Marketing your business in the digital world can be fulfilling, challenging and a whole lot of fun. It’s all thanks to a concept called “content marketing,” which allows you to leverage the expertise and knowledge you already have to educate your customers and build intense brand loyalty.
In case you haven’t heard of content marketing until now, let’s start with a brief definition. In essence, you can create rich, compelling articles, blog posts, social media content, videos, podcasts and other media to give customers the information they need and can use. This may be done through a variety of avenues, including a company blog, white papers, social media platforms, YouTube and even well-written press releases distributed online.
We like to think of content marketing as a great leveler, allowing small businesses to compete with larger companies in ways never before thought possible. The days of big-budget advertising campaigns — while still ever-present — are waning, replaced by brands focusing on informative, shareable content that your existing and potential customers want to take in.
Let’s say you run a small business that sells homeowners’ insurance. In the past, a company like this would never be able to come close to competing with the industry’s largest players, simply because it would lack the advertising and marketing budget to do so. But that gap is closing, as smaller businesses now have the ability to, much more affordable than in the past, use social media and other digital platforms to provide quality content to their target audiences.
In this case, your business could maintain a blog in which you regularly post articles addressing your clients’ most pressing questions. One blog post could focus on what a homeowner should do to prepare for a major storm, while another could address whether or not they should purchase flood insurance based on where they live. You could then promote this content via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media.
Then, perhaps once every couple of months, you could develop a longer article, sometimes called a “white paper,” providing more in-depth insights and analysis for readers. You would most likely offer this valuable document to readers for free, promoting it through social media and an online press release.
And if you really get good at content marketing, you can explore making videos or recording podcasts to offer your content through additional avenues. The options are nearly limitless — if you continue to produce quality content that provides value to your readers, you’ll find that people will quickly take notice.
Rather than focusing on “push” marketing, such as newspaper ads, billboards and other more traditional means, we encourage all small businesses to consider the wide-ranging benefits of content marketing. You’ll likely find that it not only draws in more customers, but that it’s also a fulfilling and fun process in which to engage.
Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer | Viral Solutions LLC