But we’ve noticed, MANY of small business owners still don’t fully understand what content marketing is and why they should be using it.
While we’d love to save all of the traffic, leads, and sales for ourselves, we can’t. Not only is it not practical, but fortunately, we’re in the business of helping small businesses grow.
And for that reason solely, we’re taking this post to fully answer the question of “What is content marketing?”.
Today, we’re going to fully define content marketing, tell you why it is the BEST way to grow your business, why most people fail, and our top tips for success.
We’re a practitioner of content marketing.
We’ve done it for our company and other companies.
So if you read this whole post, we promise you that you will not have to search for another answer on content marketing.
Afterwards, there should be nothing else to do but to get to work.
Now let’s start.
The Power of Content Marketing
Instead of babbling about what content marketing is, we’d rather give you an example of content marketing from a customers’ perspective. Let us teach you how content marketing convinced someone we know to buy someone else’s products.
If you can fully understand this example, you will fully understand the power of content marketing.
So let’s get into it.
5 years ago, this person got into a really bad car accident. He got rear-ended in a 4-way car crash.
As a result of the crash, he had two herniated discs. And, he had nagging back pain ever since.
Over the years, he saw chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, etc. Nothing they did worked for him.
So a few months ago, when his back pain came back, he found myself on YouTube searching for ways to alleviate his back pain.
He saw videos that he liked.
He saw videos that he didn’t like.
But one channel he liked the most was Bob & Brad. They were funny, informative, and had a ton of videos on their channel.
After watching a few videos, they referenced a book to read to really understand how the back works. So he immediately purchased it – not knowing that it was the trust he had developed for them through their videos that led to him buying it.
He got the book and he literally read it in 3-4 hours from front-to-back. It was short but extremely valuable.
The information was gold – he has never encountered it before. It empowered him to take control over his back issues immediately.
They broke down the anatomy of the back, how poor posture contributes to back pain, and taught him how to reverse it.
In addition to these DIY solutions, they also referenced products along the way that can help his back pain – such as these Lumbar Support cushions.
It made so much sense that he immediately bought it.
He didn’t look at any competitors. He didn’t care if there were cheaper options.
He wanted to buy it directly from the author of the book so that he got the results he projected.
Over-time, he saw his back issues resolve and he bought several more of the author books on other issues, like neck and knee pain books for his family.
He has advocated for the author and they don’t even know who he is.
And that our friends, is the power of content marketing.
Now let’s define it.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the use of content to market your business.
Content is anything that you create that users interact with – blogs, videos, infographics, social media posts, downloadable PDFs, and so on.
Content is the way that people get to know your business, in a non-invasive way. They consume your content, trust you as an authority, and are more likely to do business with you as a result.
This sounds simple, right?
The Problem With Content Marketing
Why is content marketing so hard for most people to grasp for their business?
Why isn’t content marketing the sexiest and most popular form of marketing today?
Why aren’t YOU using content marketing?
We’ll tell you – it’s because content marketing is slow to work, and sometimes tricky to measure.
Let’s use the example we just provided.
That person spent about $250.00 on products from the author of the book he read.
Let’s say, for example, the author spent $10,000.00 to make the content. Let’s also say that 3-months went by, and 10 other customers did the exact same thing that person did – read the book and spent $250.00.
That’s $2,500.00 in revenue.
Loads of people we know will look at this and say “I spent $10,000.00, but only made $2,500.00. Yeah, the numbers aren’t adding up here. Let’s cut this off”.
They choose a short-window to measure ROI and fail to realize the long-term impact of content.
But if 300 people make the same purchases the person in our example did over the next 2-years, then the company would have made $75,000.00 from a $10,000 investment.
The reason why most companies fail at content marketing is because they take a short-term mentality toward content marketing.
They want it to work in 3-months, or 6-months. And when it doesn’t, they give-up.
But content is king.
Content will live forever.
So looking at a 1-month, 3-month, and sometimes even a 6-month window of the ROI of your content is simply immature.
For the example we used, we don’t see this book being any less relevant in the next 10-years.
And guess what? The first edition of this book was released in 1980 – over 40 years ago!
The author has passed away and is still making money from this book! We promise, we’re not making this up.
So hopefully this example teaches you the power of content and how it can help motivate people to buy your stuff.
How the Internet Amplifies Content Marketing
Content marketing is not new and has been the way of marketing for decades.
The only thing that has changed is the Internet – the Internet has shifted the power of content from publishers to anyone who wishes to create it.
Just think of television, for example. The TV show you watch is the content. The ads that run in between are the ads that businesses use to monetize the attention on the content.
Advertisers try to choose networks and events, like the Superbowl for example, to advertise to their desired audience. They are trying to advertise on programs related to their offerings.
Hence, this is why companies like Nike and Adidas sponsor major sporting events. The sporting event itself is the content that drives attention, and they are advertising to capitalize on it.
So, how does the Internet provide an advantage to businesses?
The Internet has provided everyone the opportunity to create and distribute content.
Why Content is King
Your business can create the content that drives massive attention. And, you can design it to relate precisely to your products and services, resulting in an even greater conversion-rate than any other form of advertising.
When people trust your content and associate you as an expert, you effectively eliminate your competition.
Things like pricing don’t matter anymore.
Your customers don’t have to evaluate every product in the market to make a decision anymore. People genuinely want to work with YOU because they trust YOU. Period.
When you reach that level of success in your business, you become unbeatable from a marketing perspective.
And this is why content marketing is the most effective form of marketing that exists today.
This isn’t an idea. The statistics already prove this theory.
All it takes is a few Google searches to see that content marketing is 10x cheaper than other paid advertising strategies.
And all it takes is long-term commitment from your end, and the right content marketing strategy.
But what exactly is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a clear plan of action to market your content. You can create it by doing the following:
How to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy in 2021
#1 Determine your brand story
The hardest part of content marketing is figuring out what in the world you’re going to talk about.
The easiest way to do this is to just start with the reason you started your company. Or, think about the problems your products solve.
Write-it out. Write out all the pain points your customers have that might lead to them buying your products or services.
Think about all of the questions people ask you when buying your products.
Your customers’ problems should be the focus of the content you will create. After-all, they are the ones you’re trying to help.
#2 Develop Quality Content
Everyone thinks they have to create a million pieces of content to be successful at content marketing.
What you need is quality content.
Over 2.5 million pieces of content are being published every day.
Trust us, the world is not hurting for more content. What they want is quality content.
Quality content offers a unique perspective and undeniable value.
Don’t let this stress you out, all of the quality is right there in your brain.
That’s right, as the business owner, you’re the subject matter expert already.
All you have to do is take your expertise and show people your perspective.
It’s like going to BMW and talking directly to the person who designed BMW. You’ll probably get more value talking directly to the owner than you would talking to someone who just started last week.
If you can, get as involved in your content strategy as possible.
You are the expert.
You are who your customers want to hear from. You are the quality in your content.
This doesn’t mean you have to produce all of your content. In fact, many people don’t.
We could go on and on about how the biggest celebrities don’t even write their own books.
But what it does mean is that you should set the stage for your content. Just give high-level direction.
Share case studies with your content team about how you helped a customer get from A to B.
At a minimum, you need to demonstrate your expertise through your content in order to create value.
Then and only then, will your content be considered “quality content”.
#3 Include offers at every stage of your content
Every piece of quality content should move people closer to doing business with you.
For example, social media posts should eventually lead people to your website, or blog.
Your blog posts should eventually lead readers to subscribe to your email list.
And your email list should eventually lead people back to your site to buy your stuff.
You can do this by creating value at every stage of your content.
Don’t just tell people to join your email list, include a related offer at the end of your valuable content. Give people something in exchange for deepening their engagement with your company.
And this doesn’t have to be a 100-page eBook. It can literally be a 2-3 page guide or checklist that re-emphasizes the major points of your blog and goes a little further.
#4 Promote your content
You will fall flat on your face if you produce great content that no one sees.
You must make sure that people see your content.
If you start from the ground up, you’ll probably have to start with some type of advertising.
For example, you can use social media ads, like boosted Facebook posts or promoted tweets to promote your content.
And over-time, this will lead into more blog traffic, in which you can encourage people to join your email list for more valuable content.
Promoting your content becomes very inexpensive once you accumulate a large amount of email subscribers and social media followers.
Once you’ve done this, you can rely less on advertising to grow your brand.
So those are our biggest tips to leverage content marketing to grow your business. Now, let’s bring it all home.
- What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the use of content to market your business. Content consists of any material your company creates for consumer consumption – blogs, eBooks, social media posts, and so on.
- Why is content marketing the BEST form of marketing?
It eliminates competition, builds undeniable trust, and is 10x cheaper than traditional forms of advertising over the long-term.
- How can you get started with content marketing?
By determining your brand story, developing QUALITY content, adding value to each stage of your content, and making sure people actually see it.
To learn more about content marketing or other forms of marketing to grow your business, go ahead and check out more of our blog posts. Or, you can also consult our team of experts for guidance that is personalized to your business’ goals and needs.