Content marketing is the hottest thing in the marketing world right now. There’s good reason for that. It’s effective, and it helps your brand carve out a niche in the hearts and minds of consumers. Companies like Whole Foods, GE and Lyft use content marketing to great effect.
But those are big companies, with big marketing budgets. if you’re a small business owner or soloprenuer, you may be wondering if content marketing can work for you. The answer is yes.
What Content Marketing Is
Simply stated, content marketing is the practice of using content to promote your brand, company or product. The content marketing institute has a fancier definition but it comes out to about the same thing.
If you’re like me, your probably thinking, okay abstract definitions are great, but what does that look like in practice?
How to use Content Marketing
Content marketing can take many forms, and that’s part of why people are sometimes overwhelmed by it. To return to our earlier examples, Whole Foods has a thriving blog where multiple bloggers share tips on healthy eating, food preparation and general health.
General Electric has an Instagram account where they share beautiful pictures of science and engineering in action. And Lyft encourages users to share their pictures and stories on Facebook and Twitter using #WhyILyft.
So content marketing can be pictures, text, videos and more that support your brand message. Sharing them with the public allows you to entertain, inform, and connect with your customers and potential customers in ways that go beyond the standard seller/buyer relationship.
Why your Small Business Needs Content Marketing
Content marketing can help small businesses rise above the noise on the internet. With traditional marketing, like a banner ad on a website, you put your brand in front of people and hope they at least glance at it before clicking through to the article they came to read. If you write a blog that’s useful and entertaining (like this one) your advertisement will BE the article they came to read.
Instead of intruding on customers when they’re doing something else, you become the main event, the person they came to see. You get more of their attention that way and build more trust. As any small business owner knows, trust is the foundation of a successful business-customer relationship.
When you get big enough, or have a strong enough following, you may be able to simply build a platform and allow customers to post their own content, like Lyft does with their why I lift campaign. But until then you’ll need to make content for yourself.
How to Create Content for Marketing
If you’re not all that comfortable on the internet, or if social media drives you crazy, creating content for marketing may seem overwhelming. Remember, you don’t have to do everything. Just do one thing well.
Pick your platform. Blogs work well for businesses with a lot of stories to tell or information to share. Video blogs work when you want to show customers how a product works, or when you’re more comfortable talking than you are writing. Instagram is great for companies with striking images to share, ditto for Pinterest.
If you get really ambitious, you might try creating whitepaper or eBook as a free giveaway in exchange for an email address.
But for now, keep it simple. Pick one platform and make a plan, then make some content. Come back here next week for some guidance on how to make your content marketing plan.