As a small business owner, you’re constantly looking for cost-effective ways to engage your target market. And while there are plenty of good options, it’s hard to find a strategy more powerful than content marketing.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
As we’ve said for decades, content is king. You can have the biggest budget and the fanciest funnels, but if you don’t have content, you aren’t going to get the results needed to generate customers and grow your business.
Content marketing – and specifically content creation – is one of the top priorities for large and growing brands. If you want to join their ranks, you’d be wise to dedicate a considerable amount of your marketing time and budget to creating quality content. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Direct Engagement
We’re going to get to the search-related benefits of content marketing, but don’t make the mistake of investing in content marketing for the sole purpose of search engine optimization (SEO). Always write for human readers first and search engines second. A failure to do so will result in boring copy that resonates with noone.
The biggest benefit of content marketing is the direct engagement it provides with prospects and customers. It’s arguably the best way to engage with people at scale. Because once the content is created, you don’t have to do anything other than promotion and monitoring comments – if that’s something you choose to do.
Content is very much an authority and trust builder. The first time someone reads your content, they might not know anything about your brand. But after two, three, or 10 exposures to your content, you suddenly hold a place of authority in their life (or at least their purchase behavior). This bodes well for your brand as you attempt to set yourself apart from the competition.
The key to building authority with content is to produce high-quality content that’s relevant to your audience. If you start pumping out low-quality, irrelevant content, you could actually damage your brand’s authority and lose trust with your audience. Focus on quality over quantity!
3. Search Prominence
While writing for human readers is the priority, it would be foolish to ignore the benefits that come from SEO. Search algorithms are built on the backs of content. The more quality content you produce, the more likely it is that you’ll rank well.
Whereas you once could game the system by creating low-quality content with tons of keywords, quality is now a must. Google’s search algorithm is more sophisticated than ever. Keyword stuffing will land you in the dog house. You’re better off focusing on relevant topics with natural search language. Length, depth, and relevancy will combine to provide ample search benefits.
Somebody controls the education process for your customers. Either they go out and find their own information and reach their own conclusions using third-party resources and insights, or you provide the education via your own content. Who would you rather be in control?
When you compare it to advertising and other forms of paid media, content marketing is extremely inexpensive and cost-effective. You can either do it yourself or hire an inexpensive copywriter to produce content at scale.
Do You Have a Content Strategy?
It’s not enough to produce a few blog posts here and there. If you want to maximize the benefits above, it begins with having a strategy.
A content strategy is all about casting vision so that you can execute with precision and intentionality. You can be as detailed as you want, but the main priority is to develop content with a purpose. Create a set of goals and then work backward to figure out what it’ll take to get from where you are to where you want to be. If you don’t feel like you’re capable of doing this internally, hiring a content marketing company is a good idea.
While most businesses set annual content strategies, we’d recommend narrowing your focus. You’ll get better results if you zoom in and create quarterly goals (12 weeks). This timeframe is long enough to give you some runway, yet short enough to keep the momentum.
There’s no such thing as a perfect strategy, but the sooner you start, the faster you’ll be able to hone your approach into a sharp and effective tool for growth.