Is your business using content marketing to create, nurture, and grow your customer base? There’s a good chance you are: 94% of small businesses and 93% of B2Bs have embraced content marketing. If you’re not seeing the benefits of this marketing strategy, or want to learn more about how to use it for your business, this is your roadmap to success.
Here are the five steps we will cover along the way:
- Start with a Content Marketing Strategy
- Understand Your Audience: Develop Personas
- Stay Consistent with Your Brand Message
- Distribute Your Content
- Measure and Improve Your Content
Ready to get started?
First, a few basics for anyone new to the world of content:
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy used to attract and nurture leads to your business through the process of creating and delivering useful, relevant information to potential buyers.
Marketing: Traditional vs Content
Traditional marketing approaches, such as print, radio, television, and other ads, tend to be seen as intrusive and interruptive. Marketing with content, on the other hand, appeals to an audience of information seekers.
Traditional marketing is a bullhorn. Content marketing is a conversation.
Content marketing can be more effective and less costly compared to traditional marketing; it can generate 3 times as many leads and cost 62% less.
Content is information. You may present it as a blog post, article, infographic, video, or audio format, but in the end you are giving potential customers what they’re looking for.
Consumers are seeking information to make a buying decision, and you can be there with an answer for them. If your content is useful and relevant to a consumer, you can start to earn their trust and nurture them into a lead.
How to Get Started
First thing’s first: start with a strategy.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin
While content marketing is less costly compared to traditional marketing, creating and distributing content isn’t free. Even if you’re a one-woman business doing everything on your own, you still need to invest time and energy into content creation.
“On average, B2B small business marketers allocate 31% of their marketing budget to content marketing.” - Content Marketing Institute
Don’t throw away an investment by failing to plan.
Take the time to develop a strategy if you want to actually achieve your content goals. Your content strategy will include information such as your content goals and the metrics you will use to measure its effectiveness.
Understand Your Audience
Who is your ideal customer? Your content should be created to be relevant and useful to a very specific person: your buyer persona.
If you understand your ideal customer, you can create
- The right content.
- At the right time.
- Distribute it to the right place.
- And get it to the right people.
If you haven’t taken the time to develop a well-researched buyer persona, do it now.
What’s Your Story?
Your content is a business asset that should reinforce your brand vision and help tell your story. The first interaction your prospective customers will have with your brand may be in the form of an Instagram post, an article, or a video you’ve created.
Stay consistent in your messaging.
The voice, look, and feel of your content should support your brand’s mission and unique selling point.
Distribute Your Content
Creating content is only half the battle. The second part of your content marketing efforts will go into distributing that content to your audience across multiple channels.
Distribution channels are typically referred to as owned, earned (non-owned), and paid.
- Owned channels include your list of email subscribers or your company’s social profiles.
- Earned distribution is similar to a word-of-mouth recommendation, such as a share or influencer mention.
- Paid distribution includes paid ads, affiliate marketing, and paid search.
Your marketing strategy should include a plan for utilizing owned, earned, and paid distribution to promote your content and get it in front of the right people at the right time.
Measure and Improve Your Content
You marketing strategy should have included specific metrics to track in order to measure the effectiveness of your content efforts. Take the time to analyze the data and see what works best for your audience.
Be agile and adaptable. If something is working, it is because your content is reaching the right audience at the right time in their buying journey and at the right place.
If something’s not working, be prepared to step back and make changes where needed.
Content marketing can be a tremendous tool for your business; driving growth and bringing in new customers. Follow the steps above and you can experience the benefit for yourself.