Looking to win your audience’s attention, improve engagement, and build a stronger relationship with your customers? Content marketing is a proven long-term strategy employed by 73% of brands to gain better visibility online. And it’s just as important for small businesses as it is for big ones.
Direct advertising is losing its power. Nowadays, 70% of customers would prefer to learn about a business through an article than an ad. The beauty of content marketing is that it provides far more than basic product information. It provides value: for your customers, for your brand, and for your money.
The benefits of a well-planned content strategy are manifold – if you know what you’re doing. Here are five reasons why your small business needs a content strategy.
To shape your brand identity
Ask yourself this: who are the authorities in your industry? Chances are you can name at least one. And you can bet that the reason you thought of them is because they share good content on a regular basis.
Content helps people remember who you are and what makes you unique. The more they see your helpful and informative posts popping up on their feeds, the more likely they are to recognise and engage with you. And when the time comes for them to make a purchase, they will be far more likely to seek you out as a familiar face.
Effective content marketing = better brand recall.
Through content you can compete with brands of any size, because it’s not about how big you are. It’s about the quality and relevance of what you’re putting out there.
To become a thought leader
Would you rather be a leader or a follower?
For most brands, one of the top goals of content marketing is thought leadership. Putting forward your expertise to address the interests, questions, and concerns of your customer base. And in doing so, positioning yourself at the forefront of their minds whenever these topics arise.
Say you sell homemade vegan cheese. Potential customers might be looking for:
- Artisan vegan cheese recipes
- The benefits of being vegan
- The differences between nut and soy cheese
- How vegan cheese is made
- What type of vegan cheese is best on pizza
You, as the vegan cheese expert, can provide the best answers to these questions. And in doing so, develop a relationship with these potential customers early in the buyer journey.
Content marketing is about playing the long game. It’s not a quick win; it’s about influencing buyer behaviour over time. The more you put out there, the more they will begin to take note.
To establish trust
What the above points essentially come down to is trust. We’re much more likely to buy from a trusted brand – one that shares our values. We like what feels safe and familiar.
Content marketing helps to build trust between you and your audience by giving them information they can use. Plentiful content suggests you actually know what you’re talking about. So the next time they’re in the market for whatever it is you do, you’ll be first on their list.
In return, visitors will be more likely to share your content and come back for more. The benefits go both ways. Research shows that quality, relevant content aimed at a specific audience leads to prospective customers spending more time on your website. Which is no bad thing.
Remember, content marketing is not about selling. It’s about solving problems and having something valuable to say.
To reduce your marketing costs
Did you know that content marketing costs around 62% less than traditional advertising? While generating three times as many leads?
Small businesses on a budget should consider content marketing a top priority. Your social followers may want to hear from you, but they’re certainly not looking to be bombarded with sales messages every day. Content marketing allows you to provide value beyond product discounts by discussing wider topics and industry developments.
Think of yourself as a journalist, rather than a salesperson.
What’s more, once written, decent content will continue to generate traffic for however long the piece remains of interest. This is why a lot of brands choose to invest their budget in evergreen content – topics that will always be relevant. Over time, this becomes a considerably cheaper option than paid advertising.
To improve organic search visibility
Finally, let’s not forget that Google loves content-rich websites. The more relevant, user-friendly content you have on your website, the better your chances of ranking for the big-money keywords and bringing in qualified leads.
And it’s not all about depth. Google also looks at freshness. If you’re seen to be adding new content regularly, you’re more likely to rank above less prolific competitors – provided you’re still offering real value to your audience. Cheap content mill garbage won’t cut it.
It’s not uncommon for small business owners and entrepreneurs to think of content strategy as a low priority, particularly when just starting out. It’s one of those things that takes time to build out and do well – and the results are rarely immediate. But compounded over time, those efforts really start to pay off. If writing content for your website takes up time you don’t have, why not get in touch and see how I can help?