Content Marketing Definition: What is it and why does my small business need it?

The estimated reading time for this post is 6 minutes

Content Marketing is a serious thing now with some brands investing millions in the strategy and others increasing their investment every year. You read articles and hear chatter about it everywhere.

But you’re still on the fence about making the move from one of the 47% of SMBs that’s “just a business” to one of the 53% who are “content publishers.” You’re asking, “Is it worth seriously considering or just one more thing for you to do? And, what exactly is it?”

Let’s answer the second question first. Content marketing is the strategic marketing activity focused on consistently creating highly valuable, relatable, shareable content that you distribute to your highly-targeted audience to attract them and keep them focused on your brand.

Content marketing includes blog posts, videos, Facebook memes, photos and messages you share on social media. It also includes white papers, case studies, ebooks, and other downloadable content usually found on landing pages on your website. 

There are many audiences online. It’s important your content target the ideal customers for your products or services to generate qualified leads. Otherwise, the activity is a wasted effort.

Three Major Benefits of Content Marketing

There are such significant benefits to content marketing that it’s more than worth considering. When yours is based on a formal written strategy, it’s worth executing. In fact, it’s one of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy today. 

Done well, the first benefit of content marketing is obvious. It raises target audience brand awareness of your business and can get people excited enough about your brand to become clients or customers. It’s meant to change or enhance target customer behavior in your favor. And, that’s what you want right? But, are there other long-term benefits to content marketing? Yes and here are three.

It can brand you an expert or thought leader in your industry or profession.

By creating and sharing original, informative content about your business, product or profession, you can be seen as a product expert or thought leader. Whether you have a brick and mortar store, an e-commerce site or are a virtual service provider, you want to be the “go to” business for that product or service.

For example, you’re a real estate agent who primarily sells houses and want to be known as the “go to” seller’s agent. You become the expert on how to get houses ready for sale and sell them fast. That includes how to stage them and how to attract the right buyers to the kinds of houses you sell. Show sellers how to get into the heads and hearts of buyers. 

Create blog articles, videos and photos you can share on your real estate agent’s Facebook page and then tweet them out. Share the high-quality content of complimentary professionals like mortgage brokers, home designers and stagers, real estate attorneys and home inspectors. Do that and you’ve begun your expert journey with effective content marketing.  

It drives qualified lead traffic to your website.

In most cases, your content on social media is linked back to your website. So, content marketing provides an excellent opportunity to drive qualified lead traffic to your website to view your additional information and get contact information for you.

Make sure your content is SEO-friendly and with keywords related to what your brand offers to help your audience thrive so it is identified in search with you. Create content meant for your specific target market and share it the social media platforms where they live to make sure that target market sees it and goes to your site.

For example, financial planners should maintain a robust blog and social media presence. They also might strongly consider contributing content to consumer publications like Forbes and business-to-business blogs like Think Advisor or Financial Advisor and be interviewed for others. 

Also, make absolutely certain your site is well-designed and is easy to navigate. It should contain regularly updated useful, well-written or developed, original and editorial copy and content.

Financial planners, real estate agents, and others should be sure your prospective clients find answers to their questions quickly on your website or social media platforms. Always make certain that those answers are thorough, professional and problem-solving, not simply promotional.  

It could lead to media opportunities.

The better your content and the more robust your content marketing strategy, the more likely you are to get the attention of the media or influential bloggers.

For example, you’re an independent insurance agent with expertise in helping affluent clients buy the right level of coverage for their property in high-risk areas like tornado alley. You’re the author of several guides to choosing the right property coverage for second homes and businesses. You’re also co-author with a property insurance professor on a white paper for your industry trade association.

The white paper shows other agents how to become trusted advisors who properly educate their clients in high-risk areas about available insurance products and key services available from agents during catastrophic insured events.   

Your marketing team or consultant develops useful, compelling and shareable content and executes a formal strategy to distribute it across digital platforms. They’ve been following the right individuals on social media and developing relationships with the media using content marketing and related social media strategy. Your content marketing is strong.

Now, with tornado season or another time where damaging weather events produce property damage like wildfire and hurricane seasons approaching, you could start receiving interview requests. You might find yourself on the radio, television or other media talking about the importance of a carefully-constructed property insurance coverage strategy or the value of your white paper.

That could lead to lucrative consulting opportunities, speaking engagements, increased revenue as well as sales and service awards and other community recognition for you and your agency.

These media opportunities also are available for other professionals like writers, financial advisors, consultants, private equity or debt financing professionals with unique products and strategies. They can help you achieve the same outcomes as the independent insurance agent in the above example.

Content Marketing Success Means Getting Started

Now that you understand just a few of the benefits of content marketing, by all means, create and engage in a robust content marketing campaign. Make sure your content is outstanding. If you can’t write or develop content yourself, hire someone who can.

Be certain it’s someone who is an expert strategic editorial content writer and digital marketing professional and then take their advice. Trust them to write your content well based on their experience and to help you integrate it effectively into your content marketing program.

In some cases, you’ll want to consider hiring a professional graphic designer, photographer or video production firm to create high-quality content for you as well. The better content you create, the more shareable it is. The more it’s shared, the more excitement about your brand you can generate and the more sales and other opportunities you can expect.

(c) 2013-2018. Dahna M. Chandler for Get Money Moxie, Inc., a division of Thrive Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission of the author.


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