I would like to view content marketing from the vantage point of small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs particularly those who are not yet familiar or have not used yet this marketing approach.
Let us discuss some basic facts about content marketing.
Who uses content marketing
Many small businessmen tend to believe that content marketing is only for big businesses which have the budget to hire an in-house team or big content marketing agencies to do the job for them.
Some are not even aware of content marketing.
But the fact is content marketing is used by both big and small companies worldwide.
Big businesses have the larger share in the use of content marketing as they find that it works for their brands.
Small businesses, even sole proprietors, in different countries have recognized the effectiveness of content marketing.
What is content marketing
Let us go back to my previous blog on content marketing which says:
“Content is the idea, topic, theme, or message conveyed through all media you use to communicate with your target audience. It includes your websites, blogs, social media posts, newsletters, emails, printed marketing materials, images, infographics, podcasts, videos, webinars, publication articles, press releases, advertising in traditional and non-traditional media, and other communication media you use to reach out to your market.
Content marketing is a way of creating and delivering in a consistent manner useful, relevant, and engaging content (see definition above) to a target audience or market.”
Why use content marketing
Content marketing is not about promoting your product, service, or brand directly as in making a sales pitch.
You use content marketing for many good reasons but the most important are the following:
To build credibility, authority, and trust
It is about educating your target market/audience about the product or service that your industry generally produces.
If you are in the furniture industry, for example, you can discuss in your content about household furniture in general or living room furniture in particular without mentioning or highlighting your brand or any brand for that matter.
Prospective customers would like to get informed without the hassle of a sales pitch. They gather as much information as they can, evaluate their options, and then make an informed decision when they are ready to make a purchase.
To acquire new customers and develop brand supporters
If you consistently come out with useful, relevant, and engaging content, you gradually build credibility and authority about your industry’s products or services. Consequently, your audience develops trust and confidence in you and goes to you when they need the product or service.
You may actually guide your content readers through appropriately timed content to eventually become buyers and even brand supporters.
To generate more sales from existing customers
Having developed a brand following, consistently providing your target market/audience with desirable content will enhance patronage from current customers.
Following the furniture example, an existing customer will decide to buy their next piece of furniture after buying their first set from you as you continue to build authority and trust in the furniture market.
Three fundamental elements of content marketing
This is the set of people or businesses you are aiming at to sell your product/service.
You conduct a market research to know as much as you can about your target audience/market.
From the information you gather from research, you create a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a hypothetical profile of your ideal buyers based on demographics, interest, motivation, preferences, and attitude that can collectively drive them to decide to do business with you.
With a deep understanding of how your prospective customers will make a purchase decision, you can align your content marketing efforts to attract, guide, and encourage them to do business with you in the light of your product/service best meeting their expectations and interest.
Aside from establishing your buyer persona, you have to be clear also as to what needs, problems, or pain points you are exactly addressing. This, after all, is what your target audience/market is looking for in content that they engage with.
What makes your content engaging is how you set yourself apart from the competition.
Your competitors can say almost the same thing as you do. But what makes your content more interesting and more engaging is how you present products or services uniquely or more convincingly than the competition.
You have to state clearly a unique value proposition.
In the course of the market research you have conducted, you would come to know where your target market/audience spends their time outside of their usual activities like work, sports, leisure, and recreation.
Do they watch TV, listen to the radio while driving, read newspapers and magazines, or do they spend more time online? Do they surf the internet, engage in social media, read blogs and/or newsletters, or read news online?
Knowing their offline and online habits and preferences would give you ideas on what formats and what platforms to use in publishing and delivering your content to your target market/audience.
Starting with these basic facts about content marketing, you can then eventually proceed with crafting your content marketing strategy.
Aside from content marketing, you may also check out equally important issues that can impact your business.