As a small business, there are a lot of things that can get between you and your potential customers. There’s competition from other businesses, large and small. There’s also the issue of people not trusting traditional advertising. Or, they’re installing ad blockers at increasing ratesFortunately, there is a way to cut through the competition and noise: content marketing. What’s content marketing? Using content like videos, blog posts, how-to articles, and infographics can provide audiences with useful information. Content marketing for small business doesn’t explicitly promote a small business. Instead, you put the needs of the customer first. That way customers are prompted to take action that will benefit the business.

Traditional vs Small Business Content Marketing

On the surface, content marketing for small business might appear the same as “traditional” content marketing. The goals are often similar, like boosting website traffic or reaching new customers. But there are some key differences between small business content marketing and content marketing carried out by bigger businesses.

Marketing Budgets

One significant difference has to do with budgets. A larger company is likely to have deeper pockets when it comes to investing in content marketing.

Marketing Staff

Along with those deeper pockets might come more person-power. A big company can hire a multi-person, in-house team to execute a content marketing strategy. A small business, on the other hand, might be more likely to outsource its content marketing. It might also be likely to do less with content marketing compared to a big company. For example, a large enterprise might have the money to invest. They could create a blog, video channel, and multiple ebooks on a regular basis. A small business might have to choose one format over the others.

Brand Awareness

Another considerable difference between content marketing for small business and more traditional content marketing is that a larger company is likely to have more name recognition. Pretty much everyone knows IBM, Nike and Starbucks, for example. But a smaller company might not have the clout or reputation of the big-name brands.

While the differences between content marketing for small businesses and bigger companies might seem like they work to the advantage of the big brands, that’s not necessarily the case. In many cases — especially when it comes to content marketing — it’s better to choose quality of quantity.

5 Reasons to Try Small Business Content Marketing

1. Cost Effectiveness

Here’s another thing to know about content marketing for small businesses: You don’t need to pour money into it to see results. Content marketing tends to cost considerably less than other forms of marketing, and it usually results in considerably more leads, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

2. Thought Leadership

Costs aside, there are other reasons why content marketing might be worth it for your small business. If you are looking to establish your company as a leader or authority in your niche or industry, content marketing can do that. Consistently publishing accurate, informative blog posts or videos will establish your brand as a reliable source, and as a company people can turn to when they need more information on a particular subject.

3. Trust

Along with establishing your business as an authority figure, content marketing helps you build trust with an audience. Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising study found that brand websites were among the most trusted forms of advertising, with 70 percent of people saying that they trusted the information they encountered on a brand website.

The only type of advertisement that was more trusted than a brand’s website was recommendations that come from friends.

4. Drives Traffic & Improves SEO

When it comes to data and numbers, content marketing can help your business out as well. Regularly publishing new content — whether that content is in the form of blog posts, videos, or other platforms — can help to improve your business’s website’s ranking in the search engine results. Without a stream of new, fresh content on a regular basis, your brand’s website is going to look stale to Google and other search engine crawlers, which will cause it to drop in the rankings.

5. Promotes Action & Engagement

One last reason content marketing can be worth it for your small business is that it can guide people to take positive action. People often look for answers to their problems online. When your business is the one that provides the answers and solutions — and also provides people with a step-by-step course of action to solve that problem — it’s very likely that people who interact with your content will take those steps, ultimately resulting in more business for your small business.

6 Steps to Launch Content Marketing for Small Business

If the benefits of content marketing for small business have you convinced that it’s right for your company, what’s next? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to getting started with content marketing:

1. Set a goal.

Why is your business interested in getting started with content marketing? What is your specific goal? Remember to make the goal SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

2. Define your customers/audience.

Identifying your customers goes hand in hand with setting your content marketing goal. You need to know who you’re talking to if you want to connect with them. That way your content can answer their questions and solve their problems.

3. Plan Content

Think about the type of content you’ll produce. Are you a video business, a blogging business, or a combination? Knowing your intended audience can help you determine what content to focus on.

4. Create Content

Decide who’ll create the content. Are you going to have an in-house content creation team, or will you outsource to freelancers or a content subscription service? Do you want to work with guest bloggers or vloggers, or have one person or group of people responsible for all the content?

5. Distribute & Promote Content

Outline a plan for promotion. Once the content gets created, how will it get out to the world? Will you use social media to promote it, or your company’s email newsletter? Have you considered partnering with influencers and having them promote your content to their followers?

6. Track & Measure Content

Outline a plan for assessment/analysis. How will you track how your content marketing is performing? What key performance indicators can you use to determine whether your content marketing is on track to reach or exceed your goals? If your goal is to increase website traffic, you can look at the number of new visitors your site gets as a result of the content your produce. If your goal is to increase sales, you can trace the number of purchases that occur as a result of someone clicking through from a piece of content.

Getting started with content marketing for small business might seem like it’s going to be a lot of work, but there’s good news — your company doesn’t have to go it alone. A content marketing platform can streamline the process of launching a campaign, and provide assistance with everything from content creation to content promotion and analytics.

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