Everything from remote work and supply chain management to e-commerce and marketing has changed since COVID-19. While the pandemic has rewritten the script for many areas of business, one area that has remained relatively unchanged is content marketing.
As the 21st century has unfolded, there has been a steadily increasing refrain that “content is king” — and with good reason. Content can do wonders for both brand awareness and search engine optimization (SEO), both of which remain critical digital marketing factors in the wake of the coronavirus.
If you’re a small- or medium-sized (SMB) business owner who is looking to scale your marketing efforts in an uncertain economic climate, one of the best ways that you can confidently do so is through content marketing. To be effective, though, you must thoroughly understand the strategy, how it affects your business, and how to properly invest in creating digital content.
What is content marketing?
In a nutshell, content marketing is comprised of strategically creating content for a clearly defined audience. In other words, it isn’t simply posting random things on Facebook or creating a company blog “just because everyone else is doing it.”
True content marketing is done with a strategy and purpose that leads to results. When approached in this manner, creating valuable content can be a key strategy in boosting small business marketing efforts. It can be done in a variety of different ways, including:
- Articles or videos for a company blog.
- Infographics to share on social media.
- eBooks and whitepapers to demonstrate your knowledge.
- User-generated content from satisfied customers.
- Case studies that prove the validity of your product or service.
- Paid ads or content created by influencers.
With so many options, you should understand how your content will impact your marketing to help you better allocate your resources.
How content marketing benefits brand awareness
One of the most important ways that content marketing can benefit your bottom line is through brand awareness. Content has the unique ability to clearly demonstrate your company’s authority within your niche or industry. It allows you to resonate with customer’s pain points, demonstrate a clear knowledge of their problems, and then proffer solutions (often in the form of both a DIY option and a professional solution via your products and services).
Good content allows you to attract attention and develop a relationship with potential clients and customers. It establishes you as an answer to people’s problems. It also enables you to cultivate loyalty and trust with your customers, all of which can lead to word-of-mouth marketing and greater brand awareness.
How content marketing benefits SEO
While more subtle, content marketing can also have a profound impact on your website traffic, especially from search engines.
Search engine optimization (SEO) revolves around creating digital marketing content that is clearly understood and categorized by search engines. This enables them to offer your website on the correct search engine results pages (SERPs).
When done well, content marketing can help to boost your SEO traffic in a variety of different ways. For instance, a blog or whitepaper typically provides many opportunities to include both external links that point to authoritative websites and internal links to your website. It also provides a good opportunity to focus on a keyword — or even several.
If your content is well-composed, it can lead to people spending lengthier quantities of time on your website consuming content, naturally increasing their dwell time in the process. Additionally, if it’s good enough, they may share it on social media and it may even be linked to in other articles across the internet.
All of these things (links, keywords, dwell time) all help to improve your website’s SEO and organically increase your online exposure and traffic.
How to begin content marketing
While understanding something in theory is good, putting it into practice is a bit more difficult. If you want to engage in content marketing, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Focus on quality over quantity: It’s better to create a well-produced video or a well-written blog post than to make ten low-quality ones.
- Provide genuine value to your audience: Touch on pain points, provide solutions, and aim to teach people, not just make sales.
- Make it fun and engaging: Content that includes calls-to-action or offers actionable advice often performs significantly better than bland, read-only topics.
- Proactively market your content: One common content marketing mistake is creating quality content and then letting it sit on your website. To maximize the effectiveness of your content, you should actively market it through your other marketing channels such as email lists and social media platforms.
While content marketing should never be undertaken lightly, if you start with a plan and stay organized as you go along, even the smallest business can put an effective content marketing campaign together.
Doubling up with content
Content provides a unique opportunity for a one-two marketing punch. It simultaneously increases your brand awareness while also improving your SEO traffic.
If you want to utilize content marketing over the long-term, though, maintain a growth mindset. As an SMB owner, you are already likely on a budget and working with limited time and resources. As such, make sure to stay up to date on the latest content marketing best practices so that you don’t waste time creating content that won’t have an effect.
If you can build a solid strategy and then maintain a flexible, growth-oriented mindset, you can fully tap into the benefits that content marketing offers.