10 questions answered about content marketing – part 1
This is part one in our two-part series answering your questions about content marketing for small businesses.
All caught up? Read part two here.
Content marketing is the one of the most powerful tools in the small business owner’s arsenal.
It can be as inexpensive or excessive as your budget allows, and it generates the rarest commodity in the digital world – attention.
But what is content marketing?
It’s a diverse and creative way of connecting with people that even the smallest business can use.
So what is content? How do you create it, and what do you do with it?
Your questions answered
1. What is content?
Content is any piece of information you produce and send with the intent of creating some kind of response in a specific audience.
It can cover blogs, photos, videos, audio recordings (like podcasts and ebooks), graphics and everything between.
You might be trying to get people to like your page, visit your website, or simply find out you exist.
The images you see on Facebook, articles you read online, videos you watch on YouTube and infographics you view on Pinterest are all forms of content.
2. What is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute provides a great definition:
‘Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action’.
The condensed version – content marketing is about creating and distributing valuable content strategically and consistently to capture the attention and action of your target market.
3. Why do I need content marketing?
You have a lot of competition online. It can be difficult to rise above the background noise and get people to hear your message.
You need to offer something different – something that entertains or genuinely informs.
- Builds trust in your brand by consistently adding value for your followers.
- Gives you a huge library of resources to use in future social media campaigns.
- Boosts your SEO by consistently creating fresh content.
- Positions you as an expert in your field.
- Can be used to build and monetise your email list.
4. What am I going to say?
Think about your business and the value it offers.
How can you provide some of this value to your audience in an entertaining and informative way?
You don’t have to give away the secret to your seven herbs and spices, but providing small and actionable advice from your field of expertise can earn you a lot of loyal friends.
Do you sell custom-made motorcycle helmets online? Maybe create a series of posts about motorcycle road safety, how to fit a helmet correctly, the materials used in manufacture.
Show people how you do what you do. Why you do what you do. Who is involved in creating and delivering your service or product. And what they can do to extract greater benefit from it.
5. What if my product or service is ‘boring’?
Don’t get carried away by thinking you need to be something you’re not. Think small and delve into the detail of your business.
You could be working in the world of financial planning and believe your subject matter is too dry for content marketing.
You can make entertaining and informative content from even the driest of subjects.
How about producing a series of videos answering the 10, 20, 30 most-commonly asked questions you receive?
Maybe client testimonials would work in video or written form. Or an infographic with some interesting stats about the industry. Or a written guide walking people through the process of evaluating their current financial position…
The opportunities are near endless. Tap into your expertise, tap into your human resources and bring them into the light. They are your well of inspiration.
6. Who is my audience?
This is an important question because the answer will determine the type of content you create, its tone, and where you invest time distributing it.
A good place to start is your current customer base.
What are they interested in? Why do they purchase your product or service? What are their digital media habits?
If you don’t have a customer base yet, that’s ok too.
Start by looking at the benefits your business provides and identify the groups of people who might be interested in your product or service.
Create profiles of your ideal customers that include key demographic information like age, income, location and gender, along with an overview of their needs, pain points (i.e. problems) and challenges.
By understanding who you’re ‘talking’ to and what their needs are, you’ll be in a position to create content that interests them.