Have you seen a video that you loved so much that you shared it on your Facebook page? Have you provided your email address to download an ebook because the information sounded interesting? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, you have engaged with content marketing.
It may surprise you that the average person sees around 5,000 marketing messages every day. That means businesses have to be more clever and strategic than ever about using marketing to cut through a very saturated market.
Content marketing can do just that.
What is content marketing?
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
That’s quite a lengthy definition so let’s unpack it a little.
- It is strategic, so you need to have a plan and a measurable outcome, such as clicks, downloads, email newsletter signups or purchases
- It’s about valuable, relevant information that your customers want to listen to, read or view
- Consistency is critical, so if you decide to start writing blogs, it’s best to do it regularly to build momentum
- Define your audience so you know who you are marketing to and where to find them.
Benefits of content marketing:
- Increased engagement
- Increased sales
- More focused marketing activities
- More qualified leads
- Better and more loyal customers.
Content marketing channels.
In marketing-speak, a channel is just a method or platform used to convey your message to customers.
Content marketing channels include:
- Social media (organic and paid)
- Your website/blog
- Ebooks, white papers and guides
- Email marketing such as newsletters
- Search engine optimisation
- Print marketing
- Pay per click advertising such as Google Ads.
A content marketing strategy or plan includes a combination of these channels that best reaches your audience. It’s worth testing multiple channels to see which ones work best for your business.
Examples of content marketing.
#1 This email from Leap in!
The email you are reading now is written for our target audience of NDIS providers. The intention is to provide useful and relevant information for business owners servicing the disability community.
Leap in! also has a newsletter for NDIS participants as well as a series of free ebooks that people can download to find out more about specific NDIS and disability-related topics.
#2 Nike’s You Can’t Stop Us ad
Nike is well known for its content marketing. The You Can’t Stop Us ad went viral in 2020 at a time when COVID-19 lockdowns put sport around the world on hold.
Nike’s content marketing tells a compelling story that is infinitely sharable. The stories connect to Nike’s purpose, which their website says is about making “ourselves, our teams, our communities and our world better.”
#3 Bunnings DIY advice
The Bunnings DIY advice on their website is a treasure trove of helpful information for home and backyard projects. Do-it-yourselfers can access hundreds of instructional videos, lists of tools and materials and step by-step-information for each project.
The information features Bunnings team members using products that can be purchased at (you guessed it) Bunnings. The videos and content can be easily shared to social media by both Bunnings and customers.
7 content marketing tips for small businesses.
- Clearly identify your target audience.
- Determine the platforms/channels where your target audience engages with your content and focus energy on those. Do people engage with your Facebook posts but ignore Instagram? Then focus on Facebook. There’s no need to be everywhere.
- Publish regular blogs that contain useful information for your customers (this will also help to boost your organic search results).
- Generate traffic to those blogs by posting them on social media and including them in a regular newsletter.
- Focus on evergreen content (topics that customers always want to know about and that doesn’t go out of date).
- Why do you do what you do? Find creative ways to tell your story. Go live on Facebook, record a video, write it down. Be authentic and honest.
- Repurpose the information from your blog for other platforms such as social media posts, recorded as a video, read as a podcast etc.
Finally, keep in mind author and entrepreneur Seth Godin’s advice:
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but the stories that you tell.”
Solve problems, answer questions, be helpful and tell your story.
How to approach content marketing if you’re not a writer.
Writing is not for everyone. Not all business owners are confident writers and many are too busy running their business to generate content.
If that’s you, perhaps consider some of the following options:
- Delegate: Find someone in your organisation that can write and include content writing in their job description.
- Outsource: Hire a freelancer or agency.
- Focus on user-generated content: Get customers to upload videos using your products, ask team members to record videos while they are at work (be sure to ask permission if you plan to share videos of customers).
- Build a community: Start a Facebook group and encourage people to ask questions and share their experiences.
Want more great content for your business?
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