Cast your mind back ten years ago. The world was a different place. Twitter was only just coming into its own, businesses promoted their services in magazines and newspapers, and the iPhone was unveiled by the late Steve Jobs. Crazy how much changes in a decade, huh?
Today, there have never been so many ways to market your small business. Indeed, the internet has made it easier than ever to sell products and services to the world, and opening a bricks and mortar store is a thing of the past. Yet, despite social media and drag-and-drop website builders making marketing more accessible than ever before, there are still some things that you must do in order to promote your small business most effectively.
One of those digital marketing techniques is content marketing, which, simply put, involves you creating content (like blog posts, social media GIFs and infographics) and sharing it online. People are consuming more content than ever before – the chances are that you are consuming content from your favourite brands and influencers every day.
Five years ago, blogging and content marketing was considered a “nice to have” and helped you make a splash online. Today, it’s a technique that cannot be avoided. If you want to get ahead and grow your small business online, you need to start publishing today. Here’s why.
- You’re already behind
Visit one of your competitors’ websites and click on their ‘blog’ section. When was it last updated, and how many blog posts have they published? If the answer is anything more than you, then you’re already behind what everyone else is doing and you risk losing out on business because of your competitors’ forward-thinking actions and attitudes to marketing.
Every blog post your competitor publishes is one more than you – and another chance for them to rank on Google for a term that you probably hadn’t even thought about.
The good news is that you can still catch up – and you don’t even have to put in as much time and effort as they have if you know what you’re doing.
Brian Dean’s skyscraper technique is a great example of this. Simply take the content that your competitor has published and rank for, and make it ten times better.
Add resources, go into more detail, turn it into an infographic or bring video and animation to the table. Just do something that takes the content to the next level, and get it published as soon as you can.
From there, you can reach out to bloggers and let them know about your swanky new creation; if they like it enough, they might share it on social or link to it in their content.
- Content can convert
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of content marketing is its ability to help convert your visitors and readers into leads and customers. While the main purpose of your content should be to inform and entertain your audience, a secondary aim should be to extract data from readers or get them to enter your sales funnel. You can do this with a call to action.
Calls to action can be added to the bottom of every post manually (for example, “if you want to find out more about our latest products, click here”) or you could set up code in your website’s template or theme to automatically add a call to action to the bottom, or inside of, your content. You can do this on your website with a WordPress CTA plugin.
- Google wants to reward you
Let’s talk about search engine optimisation. Long-form, engaging content that offers value to your readers and is linked to by other bloggers will rank highly and help you increase the amount of organic traffic coming to your website. And so every time you add a new post to your website, you’re giving Google another reason to come back to your website and crawl it – and as such, you’ll have another chance to rank for a competitive term or search query.
If your blog section is empty or non-existent, then Google won’t be able to give you the same ranking benefits as a site that has lots of juicy content published on a regular basis. That means it’ll be harder to rank for your keywords and harder to stay there if you do.
- You’re future-proofing your business
The truth is that nobody knows where the digital marketing world will be in ten years’ time. Of course, we’re beginning to make strides into live video and virtual reality, but there’s still a need for written, engaging content – and there probably always will be. Just like how radio and television revolutionised news and media, video and VR will change how we consume content – but that doesn’t mean ‘traditional’ methods like written content will die out.
By writing content on a regular basis (like once a week, twice per month) will allow you to create a “bank” of valuable resources that drive consistent traffic to your website. And as your material becomes stale or outdated, you can go back over them and refresh and reuse them to keep them at the top of search engine results pages. After all, Google is known to favour older content than fresh content that’s only just been published.
We’ve only just scratched the surface on why content marketing is so important for your business, and there’s certainly more than we could cover. Like how content can streamline your social media strategy and send more referral traffic to your website; or how content can help you generate backlinks through blogger outreach and guest blogging.
The truth is that the benefits of content marketing are endless, so starting today will help you land more customers and keep your business as competitive and current as possible. So what are you waiting for – it’s time to dust off your keyboard, fire up your CMS and start writing quality content that your customers are just waiting to read. Good luck!
About the Author
Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a marketing agency specialising in content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimisation.