I didn’t create a relationship with you and get my brand to your face by providing value for you in the first place.
So one thing content marketing does for a small business is to change the whole marketing focus from the marketer to the buyer.
Instead of going after your prospect directly, you attract them to you, create value for them, and then make a sell in return.
Content Marketing Gets You a Well Streamlined Audience
Have you ever sent cold emails only to get a very few replies in return? Content marketing can help fix this by getting you a more receptive audience.
Unlike cold emails, the content you create sends you a specific kind of audience actively looking for keywords related to the content you’re creating, which is also relevant to them.
It is easier to sell to this kind of audience because they are already interested in the content you provide on your blog which is also related to the services or product you offer.
Content Marketing projects your brand as an industry Expert
The more people get access to your high quality content, the more their perception of you increases.
The fact you’re creating credible and useful content consistently makes them begin to see you as a more credible expert for their needs in regards to the subject matter.
Based on this, they can more easily buy from you, refer you to their friends or prefer your opinion on issues surrounding the industry.
Content Marketing Builds Trust
One of the key characteristics of the internet is that there are millions Marketers out there and sometimes it might get really difficult to know who to listen to or trust.
Being that one of the important elements that drives marketing and sales is the KLT factor (Know, Like and Trust).
For a person to buy from you, they have to know you, like and trust your brand to deliver the value they want.
So how do you improve your KLT as a small business?
As a content creator, when you share high quality, useful and relevant content on a consistent basis, you’re indirectly increasing your KLT factor.
It’s very simple. The more a potential client sees your content, the more they know you.
The more the content you share proves useful to them, the more they like, trust and keep coming back to you.
How to Create Content that drives Sales
Selling is one of the biggest goals of content marketing. Unfortunately, a lot of content end up generating zero sales.
The following are strategies that will help you create content that drives sales…
Create Diverse Content Formats
Since different people are going to read your content, some of them will prefer it in other format besides the one you’re popular with.
Instead of focusing on the content type you’re most familiar with, creating other content forms like Video Content, Podcasts, Infographics, Whitepapers etc can help you keep those other users that prefer other content format coming to your platform..
That said, one of the most important content marketing forms you should note is the video content.
Because video content is becoming very popular for businesses. In fact, 76 percent of Marketers say video has helped them increase sales.
Again, creating or converting your existing content into other forms also helps you in reaching out to a new audience when you share on those platforms.
Be Strategic With Social Media Marketing
Don’t just share on social media, be platform specific. Build your social media marketing with a focus on social media platforms that have your target audience.
Target sub groups, forums and niche specific groups and hash tags,on social media platforms.
With tools like Google trends and social media hashtags for instance you’ll have access to information that is trending in your industry which people are already engaging with.
You want to create social media content related to these and share them with your audience.
This strategy can work for most social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.
Instead of writing whatever you feel like, keying into these trending topics can help you drive a new set of readers.
Answer industry related questions.
Listening to questions people are asking in your industry can give you a clue to the form of content that would be most appreciated.
Also, platforms like Quora where people ask industry related questions can be used as an inspiration for content that will be relevant to your audience.
Focus on Creating SEO Optimized Content
With the overwhelming need to create more content in less time, you will be tempted to create content that has no SEO relevance just so you can provide a continuous flow of content for your audience.
Most times this is not a great strategy for your business. Especially where you’re a beginner.
You want to drive a decent number of organic traffic to your blog. Any content that is not SEO optimized content will not help you do that.
To drive organic traffic from the search engine, one of your surefire strategy will be creating Search Engine Optimized Content for your website.
Doing this will demand that you research your relevant keywords based on your goals, work on creating content that will include these keywords then fix your meta tags and other SEO essentials before publishing the post.
Have it in mind that SEO sometimes can be very extensive as you will still work on building back links and improving SEO of the page even after publication.
Collaborate With Other Thought Leaders.
This is one of the most overlooked ways to create content that drive sales.
As a beginner, collaborating with established thought leaders can expose your content to a new audience, improve your authority as a brand and get you more customers in return.
For a start you can create a round up post that features leading authorities in your niche and their opinion in a topical area, reach out to them via emails and politely ask them to share with their audience.
Done well, this can get most of them to share the opinion with their established audience while getting you in the spotlight.
You can also collaborate with other bloggers via guest posts, cross promotions etc.
This strategy will expose your brand to your collaborator’s audience and vice versa while also getting you some new prospects in the process.
Focus On Your Readers
Above all, one of the most important content marketing strategy you need to create an effective content for your small business is to focus on your audience.
Focusing on them allows you to get into their head, find their problems and what they are most likely looking for then work on solving this with your content.
The more you provide a good solution for your audience’s problems, the more your content gets appreciated while you in turn position your self as their preferred business partner.
How to Create Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing Strategy involves the process of planning, publishing and sharing frequent content that inspires your audience towards taking a specific action.
The following are steps that will help you create a robust Content Marketing Strategy…
Set up Content Marketing Goals
What do you want to achieve for your small business with content marketing?
This is a very important question that will shape your content marketing strategy.
As soon as this question is sorted, you want to work on building your content marketing strategy around these goals.
Create a Vision Map
Setting up a successful content marketing strategy will also involve creating a vision for what you want to achieve with your marketing effort, how you’ll go about creating content based on the vision, the platforms and methods you’ll use in sharing the content in order to drive the specific out comes.
Read more about content marketing strategy here.
Measure Your Outcomes
As a content marketer, one of the best ways to understand the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy is to measure your outcome over a specified time.
So after a certain period of time, you want to measure your content marketing results based on your goals.
Where you have been able to successfully achieve your goal, you find out areas that needs improvement as you work on repeating the strategy.
Where certain content marketing strategy has failed to yield results, you will want to audit the process and find out the cause of the failure.
After that you can work on fixing the mistakes and editing or trying a different strategy altogether.
Don’t be afraid to change your strategy if you have to. At certain times, to evolve a workable strategy, you will definitely have to try a few.an then stick on what works, as you continue to adapt that to fit in with current realities at intervals
Content Marketing VS. Social Media Marketing:
Comparing Content Marketing to Social Media Marketing can look both confusing and very similar.
Although the aim of both platforms is to get your content across to a wider audience, one major difference between them is that while you can publish almost any length of content on your website, there’s a limit to what you can publish on most the social media platforms.
With Twitter for instance, you’re limited to about 140 characters for each tweet, meaning you should be able to say something really reasonable within 140 characters if you’re going to create an effective content.
Another peculiar feature of social media content is that most social media users generally expect to consume far less content compared to what they would on a blog for instance.
So the social media content marketer is left with sharing links from blog posts with just a few text content or just a few minute video some times.
Even though publishing strategic, useful and high quality content consistently on any platform whether your website or social media can be regarded as content marketing, you have to realize that mainstream content marketing focuses specifically on your websites.
Social media marketing on the other hand focuses on using the social media to create a wider reach for your content, improve engagement that can drive specific outcomes.
Interestingly, both your website and Social Media Platforms can be used to drive your content marketing outcomes. But, the major twist is that you can’t use the exact same content marketing strategy for both your website and social media.
In conclusion, as a small business without a deep pocket to compete with big brands in the industry, you can use content marketing to drive sales and increase your profit on a budget.