If you run a small business, then you’ll no doubt want to find ways to market your products and services and drive more traffic to your website. Digital marketing techniques such as social media and paid advertising on Twitter and Facebook can be very effective, but they often require a budget and can be expensive for start-ups or marketing beginners.
If you’re looking for an alternative marketing channel to spread the word about what you do, then you should consider content marketing. Content marketing, in a nutshell, involves you creating content (whether that’s a blog post, an infographic, a video, etc.) and using that content to drive traffic to your website or social media channels. with a consistent content marketing effort you will see a significant increase in most of your metrics in your web analytics tool. Below, a round up of some of the biggest benefits of using content as part of a digital marketing strategy.
It positions you as an authority figure
Picture a potential customer logging onto the internet to search for a company like yours. If they went onto your website and saw three pages with minimal content, and then went on to a competitor’s website that was packed with valuable tutorials and guides, which one do you think they’d trust more? The chances are, they’d leave yours and head to the other’s.
Quality content can make your brand appear more valuable and switched-on, and can help to position you as an authority figure. The benefits of being seen as authoritative in your niche stretch beyond customer engagement, too; journalists will be more likely to reach out to you for quotes and comments and bloggers will be more likely to link to your website.
It gives you content to share on social
Social media can be an incredibly powerful tool when used in the right way. But if you’re new to marketing your business online, you may be tempted to tweet and Facebook other people’s content – and that content could be from a competitor. Writing your own content that answers your audience’s questions and provides value can give you a boost and help to drive referral traffic to your website. Every extra click could be another customer, so it pays to put in the hard work and get customers to engage with the material that you produce.
It helps you rank on Google
Every time you publish a new piece of content, you’ll be giving Google and other search engines a reason to come back to your website – and crawl it for new material. So, think of it like this: every blog post you write is another “shot” at ranking on Google. Say for example you run a florists and you write a piece of content on how best to arrange a flower display – if your content provides value and is seen as authoritative by Google, your blog post might come up first when people search for “how to arrange a flower display”. In time, when you write more content and answer more questions from customers, more of your posts will appear on search engine results pages and you’ll enjoy organic search traffic as a result.
It provides collaboration opportunities
As you become more confident as a writer and produce more content, you’ll no doubt build your name in your industry, which could lead to all sorts of opportunities. Bloggers such as Neil Patel and Ramsay Taplin have made names for themselves by writing quality content and speaking about what they do at events. If you want to open another revenue stream for your business, this could be the way forward – and you could even share your knowledge and expertise by writing an eBook or running a course about your niche or industry.
Content marketing also gives you the chance to collaborate with other bloggers. One great way of spreading the word about your business and growing your brand is through guest blogging – that is, writing content for another person’s website. Guest blogging can help you to build links, put your products and services in front of another audience, and increase your authority and notoriety in the blogging world. And it can be incredibly powerful; it worked for Buffer, helping them climb from zero to one hundred thousand customers in a year.
It encourages people to buy from you
If you write really good content that provides value and answers questions, then people will be more invested in your brand. Keep them coming back to your website by engaging with them on social media and getting their email address, and you’ll create a community of fans and commenters who come back to your blog time after time. That’s a powerful position to be in, as it can help you directly sell your products and services, and create new ones based on their feedback and wants and needs.
You could directly mention your products in your content (so, in a post titled “5 ways to save money on your car insurance”, you could link to your car insurance service), or add a coupon code or special offer in a call to action at the bottom of your post. Alternatively, you could more subtly promote by collecting email addresses and partaking in email marketing.
Nobody said that writing quality content that answers questions and provides value would be easy – and if you’re not a natural writer, it might take you a while to get into the swing of things. Play around with creating different types of content (so, for example, if you don’t want to write blogs, you could use Photoshop or Canva.com to create infographics and other graphics, or get out your camera and film video tutorials) and see what works.
Whatever you decide to do, there’s no doubting the benefits of content marketing for businesses of all shapes and sizes. So what are you waiting for? Have fun and good luck!