“Content is king.”
You’ve probably heard that a million times when reading about digital marketing, but the fact remains true. Content is, indeed, king.
When it comes to digital marketing, website traffic is one of the most critical factors that will help drive your initiative’s success. While there are virtually many ways to generate traffic to your small business’s website, content marketing is still one of the most effective and commonly used strategies today.
Did you know that 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing strategies, and 72% of them revealed that it’s a pivotal component to their digital marketing success? It’s even more vital for small businesses because they don’t have the same resources that large enterprises have for their marketing campaigns.
If you’re planning to launch a content marketing campaign, you’re in the right place. This article will outline what content marketing is and how you can use it to improve conversions.
What is Content Marketing and Why is It Important?
Content marketing is one of the most common digital marketing techniques where marketers create and distribute relevant content that will resonate with the target audience. It’s essentially a vehicle that allows you to spread your brand’s message across channels.
While people may think of content marketing as merely blogs and articles, it’s so much more than that. Unlike paid advertising that’s more self-promotional in nature, content marketing lets you build content that your audience finds valuable.
For instance, video is a type of content marketing. It’s especially useful if you’re selling very technical products, like software. Through videos, you can explain processes that could help your audience solve a problem. Likewise, if you’re selling beauty products, you can share skincare and makeup tips as detailed articles which your audience might find valuable.
The more you provide your audience with valuable content, the more likely they are to trust your brand. If done right, content marketing can lead to consistent conversions and higher ROI.
What are Some of the Most Effective Types of Content Marketing Format?
It’s worth noting that blog articles are just one of the many types of content marketing formats. While it’s among the most effective in driving traffic to your website, you can also use other forms of content marketing format like:
- Case studies
- Social media posts
- GIFs and Memes
- White papers
- Testimonials and reviews
- Influencer content
It’s worth remembering that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best type of content to use for your business — as different companies have different needs. If you’re looking for the best kind of content to focus your efforts on, you might have to do trial and error along with audience research.
What are the Benefits of Content Marketing
Now that you have a general idea of what content marketing is and why it’s important let’s discuss its benefits for your small business.
1. Boost traffic
Blogs and articles, especially those that drive value, provide many opportunities for marketers to drive traffic to their websites. As people head to your website and see that you’re constantly uploading high-value content, chances are, they’ll keep coming back for more.
This is true, especially if you’re solving your audience’s problems and answering their questions. Plus, if they like what they see or read, they might just recommend you to their friends and family, thus increasing your traffic further.
Moreover, guest posting on certain websites, especially those that receive a high volume of traffic each month can also work to your advantage. Guest posting is a strategy wherein marketers submit content on another company’s website. By doing this, you can gain the attention of a new relevant audience, thus expanding your reach. Not only that, but if the site allows it, you can also link back to your website within the article. The audience can click through it and be redirected to your website, adding organic traffic.
2. Improve SEO ranking
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website’s content to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERPs).
For instance, keywords have long been known to be powerful when it comes to ranking higher on SERPs. However, with more and more websites using generic and short-tail keywords these days, it’s slowly losing its power. On the other hand, long-tail keywords on blogs help increase a website’s chance of ranking higher for specific phrases.
To identify what long-tail keywords to use, you have to think like your audience. For instance, if you’re a financing company offering loans to small business owners, instead of simply using “small business financing” over and over, you might want to consider using longer, more specific ones like “financing options for small restaurant businesses” or “fast business loans for small businesses” if they’re looking for some instant capital.
Once your audience plugs that in on the search engine search bar, there’s a high chance that your website will be one of the first things that show on the first page of SERPs.
Some other SEO strategies you can employ could include:
- Improving site speed
- Creating long-form articles
- Making your website mobile-friendly
3. Build trust around your audience
Consumers love high-quality content. That said, if you constantly produce content that answers their questions, they’re more likely to come back to read some more. You can also take this chance to interact with them — whether it’s through the comment section or social media chats. When you continually provide value without asking for something in return, your audience is more likely to trust you and your opinions.
Moreover, the more you produce quality content, the better your reputation and authority will be. So, the next time your brand name appears on the screens of your target audience, they will have a positive association with it.
4. Better lead generation
Companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog. This proves just how powerful content marketing can be when carried out correctly.
One way that content can generate leads is by offering eBooks and checklists that website visitors can download in exchange for their email addresses. With that interaction, you can start building your email list and send more valuable content their way (this is referred to as lead nurturing). Think of it as buttering them up so that they will eventually turn to loyal customers if they continue consuming your content.
5. Social media traction
Syndicating the content from your website on your social media platform is a great way to increase your brand’s exposure. It can also help increase the traffic you’re getting. Considering that almost every person is already on at least one of the social media platforms these days, you’ll have better chances of reaching your target audience.
If they see value in what you share, they’re more likely to turn into followers who come back for more. And again, with more followers come more traffic and potential leads to your website.
How to Run a Successful Content Marketing Campaign for Your Business
Only 38% of all companies have a documented content marketing strategy. This means that 62% of businesses are still not taking advantage of the potential rewards it brings to the table.
If you’re one of the many who’s also wondering how you can create a solid content marketing strategy for your business, here’s a step-by-step guide for success:
1. Set Goals
Like planning for any other aspect of your business, you have to think of why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. In other words, define your goal. What do you want to get out of your content marketing plan? Is it to increase traffic? Connect with your audience? Improve brand awareness? Increase conversions? No matter what it is, you must identify this at the start of the planning stage, as it will also help you determine what’s best for your strategy.
While you’re identifying goals, don’t forget to use the SMART goals. These are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Instead of just writing “increase traffic” as one of your goals, define it more clearly to make it a SMART goal. You could write, “Increase traffic by 25% by the next quarter after launching content marketing strategies.”
2. Get a clear understanding of your target audience
Any marketing strategy won’t be successful if you don’t know who you’re targeting with your efforts. Knowing your target audience will help you determine what strategy to use to improve your chances of success.
The first step of identifying your target audience is to establish demographics. You can use tools (i.e., social media analytics) to analyze your social media followers, visitors, and email subscribers. From there, you’ll identify the age, gender, income, and more of your frequent visitors. The web analytics you’re using could also identify their interest, making it easier to segment your audiences.
After you’ve zeroed in on your target audience, consider asking for their feedback regarding your brand. Do this to your current customers, as well. Doing so will help you gather more data regarding how they feel about your content, what needs improvement, and other questions that they would like you to answer.
It also helps to create a buyer persona. A buyer persona represents your ideal customer based on data you collected from your audience and customers. In this case, they should embody your ideal customer’s pain points, challenges, and motivations. With that, you’ll better understand the type of content they will most likely respond to and how you can tailor it to provide value to them.
3. Audit your existing content
At the planning stage, ask yourself and the team what content you’re currently running. You’ll probably have either blogs or ads, but you could be running other types of content, too, like video or infographics. Run a content audit to see which types of content are currently doing well and which ones are poor.
If your blog posts generate much of your website’s traffic, find out which topics are getting the most attention. Once you’ve identified the topics, you can publish more content related to them. On the other hand, if the content is doing poorly, find out why and try to improve on that area.
Most importantly, don’t forget to align your content with your organization’s goals. This is one of the best ways to increase your chances of succeeding.
4. Brainstorm content ideas
It’s worth noting that different organizations have unique needs, and the content type that might do wonders for them might not work for you. That is why you must understand who your target audience is and identify which content is doing best.
Since you’re past that point, it’s time to get the team together and brainstorm content ideas. It could be blogs, videos, eBooks, case studies, and whatnot. There’s virtually a lot of content ideas to run there, but then again, consider the needs of your audience. Think about what their questions are and tailor your content in a way that would answer that. You can then start working your way up from there.
However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to those one or two content types. For best results, it’s always better to mix things up a bit. Again, go back to your audience’s preferences.
Also, consider your in-house resources. Chances are, if you’re still in the early stages of your marketing campaign, you won’t be able to produce that much content right off the bat. In that case, you can start with two to three content types.
5. Create and publish your content
Now that you have everything, it’s time to put your plan into action. You can start building your content from the topics you were able to obtain during your audit.
Say you decided to go with blog posts and eBooks. Start by searching the top-ranking articles on the search engines. Find out how you can create your own that’s better than the top-ranking content. Content writers call this the skyscraper technique. You can write different types of content like how-to guides, checklists, etc.
When it’s time to write the content, don’t forget to incorporate your brand’s personality into it. Depending on the posts you’ve already established, it could be casual, professional, formal, or something in between. Also, be sure that you’re providing high-quality content without patronizing your audience.
If you can, look at how your competitor’s blog looks and sounds like. Chances are, if it’s working for them, it might work for you, too.
6. Promote your content
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to publish, distribute, and promote your content. Remember that this step is one of the most crucial ones in your content marketing campaign. Therefore, it should be done correctly.
For example, email and social media are a couple of tried-and-true channels to promote your content. If you’re using social media, you can set up scheduled posts for promoting your blog content. This means you’ll have to study the prime times for posting for your audience. Other than that, you could also use a marketing automation solution that lets you send emails to your subscribers every time a new post is published.
Remember that no matter how excellent and educational your content is, it will go to waste if no one sees it. There are a lot of tools that can help you promote your content today. Take advantage of them to increase the success of your content marketing campaign.
Final Thoughts on Making Your Content Marketing Campaign a Success
While content marketing does offer various benefits to small business owners, it’s also one of the most challenging to run and get right. You need to make sure that you’re delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time. It takes a lot of planning and persistence.
You may not see the results immediately, but if you’re consistent, you will be able to make it work. Eventually, if you keep revising your strategy with what’s working and discarding what’s not working, you’ll realize that all your effort and financial investments are worth it.
Ronak Kothari is the founder of RONKOT, a full-service digital marketing agency.