Jun 15

What Is Content Marketing? A Beginner’s Guide.

If you are a small business owner and you have been following marketing trends, chances are you have heard of the term content marketing. The importance of creating valuable content in today’s digital world cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, many small business owners do not have the time to constantly create content for their business blogs or website.

Furthermore, you also need the know-how because content marketing is not just about creating content. This guide is for small business owners that want to get started with content marketing. The guide aims to answer four basic questions:

  • What is content marketing?
  • How does content marketing help my business?
  • Does content marketing improve SEO?
  • How to run a content marketing campaign on a small budget?

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is all about information. It is a process of marketing a brand or business through sharing insightful, entertaining and educational information. It is also the practice of utilizing relevant content to offer value to target customers with the main aim of growing a brand or business. Content marketing focuses on producing and distributing consistent, valuable, and relevant content. This is to ensure the content can attract new customers and keep existing ones.

Content marketing has many definitions. But all these definitions can be broken down into several parts.

  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Target Audience
  • Business growth

Relevance

For content marketing to work for you, it must be relevant. The content must be relevant both to your business and your target audience. This does not suggest you create content that focuses on your business alone. The content should be connected somehow to the needs of your customers and your business.

Value

The content you create for marketing purposes must be valuable. In other words, the content should benefit the people that will read it. Small businesses create content entirely focused on their daily business operations. For example, they create content that offers updates about business practices. While this content might seem helpful, it does not solve problems most of your target audiences are facing. Your content should not be based on what your small business does. It should be based on the different problems your target audiences have.

Target Audience

Marketing, in general, is only effective if it focuses on a narrow goal. When creating content, you have to zero in on problems of a certain niche audience. This will make it easier for you to produce compelling content and build trust. The content you are creating might have the answers people to common consumer questions. Regardless, you can recreate these answers in a language your audiences understand. This will help them see how universal factors apply to them too.

Business growth

The ultimate goal of any small business is growing. When doing content marketing, it is easy to lose sight of this goal. Your small business can easily be charmed with the metrics of online marketing. It is important to know the number of people that visit your website daily. But also consider how you will use those numbers to grow the business. Besides tracking your metrics for content marketing, also work towards growing your business.

How does content marketing help my business?

Content marketing helps your business to grow. Throughout this process, content marketing can also add more benefits to your business. Content marketing can help you:

  • Build awareness of your online brand
  • Increase web traffic to your business website
  • Build a large following on all social media networks
  • Increase sales
  • Improve customer retention
  • Increase customer referrals
  • Build professional networks
  • Improve your email list

All these can be achieved because content marketing helps you to be easily visible in the labyrinth that is the world wide web. By creating valuable, relevant and consistent content for a clearly defined target audience, people will know your business. If you consistently create insightful content in a niche, people will recognize you as an expert. This will validate your brand and make it more respectable.

It is worth mentioning that people today want good information. This means that they will not work with any business that engages in a “hard sell.” People research services and products online before purchasing. They do their research by looking for good content that will help them make an informed decision. If an online user wants to learn something about your small business, they will learn in through articles and not advertising. If you do not have any article or content, you will lose out on potential customers.

Does content marketing improve search engine optimization?

Content marketing can help improve your search engine optimization efforts in many ways. Consumers use search engines to find solutions to some of their problems. Since your business is offering a solution your target audiences are looking for, but you need to know how to make them find you. Your consumers will only find your content if you have optimized it for search engines. It is easy to create high-quality content your consumers will find helpful. But the content will be worthless to your business if nobody sees it.

When you use your content marketing strategies to promote your online business, you are able to:

  • Publish content your visitors will find helpful.
  • Give your visitors answers to some of their questions.
  • Provide continuous content to major search engine crawlers. These crawlers will crawl your website, index it, and rank it high on SERPs (search engine results pages). Your website must pass a basic SEO checklist to be ranked high.
  • Gain social validation both for you and your website. Search engines use social validation to rank websites high on their SERPs.
  • Continuously use key phrases and keywords to generate more valuable content.
  • Publish high-quality content. When you publish high-quality content, your chances of getting backlinks increase.

As you can see, all these are content marketing strategies that can help you improve your online visibility.

An important point to note is that search engines are about content. Search engines always show the most relevant results of blog posts or content pages whenever people search for information. They rarely show the main website or landing pages. Your content marketing strategy will optimize your content for visibility.

Content marketing can also improve your search engine optimization if you understand what search engines look for when ranking websites. They consider:

  • The relevance and overall quality of your content
  • The key phrases and keywords you have used in titles, body text, and headlines
  • The number of internal and external links linking to content
  • Social media shares of the content
  • Overall quality of your blog or website

How to run a content marketing campaign on a small budget?

Most companies consider content marketing an expensive endeavor. This factor has made many companies stop funding content marketing campaigns. As a small business owner, you may not have the budget of doing a content marketing campaign. The good news is you can run a content marketing campaign on a very small budget. How do you do it?

There are several ways of running a content marketing campaign on a small budget. Content marketing can be cheap if you create a blog on your website and post content on a regular basis.

Creating a blog on your website

The cost of creating a blog on your website is free. A blog does not have to be complicated. You can basically create a simple page on your business website and start posting content. You should also note the following when creating this page.

  • Create the page on your main business website. You do not need to develop a new site and call it blog.mybusiness.com. This will mean you are creating a new link profile and a new root domain. The main goal of content marketing is to improve your SEO. You will not realize the benefits of search engine optimization if you create a new site. Rather, a format like mybusiness.com/blog will make sense.
  • Use a CMS (Content Management System). A CMS gives you a versatile blogging platform. If you will be hiring SEO services to help you with the blog, you will need a CMS. Moreover, it is free to use a CMS.
  • Link your blog from the home page. Linking a blog from the home page is one of the most effective content marketing strategies. You can position the link strategically on the home page so that visitors are able to click on the link whenever they visit the site.

It costs nothing to create a blog. If you are using a CMS, you can create your blog within minutes and start posting content. But if you do not have the ability to create a blog, hiring an SEO agency to do it for you will not cost much.

Before you hire an agency, check their SEO packages to determine whether you can afford them. These packages can range widely depending on how you want to increase awareness of your brand.

How often should you post?

You can post content on your business website for free, or you can hire a professional to do it for you at low cost. It is important to regularly post content because it allows you to gain quality backlinks, refine your business message and gain a higher ranking on SERPs. But content can be expensive depending on the quality you need. Professional content writers can charge from $300 for one post. Copywriters can charge as high as $10,000. So, how do you do it and where can you get quality content at low cost?

You have several options for posting content on your business blog:

  • Write content yourself
  • Assign a team to write content
  • Hire a professional content writer
  • Take advantage of content providers

Write content yourself

It will cost you nothing to write content for your business blog, except your time. Writing content yourself is a free option you can consider. It is also an option small online businesses go for when getting started with content marketing. However, this requires time. As such, consider posting content at least twice a week. On average, you will spend about four hours writing content for your business blog. This will allow you to spend other hours focusing on growing your business.

Assign a team to write content

This option will probably cost you nothing if you utilize your employees. However, before you assign a team to write content, make sure they are well versed on what your goals are. Secondly, assign this task to employees who can write great content. You should also pay attention to their current workload when assigning them the task.

Hire a professional content writer

It will cost you between $10 and $100 per post to hire a professional content writer. A content writer will produce better quality content. But to get high-quality content, you will have to pay more for content writing services. Since you want to run a content marketing campaign on a low budget, the $10-$100 range is what you should go for.

Take advantage of content providers

Content providers are very cheap, unlike professional content writers. Most of them charge from $15 per post and others charge cents per word. A 300-word blog post would cost around $15. The downside of this is that it might be difficult to find quality articles, especially on low budget websites. As such, expect them to have some errors once they are submitted. Higher quality content will cost you more, and top-grade content providers will charge around $25 for a 450-word article.

Conclusion

Content marketing gives your small business a chance to share advice, knowledge and even entertainment. You can achieve this through

Content marketing always pays for itself. Even with a small budget, you can heighten it into a campaign that will change your online business. Content marketing can popularize your business profile and can create a strong brand out of it. But you must have a good strategy before rolling out your online marketing campaign.

About The Author

Ajay Chavda is the co-founder of Weboptimizers, an SEO agency in Melbourne and has been involved with SEO for over 15 years. Between the digital properties and security forums he has managed, his articles have been read by approximately 50 million unique visitors.

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