If you are currently looking for ways to improve your online presence and digital marketing strategies, then you must include content marketing in your marketing plan.
There are so many ways to advertise your business, products, and services, but most simply can’t match the power of content marketing.
Informative articles, blog posts, social media content, videos, images, infographics, and many more are only several of the many options available.
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay called “Content is King”. Even when the Internet was only starting to become popular, one of the world’s most successful businessmen already believed in the value of producing great content.
Decades later, content being king still remains true.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you operate. Whether you are a plumber, home builder, interior designer, tree service contractor, or even if you do handyman work, putting impressive and useful content out there can definitely help you get your brand known.
Content marketing, when done right, will definitely bring you more leads that can eventually become paying customers.
What is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, useful content should be at the core of your marketing.
While traditional marketing might still be effective in some ways, your content marketing efforts can bring you so much more benefit.
The same source gives such a simple explanation of what content marketing is.
Produce high-quality content – valuable, relevant, and consistent – and you can expect customers to come to you.
Many of us are so focused on pitching our product or service to our target audience that we forget about giving them valuable content first. Use content marketing to provide truly relevant and useful information to your potential customers. Once you have grabbed their attention and sparked interest, that’s the time to make a pitch.
Remember, successful content marketing is possible only when you create content that is both valuable and relevant. The best content is not about selling what you can offer right away. Many would even consider advertisement-like content as spam or junk and skip it altogether.
Create the kind of content you would like to read or watch.
Why Small Businesses Need to Start Content Marketing
You already know what content marketing is and it does seem like a great way to build brand awareness and get new customers, right? But is it truly beneficial to your business?
Let’s take a look at some of the best benefits of content marketing.
Content Marketing Can Improve SEO
There’s no better way to get on top of search engine results than with really good content. Every piece of content you put out there should be optimized for search engines – use the right keywords, consider the length of your posts, and simply make them relevant and useful for your target audience.
It is very important to optimize your content. Let’s say you wrote an informative and very impressive blog post. You even included some links to case studies, infographics, and relevant images. All these would only matter and reach your target audience organically when it is properly optimized.
If you’re not sure about how to create content with SEO in mind, consult with or ask assistance from a content marketer or digital marketing pro.
Content Marketing Can Bring More Social and Referral Traffic
Are you struggling to get more followers on your social media accounts? Are you barely getting any new referrals and inquiries? Perhaps you need to work on your content strategy.
Post content to attract an audience that would eventually become paying customers. Make sure that your content is engaging and interesting enough to encourage your audience to share it with others.
Content Marketing Can Help Improve Brand Reputation
Increased brand awareness is great. But improved brand reputation is so much better. Having a brand that people actually respect and care about can be truly beneficial for your business.
How exactly can you improve your brand’s reputation through content marketing? You can do this with consistent content creation. By consistently creating and distributing relevant content, you will become the industry expert or authority.
For example, if you provide landscaping services to your customers, you can create content about landscaping tips and techniques. You can blog about your preferred landscaping tools. You can also share information about the different types of plants and trees and how to care for them.
Content Marketing Can Help Build Your Relationship with Customers
Aside from building your brand’s reputation by creating content that your target audience may find useful, content marketing can also help you build a relationship with your current and future customers.
Sharing relevant and engaging content can help you develop a relationship with your readers on a more personal level. Your content can become relatable to your audience. When you do this consistently, you will become their primary source of information.
Your audience becomes aware that you are an expert – you are the best person or company to reach out to when it comes to a certain topic. If they do need the service you provide, there’s no doubt they will contact you. If given the opportunity, they will most likely refer their family and friends to you, too.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
Once you have already decided to include content as part of your marketing campaign, you must now come up with a content marketing strategy.
You must have a good plan. It can be exciting to write articles, white papers, blogs, social media posts, or even create video content, but all these can also be overwhelming when you do not have a good plan.
So, what should your content marketing strategy be? Of course, it’s always a case-to-case basis depending on the business you operate or the extent of content marketing you want to get into.
To help you get started, here are the steps you need to take.
Set Your Content Marketing Goal
What do you want to achieve with your content marketing campaign? Who is your target audience? What benefit do you want to get out of your marketing efforts? And what benefit can your audience gain from your content?
Some examples of typical marketing goals would be to get more leads, make more sales, gain influence and improve brand awareness and reputation, improve SEO, and more.
Identify Your Target Audience
Collect data from your website and social media platforms. Find out who your audience is.
If you are from the home service industry, for instance, it is much easier to identify your target market. Most likely, you will be targeting homeowners living within your service area.
Now that you already know who your target is, it would be simpler to come up with the type of content you need to create to attract them.
Check Out What the Competitor is Doing
Visit your competitors’ website, landing page, and social media accounts. See what they’re doing. You don’t have to copy them. You must aim to be better than them.
Decide on the Types of Content You Will Be Creating
Some content marketing examples are infographics, articles, blog posts, video content, and many more. You can start with one or a few of these at first then observe your audience’s reaction.
If you have a marketing team to help you out, then you can do all of these at the same time. Just make sure that whatever content you put out there must be relevant to your business and your audience otherwise it will just be a waste of time and resources.
Create a Content Calendar
As we have mentioned many times throughout this article, for you to be successful with your content marketing strategy, you need to be consistent. To do this, you must have a schedule.
Create a calendar with due dates and times of when you will be posting new content.
Start Creating Content
Now that everything’s planned out and scheduled, it is time to start creating content.
Especially if you have been in business for quite some time already, you might think that you already know everything there is to know about what you do. But for your content to be trustworthy and reliable, it is still most ideal to do some research.
When possible, include your sources and links. If you do include sources, make sure they’re from authority websites and publications.
Do a lot of research. Create your content. Double-check your content before releasing it to your audience.
Distribute and Promote Your Content
Sometimes, even the best pieces of content do not get enough attention when they’re not distributed and promoted properly.
Check on when your audience is online – times of the day and days of the week. You will usually find these statistics in your website or social media platform’s settings. Post when they are online.
When you do not have enough followers yet who can help you distribute and share your content organically, you can consider boosting your posts. You may also share your content with relevant groups and online communities.
How many times have you clicked on Skip Ad while watching a YouTube video? Do you really read an entire article when you know it’s simply an advertisement for a company?
Place yourself in your customers’ shoes. Use content marketing to attract your audience, not drive them away. Give them value.
Allow us to emphasize once more the most important thing to remember about content marketing – always add value to what you’re putting out there.
Sharing valuable content with your potential customers is one of the best and most effective ways to win their trust. It might not result in an immediate sale all the time, but it will help you have a longer-lasting and stronger relationship with your customers.