Did you know that only half of small businesses today have a website? And of those online, What is Content Marketing? Since customers today are savvy to business’s direct marketing tactics, small businesses must approach their sales from a different angle – enter content marketing. Content marketing should be the first step in any business marketing plan. It taps into the first two steps of the buying process: awareness and research. As such, it is one of the most effective ways to draw in more customers than by using more traditional marketing methods. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Hundreds of people a day are researching online information on products, brands, and services and are seeking valuable information. If your small business’s content marketing efforts provide valuable, relevant and consistent content, potential customers will go to your site. So, what does content marketing look like? There are many types, but here are only a few: Infographics – Information is presented in a visual chart. There are usually stats, facts, charts and graphs displayed on an infographic. This type of content is shared three times more than other forms of content. Guides – These are longer, more detailed pieces of content. They are usually offered as a downloadable PDF or as a page on a website. Neil Patel’s various guides on QuickSprout are the most popular and viewed pieces of content on his site. Books – While you can sell your book online or on your site, the true marketing power eBooks have are as a marketing tool. Using it as an opt-in freebie drives people to sign up to your newsletter as well as to other services you might have. Videos – Videos are an untapped audio content strategy that is just getting noticed. Small businesses can use videos to market their brand message while providing useful information in a memorable way. Blogs – Having a blog on your company website instantly turns a static site into a dynamic, engaging web page. Having fresh new content on your site helps generate more traffic and gives you the content you need to share all over social media on a regular basis. Popular types of blog posts are lists posts, how-to guides, product reviews, round-up posts, and interviews. Your Content Marketing Strategy So, how do you start your own content marketing strategy? Together with your marketing team, you can quickly start producing valuable content and share it all over social media. Here is a 3 step approach. #1. Start With a Business Blog One of the easiest ways to generate great content on a consistent basis is with a blog. While you may not be comfortable writing blog posts, you can find someone who is. Hire a freelance writer who is familiar with B2B and B2C content and who knows how to write SEO and SMO friendly editorial. Not only does outsourcing your writing help relieve the burden you might have, it also saves you time from researching what to write about. #2. Get on Social Media Social media is the place to share your content, find your customers, and promote your brand. Make sure to fill out your social media profile completely and be aware of the 80/20 rule: share 80% of other peoples content and 20% of yours. Once on social media, make it a habit to engage with your followers. Pose a question on Twitter or have a discussion on Facebook. Reciprocation is important to people and can often turn them into brand ambassadors. If you are struggling to find your audience on social media, you might want to invest in using a data-driven approach to content marketing. Such places like Twtrland take the guess work out of finding influencers and people in your particular industry. #3. Add an Opt-in Form to Your Site Whether it’s just to grab emails or provide a newsletter, having those emails are essential to building your business. They are essentially your target audience and you can deliver tailored content to them. Just remember, you aren’t selling to them. You are building relationships at the same time as educating them about your brand, services, and business product. Realize that the more free content you give your readers, the more indebted they will become. Does Content Marketing Work? The success of content marketing in bringing new leads relies on your marketing efforts. When done correctly, it can: Draw 63% more traffic to your website – 54% are leads (B2B Community) Improve your SEO ranking by 44% (B2B Community) Increase the growth of your subscriber list and sales (B2B Community) On top of all this, it has a high return on investment as content marketing is an extremely low cost to execute. It doesn’t have to be hard to do. With some great ideas and time, you can produce share worthy content that engages your audience and speaks to them. You just have to remember to provide valuable content. If you fail to do this critical step, you run the risk of no one sharing your content, commenting or talking about it. So, tell me, is your content marketing strategy proven to be effective in producing leads in your business? Images: “Content marketing/Shutterstock.com“ ____________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. 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