When it comes to getting more traffic, leads and sales - content marketing is the low cost and highly effective way to build your small business online.
Research your target audience, build your customer avatars then create and execute a documented content strategy. That's it in a nutshell.
So what are you waiting for? The benefits of content marketing for your business are many and varied - but all of them will positively impact your bottom line. Let's have a look at them...
1. Better Brand Recognition
Content marketing is hands down one of the best strategies to make your brand stand out online. A lot of markets are maturing and becoming saturated, so buyers are naturally more cautious about what they purchase.
By consistently delivering quality content that builds trust and authority with your target audience, you'll ensure your brand is always at the forefront of their mind.
2. Increased Search Engine Traffic
If you regularly create and promote high quality content based on longtail keyword research using a tool such as KW Finder or Ahrefs, over time you'll benefit from higher rankings in the major search engines - and in turn be rewarded with higher organic traffic. Sounds simple right? It kind of is - but you need to be persistent and consistent.
3. Enhanced Social Media Reach
If your content satisfies a need or solves a problem, your target audience will definitely share it on the major social media platforms. This means other people you want to reach will also like, share and link to your content over time. If you always focus on creating and sharing high quality content - either yours or someone else's - then your social media reach should grow quite quickly.
4. More Credibility
Want to look like the expert you actually are? Then let your customers know it, with content that shows how on the ball your business is. A series of blogs showing your knowledge of your product or sector will set you above any competitors who aren’t demonstrating their authority. You’re educating, entertaining and establishing expertise all at once.
5. Increased Conversions
Your website content - and particularly your blog - reaches your customers in the research stage of their buying journey. The chances are, potential customers will find you because they’re searching for a specific answer.
If you know your market, you’ll know why your customers come to you and what they’re looking for - so simply create content that addresses this. If you can satisfactorily answer their questions in your content, they are more likely to convert from researcher into purchaser.
6. Teaches You To Listen
The very act of researching your target audience, customer avatars and conducting competitor and keyword research - helps you connect with your core prospects more deeply so you can answer all their questions.
The feedback you get through this process will help you become better at listening to what your customers really want from you - which is why inbound marketing is such a high value strategy.
7. Unmatched Cost-Effectiveness
We don’t want to sell content writing cheaply here; however, let’s be honest. Compared with a printed ad, physical event or even a shop window display, you won’t have to pay much for a good blog post.
As well as publishing it on your website, you can also share it socially, send it out in an e-newsletter or promote it and reuse it in any number of ways. A well-crafted blog post can therefore be a long-lasting traffic driver - and should be viewed as an investment in your business.
8. Building Evergreen Value
If you get some good, organic SEO traction from your website content and blog - your business will keep being found and then remembered. In this context, you need to create (or brief your writer to create) “evergreen content” that won’t date.
A “compounding” blog post is a post with traffic that grows over time. HubSpot’s research into compounding posts found that they make up 10% of all blog posts – but generate 38% of the overall traffic. Build some evergreen value for your online business today.
9. Creating a Human Face
Your web content and blog is the online face and voice of your business, so don’t be reticent about using a friendly and conversational tone. Blogs are naturally more informal than printed material or static website pages; and this is your opportunity to be approachable and show that you understand your customer’s needs.
10. Being More Helpful
Through content marketing and blogging in particular, you’re basically offering free advice. You're being helpful so you can build the trust that leads to transactions.
Content is the virtual equivalent of the sales assistant offering you a comfy chair while you sit down and have a chat about the product. Because you’re now engaged, you’ll stick around longer. It’s the same with content. A good blog will grab your reader’s attention, keep them on the website for longer (reducing your bounce rate), and is more likely to lead to conversions.
11. Reaching New Audiences
If your high quality content is shared on social media or found in the SERPS, you’ll naturally reach a wider audience. If your website and blog is as readable, relevant and authoritative as we’ve already discussed, your new readers will be impressed, and over time start to view your business as the go-to place for their specific needs.
Just bear in mind that once this process has started, you need to keep on top of it - commit to a programme of regular fresh content to get the best results.
12. Targeting Your Ideal Customers
The great thing about content marketing is that it helps you to specifically target your messaging to very particular audiences. Sometimes you need to reach a narrower audience, one which is most likely to convert.
For example, you run a hotel, and most of your posts are geared towards families on holiday. You decide you want to attract families with dogs (not all hotels take them, so you’ve seen a gap). You simply create content for this sub-section of your main audience (best dog walks in your area etc), based on relevant keyword research. You then do some targeted social sharing/promotion where this demographic hangs out online.
13. Guiding The Customer Journey
What are your customers’ “pain points”? What is their need, struggle or problem that you, and only you, can help them with? To guide this journey, make sure your content speaks to that need, and answers (in part) their question.
Whether it’s the family above who still haven’t found a dog-friendly hotel, or a small business in need of IT support, the body of your content at different stages of their buying journey will reassure them that help is at hand. Finish with a strong call-to-action to buy your product or get in touch with you - and your assisted conversions from content marketing will go through the roof.
14. Running Rings Round Your Competitors
If you're publishing authoritative and engaging content, and your competitors aren’t, which of you appears the most knowledgeable and trustworthy? If you can assure prospects you can help with their pain point, you’re already well ahead of the competition.
In this context, a regular blog is a good way of showing you’re open-for-business and know your stuff. If a business hasn’t blogged for years, how can you be sure they’re still trading?
15. Any Sector Can Benefit
Content marketing and blogging aren’t just for beauty products and travel. People who want to know about car jacks and organic cat food will happily read content about these things if it helps them answer their questions and solve their problems.
If you have a product or a service, and if you have customers who will benefit from knowing about these, then you should have a documented content marketing strategy in place that includes regular blogging.
Conclusion: That's Just The Half of It
There are simply so many more benefits to content marketing that I could go on all day - but I know you have a company to run.
Suffice to say that any small business that wants to make it online - that isn't at least trying to keep up by developing a written content marketing strategy and having a go at some blogging - shouldn't be surprised and disappointed if their competitors start ruling the roost in their sector.
Give it a go - you'll find the benefits of content marketing far outweigh any negatives - and ultimately you'll see the rewards most markedly on your positively-growing balance sheet.