Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

If you’re a small or local business owner and you’ve looked into how to market your business online, you’ve probably heard a lot about content marketing. Content marketing can be arguably one of the best marketing tools for your small businesses because it not only drives traffic to your site, but it also helps you build trust and authority with your audience.

But where does content marketing fit into your overall marketing strategy, and how do you build an effective content marketing strategy? Let’s talk about why content marketing is important for your small business, what content marketing for small businesses looks like, and how to create an effective strategy that delivers.

What does content marketing for a small business look like?

Traditional marketing methods and sales pitches can be annoying for the savvy online consumer. Content marketing offers an alternative: useful, reliable, relatable material that can help your audience understand new concepts or find solutions to their real-world problems.

Content marketing isn’t new, but it has recently transformed the marketing landscape with new forms like white papers, video content, and tools that your reader can take away without making a purchase. This means there’s a new, wide world of opportunity when it comes to creating valuable content for your online audience.

Small business content marketing is great for making connections with your audience that may be seeking businesses like yours. Whether through long-form content (like this post) or lead magnets and other tools that serve an immediate purpose for your audience, there’s an abundance of opportunity in content marketing.

Here are some forms of content marketing for small businesses you might not have considered:

  • Newsletters
  • Social Media posts
  • Blog posts with helpful information
  • Video posts
  • Podcasts
  • A free ebook
  • An online quiz that helps make a decision
  • Tools like online calculators and organization tools

Each of these is of value to your targeted market and provides them with the tools, information, or entertainment they’re looking for online.

Why content marketing is important for small businesses

So, why content marketing?

Let’s face it, today’s consumer is a little more sophisticated than they were in the early days of the Internet when e-commerce was brand new. Now, they’ve got millions of options and the world at their fingertips with an easy tool for searching and categorizing every one of them. That’s why content marketing needs to be a part of your paid and organic marketing efforts. The best way to reach a cold audience is through valuable content before interacting with your paid advertising. In fact, research shows that 80 percent of consumers would prefer to interact with high-quality content that interests them rather than interact with paid ads.

Content marketing is also important because it helps you reach the right audience at the right time. 57 percent of online users read content marketing material at least monthly. Great content helps you build familiarity and trust with your audience while adding to their online experience. When you combine this content strategy with a great user experience and useful tools and tips that come from your experience and expertise, browsers are more likely to become future customers.

Content is also a great way to showcase your brand’s personality and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Today’s consumer wants to know and relate to the brands they interact with, and great content is the perfect avenue to do that.

Building a small business content marketing strategy

Ok, so we’ve gone over the WHY of content marketing, but where do you begin in creating a strategy?

First, consider the type of content marketing materials you’re able to produce. Every small business is capable of adding a blog to their website, and with industry expertise, it can be a great value add. Plus there are so many other benefits of having a blog.

If you’re savvy or have a strong digital marketing team, you might even consider adding a youtube channel, podcast or a series of ebooks. You could offer free workshops on a specific topic that provide some of the information your potential customers are seeking. Ultimately, you’ll want to choose a path (or several) that you know you have the capacity for and that will be useful to your audience.

Here are some things you’ll want to consider in developing your content strategy:

  • Is this content something your audience would be searching for?
  • Does this content associate your brand as a voice of authority in this industry?
  • Does the content you’re considering help build your relationship with the audience?
  • Does the content type leave your audience feeling better informed?

Next, you’ll want to take the following steps in building out an annual strategy that meets your small business goals:

  1. Determine those goals. Make sure your content marketing goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART goals). Depending on your business size and industry, your goals might be something like “gather 100 email contacts per month,” or “increase our conversion rate by 10%”.
  2. Choose your performance indicators and find out what your current performance looks like. If your goals are based on web traffic, conversions, or lead generation, Google Analytics is a great place to find those metrics. Determine your benchmarks before you implement your strategy, and compare statistics quarterly.
  3. Determine your target audience and the content channels you want to use. Creating a blog is a great way to get found in organic searches, especially if your content is optimized according to search intent (Search Engine Optimization). Determine the demographics of your customer base and online audience before you start to decide whether your efforts are best spent on long-form content, video content, social media posts, or on other types of content.
  4. Set up a content calendar. Flooding the market with your great ideas can be too much, too soon. Building out a calendar of topics that are timely and relevant can help keep your audience engaged for the long-term, without annoying them. Plus, it’ll help you stay consistent.
  5. Deliver well-researched pieces of content according to your schedule. Stick to your plan and invest the same amount of energy in building your piece of content as you do in researching your audience, channels, and performance metrics. Or, hire a content writer to do it for you.
  6. Monitor the results as they come in and decide whether they meet your performance goals or not. Then, refine your long-term strategy for the next calendar year and make changes if necessary. If your strategy meets your goals, start considering the next goal!

When to hire a small business marketing agency

If you got lost somewhere between “define your audience” and “choose your channels,” or, if you’re already struggling to keep up with business in the digital world, it could be a smart idea to hire a small business marketing company.

Digital marketers like She Speaks Brave Media already understand the tools and platforms you’ll need to develop your online presence with content marketing. Marketing agencies also handle content development and can help you decide your brand voice and how best to connect with your online audience.

If you’re not sure who your target audience should be or how to reach them, get in touch with your digital marketing team today and eliminate the guesswork.  We are a boutique agency which means, we are a small team who only takes on a few businesses at a time offering customized, high-touch services. Want to dominate and become the go-to in your industry? Grab our Ultimate Online Marketing Cheat Sheet

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Nicole Turner

I'm a small town girl, podcaster, multiple-hat wearer, and wildly imperfect wife + mama. I have an obsession with helping ambitious women pursue their dreams while prioritizing their values + wellbeing. I'm dedicated to helping you cut the overwhelm, get unstuck, grow your confidence, ignite your results, and transform your life + your business... starting right now. Around here you'll find tips and tools to do just that.

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