Content marketing is one of the greatest tricks that any company has up its sleeves when it comes to being seen by a large audience and converting more visitors into paying customers. For small businesses though, it is even more valuable and in theory it can help you to gain a gigantic advantage – as long as you do it right.
Read on and we’ll look at what content marketing is, why it’s so valuable and how to use it to your advantage.
What is Content Marketing and Why Does it Matter?
First of all – what is content marketing?
Essentially, content marketing means using content – i.e. the written word – in order to reach a bigger audience and to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
The main way you do this is by posting to your own blog or website. By regularly updating your site with new content, you can show that you know your stuff and you can gradually gain the trust of your visitors. This will then mean that they start looking to you for advice on the subject in question and thus when you come to recommend buying a product, or you explain that you have an ebook with more information, they will be more inclined to listen. Likewise, if they find themselves needing web design/interior design/a new hair cut, they will want to seek out the person they know is an expert in the field.
But posting regularly to your blog isn’t really going to help you build much trust and authority if no one is going there to read it. Fortunately though, content marketing also rather takes care of this aspect for you too.
That’s because content marketing gives you a valuable product – your posts or articles – that you can use to entice visitors to your site.
One strategy that falls under the banner of content marketing is ‘guest posting’. Here, you write an article for another blog or website that is popular in your industry and then you offer to let them publish it for free in exchange for a link back to your site and perhaps a byline about you and what you do.
This way, the other blogger benefits because they get free content that will bring more visitors to their site – and you benefit because you expose your brand to more visitors and get a free inbound link that will help you with Google.
When you’re not guest posting, content marketing can still help you to get more visitors to your site. That’s because content marketing is essential for SEO (search engine optimization) because it’s filled with writing and writing is what people search for when they use Google.
At the same time, you’ll be sharing each new post you create on social media and that way you’ll be able to bring more people to your site with promises of useful information, how-tos and entertainment.
How Content Marketing Works
So that’s the basic idea behind content marketing and that’s why it is an essential tool for any business.
To make the most of this though, you need to understand how content marketing works. And in a word, the main point to take home is that it works gradually.
In other words, don’t expect someone to visit your website, read a post they like and then pay for your services. That’s not content marketing.
Instead, expect someone to accidentally stumble upon one of your articles when they’re using Google (perhaps that’s how you found this article) or when they see it on Facebook. They might read the content, be impressed but then think nothing about it from then on.
It’s only when they find your site a second and third time and are continuously impressed that they might make a note of your site name or they might bookmark your site. When they’ve done that, they may then even seek out your site in their spare time or perhaps subscribe to your feed or mailing list.
The next step is for them to start actively seeking out your website because they know you’re an expert. Now, when they want to know about a subject they’ll come and find you because they know you’re reliable. This person has now become a fan and to them, you’re a thought leader and a top authority. These people might even go as far as to recommend your site to other interested individuals, or to reference you in their own work. Eventually some blogs become ‘household names’ this way almost.
The objective of content marketing is to repeat this process over and over with countless new readers until you get to the point where you have a legion of loyal fans. This way you can considerably expand your reach and your brand recognition but also build a relationship with your visitors so that you become an expert in their eyes.