Marketing can be overwhelming for small business owners. You have probably found yourself wishing that you could be spending your time doing what you love rather than running the business side of things. It’s much more fun for a photographer to take pictures than to generate leads or try to figure out what the hell conversion rates are. What if I told you there was a way to increase your brand awareness and generate leads just by educating your target market about what you love to do?
What is Content Marketing?
To put it simply, content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves creating and delivering valuable content for your target market. Content includes things like blog posts, how-to guides, newsletters, email courses, and infographics; pretty much anything that your audience can learn from. Content marketing is one of the cheapest and most profitable forms of marketing. While typically costing 62% less than traditional marketing, content marketing produces three times as many leads per dollar spent (source: Demand Metric).
Why should you use content marketing?
Creating valuable content for your audience gains their trust and creates a relationship with them before they even do business with you. It’s much easier for a potential customer to believe that you’re great at what you do if you show them you’re an expert rather than just tell them. If you took your car to two different mechanics, would you trust the one that said “I can fix your car” or the one who explained how they would fix your car and how you could prevent the problem from happening again?
Part of making sales and gaining customers involves convincing them that you are their best option. What if you could do this before you even made contact? This is where your content comes in. If you establish yourself as an expert through content marketing, this will take an entire step out of your sales process. It shifts the customer’s side of the initial conversation from “should I do business with you?” to “I want to do business with you”.
What should you write about?
The idea of creating content on a consistent basis can be overwhelming. Many business owners aren’t sure what to write about and wonder if their target market would even be interested in what they have to say. If this sounds like you, think about some of the questions you commonly get from your customers. If you own a restaurant, does your wait staff frequently get asked the difference between cuts of meat or types of beer? What about what kind of wine pairs well with your weekly special? If you use local ingredients, could you write a blog post introducing the source to your audience?
Size Matters… Kind of.
If you ask five different people what the optimal word count is for a blog post, you’re going to get five different answers. The one thing they will probably have in common is that longer is better. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not always true. While a 2,000 word blog post is naturally going to include more keywords for search engine optimization than a 500 word blog post, it’s not necessarily better for your audience. If you have that 2,000 word count goal in mind, you’re going to stretch to reach it and inadvertently dilute your content. If you can get your point across in 500 words, then by all means do that and hit publish. The goal is to provide detailed, relevant, and useful content; not the longest article on the web.
Playing the Long Game
While content marketing might not yield immediate returns, valuable content garners long-term results. If your content is timeless and truly attuned to your customers’ needs, your audience will be sharing it long after you hit publish. Content marketing means playing the long game, and the relationships you build with your target market will keep your business successful for years to come.