Long gone are the days when a company could rely solely on traditional advertising. Now, every company, whether it’s a multi-billion dollar corporation or a local small business, needs to start investing in content as well.
If your company has a well thought-out content-marketing plan in place, you will start to see numerous benefits. Here’s how a content marketing plan can drive results for your small business.
Content drives leads. One of the main goals of content marketing is to generate leads and, ultimately, convert them. Today, companies with an active blog report 97 percent more leads than companies without one, which is all the more reason to start creating relevant content right away.
Content marketing is a two-way street where both the company and reader benefit. Instead of talking at customers, you’re educating them. It’s your job to provide content of value to your customers, and when you do that, they are more likely to learn more about your business and/or become a customer.
For example, Adobe created the content site CMO.com to reach senior marketers interested in learning more about digital marketing, hearing insights from other marketing executives and informing better decisions.
As a small business, it might be out of your league to create an entire website dedicated to content to fuel your business, but this same approach can be applied to your blog. Create content matched to the interests of your customer base to help educate them and associate your organization as the expert on your industry.
Content fosters user retention. Compelling content can keep customers coming back for the long term. In addition to turning to traditional news sources, customers will be begin looking at your brand for direction, advice and information on your area of expertise.
Content fosters loyalty because it can help build trust with consumers, and loyalty over time can equal more sales. Content is a wonderful way of spreading word of mouth about your business, which your most loyal customers can help facilitate.
When creating content, you have to tap into what your customers desire to build a meaningful relationship. Whole Foods provides healthy recipes, and Home Depot offers home improvement ideas via how-to videos, photos and blog posts.
Research conducted by Prof. David Franklyn of the University of San Francisco School of Law found that many consumers simply don't care if content is paid for by a business. People love stories, as long as they are of value to them without being heavily sales driven. You want to position yourself as a company that customers can count on for guidance.
Content increases visibility. Producing content for a variety of platforms is going to increase brand awareness and visibility. First, create content for your website to draw consumers closer to your online store and its products. Then branch out to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other blogs and websites where your niche audience is active.
When you dip into the right platforms and have excellent, relevant content on each channel, you’ll ideally be seen by your target audience as well as recognized by search engines, which will drive more traffic to your web properties. It’s important to listen to customer feedback in order to continually understand what they want to see from your company on a regular basis.
If you’re a small business owner, take note of Disney’s content marketing strategy. The corporation brands itself with a number of blogs including Oh My Disney, which has a BuzzFeed feel and features lists and posts about its movies, Disney Insider, which consists of company news, Disney Playlist, a site dedicated to the music produced by the company, and Disney Style, which focuses on fashion and beauty tips inspired by the company.
Notice that each blog caters to a different segment of the Disney audience. It isn’t necessary for a small business to create eight blogs targeting every audience segment, but it is important to create content to suit different segments through a varied approach to the blog posts you’re creating and the videos you’re producing.
What do you think are the most critical aspects of a successful content marketing plan? Let us know in the comments below.
Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.