Content marketing in the past for small businesses, would mean that you have to approach marketing in a much different fashion than larger companies, but with the internet connecting everyone and everything, the line has become blurred. The small local restaurant is followed on social media and rated and reviewed online, just like the national chain. Likewise, to get organic success, small businesses need to include content marketing in their strategy just like everyone else.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of using online content (blogs, articles, videos, infographics, social media posts etc), to get eyes on your business without using direct sales-speak or paid online ads.
Well-produced content helps businesses become an authority within their niche, improving both brand identity and awareness within the community. It also helps their websites rank in the organic search results from Google and other search engines. The aim of content marketing is to inform the consumer without demanding a return, which builds trust. Increases in conversions and sales are secondary but a statistically significant outcome.
Traditional content marketing focused on articles and blog posts, which are ideal for getting ranked in the search engines. However, with the rise of ‘Web 2.0’ and smartphones there is a wide range of content types that are effective.
Video is engaging and shared much more on social media than written content. Although it won’t necessarily rank your business website, it will still rank on the platform you use and then users can click through to your site anyway.
Benefits to Small Businesses
The benefits of content marketing for small businesses are numerous. As well as helping small businesses in the search engines, it also improves social media engagement. By consistently creating quality content and sharing it (as well as encouraging users to share it), you can build a steady stream of traffic from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Content marketing also creates long-term returns (saving money over paid advertising over time), because informative content is often ‘evergreen.’ This means the information doesn’t go out of date and users are just as likely to share it today as they would be in a year’s time.
Traffic from search engines is fairly consistent unless a website gets penalized whereas traffic from paid ads ends as soon as your budget runs out.
Small businesses rarely have large marketing budgets, so content marketing is a great long-term strategy.
The Data Doesn’t Lie
If you are not yet using it, you can bet the competition is.
And it’s no surprise, 70 to 80% of all web users ignore paid search ads and go straight to the organic search results instead. They also consume over 11 pieces of content before buying a product. If your site doesn’t have content that is ranked well in Google, you are missing out on a huge chunk of traffic and therefore sales. You are also missing the opportunity to inform consumers and win their trust.
Top Content Tips
Quality Content: Not all content is created equal. If you want to genuinely inform people, your content needs to be well-researched and original. It also needs to be digestible. List articles or at least those separated with headings are more engaging than large chunks of text. Short and snappy videos are better than those that drag on. Blog posts that contain images get shared more on social media than those that don’t.
Successful Content: Once you have posted your content your job is not over. It is important to track that content with analytics tools. Over time you will learn what types of content engages users and which doesn’t. You can then refine your strategy accordingly.
Hire Pros: Small businesses don’t always have a large budget, but hiring a video editor or writer can mean the difference between something that goes viral and something that wastes your time and falls flat.