You’ve probably heard the phrase “content marketing”. You might think that this strategy is only for large companies but that’s not accurate. Your small business can use content marketing to establish your brand, increase your online profile, attract new customers and engage potential customers. The payoff can be big. According to a survey from the Custom Content Council, 69% of marketers feel that content marketing is more effective than direct mail and PR. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute has spot-on observations about the modern consumer. “They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons (making them irrelevant).” Content marketing is a way to reach consumers that are no longer engaged with traditional advertising and marketing strategies. In short, content marketing means creating and distributing information consistently that is valuable and relevant to your small business’s target audience. The goal is for your unique content to attract a consumer, ultimately turning them into a loyal customer. Content can take many forms. It can be a blog post, an online video, social media posts, website content and more.
Understand Your Audience
Who are the customers, current and potential, that you want to reach? Before you put a content marketing strategy in place, take a look at your data. Determine your key demographic and develop content that speaks to that group. For example, if you own a hair salon, a blog about styles, trends, fashion and make-up would be a great fit. Are you a restaurant owner? Tweeting about specials, food news and recipes could bring customers in the door. Develop content with your audience top of mind.
Reach Your Customers
Use a customer survey service like Survey Monkey to discover what channels your customers are using and what content would be valuable to them. If your target audience is active on social media, find out the most popular channels. Similar copy and images can be used across social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Quality content needs to be on point. That means no typos, correct grammar and appropriate formatting. As any writer will tell you, it’s almost impossible to edit your own copy. Ask if there’s an employee on your team who can give your material the once-over before you post. Consistency is also important. Develop an easy to follow “editorial calendar” to keep you on track. It should go without saying, no plagiarism. Make you’re your content is fresh and original. Additionally, be sure to have permission to use images. There are many low-cost stock photo services where you can find high quality photos.
For inspiration and ideas, check out 25 Brands That Made it Big with Content Marketing. Although these are large entities, many of their strategies can be tweaked for a small business. Read these blogs to discover more about content marketing and learn the latest developments: 20 Content Marketing Blogs You Need to Bookmark.