November 8, 2019
Many of you, including myself, are running a one-woman business. Because of this, the Internet comes in handy when we need to learn new skills and strategies, but here’s the thing: it can get noisy. As a result, small business owners tend to do things simply because literally everyone else is.
Content marketing is often approached the same way — business owners pursue it without knowing the true reasons as to why it’s important and how it can most effectively benefit a business. So today, instead of telling you all the things you “should” do, I’d like to give you an introduction to what content marketing is.
Content marketing is kind of a catch-phrase in the online business world. While there are a million definitions of it, the Content Marketing Institute defines it as:
“ 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.”
To simplify what this means, we can look at content marketing as being a series of actions like this:
Providing valuable and consistent content → capturing potential customers’ attention → converting audience to buying customers→ building a profitable business
Let’s break it down even further. Value is the bread and butter of a successful strategic marketing plan. One of the comments I hear people make often is: “I have been blogging and posting on social media consistently, but still haven’t seen significant results.”
While consistency is half the battle, the value of your content is arguably more important. Content needs to be created with intention. This leads to the next step: capturing your audience’s attention.
Have you ever landed on a website, but closed the tab within less than three seconds because you know you’ve gone to the wrong place?
As consumers, we are constantly looking for things that can benefit ourselves. If your website doesn’t capture someone’s attention within the first few seconds, you’ve lost them! So before you go and write content for any platforms, make sure to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes and ask why they should care and what they want to see. The goal is to provide as much value as possible from the moment someone lays eyes on your content.
What do you want to educate people about? How does your content help people recognize you as an expert they can learn from? What is your end goal for your content? Do you have something specific that you want to ask of people? These questions are great to consider while creating your content calendar (spoiler alert: we will talk more about content calendars in my next blog post. So stay tuned!).
Content marketing is important, especially for online businesses. As I mentioned earlier, people are consumers. However, that doesn’t mean that we are programmed to pull out our credit cards with no questions asked. Since people are constantly bombarded with advertisements and promotions, content needs to be attention-grabbing and full of value in order for people to actually invest in it.
It’s our responsibility as business owners to ensure the quality of our work and the overall experience we can give to someone before they become our customers, and content marketing can help you do this. Here are some of the benefits of content marketing:
Content marketing can help raise awareness about the problems a business strives to solve and how businesses can offer solutions.
Maybe you’re a fitness coach who wants to teach people the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle. Or maybe you’re a website designer who cares about refining the nitty-gritty details to help others create captivating online sites. Whatever your business focus is, you can create content that shows how you can serve your target market.
Content marketing allows us to build trust and connection with two main groups of people: (a) other like-minded people and (b) target customers. With valuable and consistent content, connection and organic engagement come naturally. However, this does take time to build, just like with any kind of relationship.
People are also more likely to share (and reshare) great content. This domino effect is where the magic happens — turning your followers into loyal fans. You are slowly warming them up towards hitting that “purchase” button even though they may not realize it.
Content marketing allows you to have more opportunities to sell your products or services in a non-salesy way. I’ve shared about the 80/20 rule before: 80% of content should serve clients by giving helpful free resources and 20% of content can include direct sales-related calls to action.
Content marketing also allows messages to be delivered in so many different forms, whether that be a video, a podcast, or a blog post. Be creative and test different ways of communicating to see which ones fit best with your business.
Hopefully, by now you have a better understanding of content marketing and how it plays a role in the online business world. I could talk about this topic forever, but I’ll stop here! Be sure to come back next Tuesday for more discussion on preparing a content strategy for 2020 (it’s going to be a good one)! I