Content marketing can be a paradox for many small business owners.
It’s fun and simple enough to start, yet to be effective content marketing requires planning, consistency, testing, and analytics. Your company’s content can be long or short, serious or funny, but should always be well-written and provide value. It requires patience, but just might be the most powerful tool you have to grow your customer base and strengthen customer relationships.
What are the basics of content marketing? How can you get started? What are the benefits? Get started with our Quick Guide to Smart Content Marketing:
What’s the difference between earned, owned, and paid content?
Is one better than the other? Not all content is created equal. Or should we say, not all content attracts the same viewers, is driven by the same ideas, or utilizes the same mediums.
While every organization should place a high value on earned content that is derived from publicity gained through promotional efforts, we don’t believe one is better than the other. Owned content is high quality, original material and it’s generally well-received by search engines and readers alike.
When you begin to build an audience, paid content can be particularly useful to get the right eyes on your material; earned and owned content is what keeps viewers coming back. All forms of content have their purpose, and ideally you should utilize each to meet specific goals.
How should I integrate content marketing?
Should I outsource content marketing or create content in-house? Integrating content marketing into your overall marketing strategy requires everyone’s participation—not just marketing. On your own or with the help of a partner, determine your goals and direction, your audience, and the channels you want to test.
In all likelihood, you already have a lot of content on your hands—it might just need some fine-tuning, or that storytelling angle, before being distributed. Focus your efforts on content that will drive more web traffic, or help you meet other quantifiable goals. If you don’t have the resources or skills in-house, consider outsourcing, or consulting with a content marketing specialist.
How much content should I be creating?
A lot. Create quality content on a regular basis in order to establish a good rapport—trust—with your audience. The type of content created will be different for every brand, but it pays to test content in the beginning, then review metrics like shares, return visits, and engagement to see what content is most compelling to your audience.
What should we write about?
Fast Company published an article a while back entitled, “Why Customer Pain is Your Most Important Resource.” It sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth: as a brand or a marketer, your ability to understand what troubles your customer most will be your key to reaching them in a way that resonates. “Look for the pain,” as the article notes. “Focus on healing.” The best content provides inspiration, motivation, relief, promotes passion, and offers a solution.
Who should our content marketing target?
Who desires your product, program, or service? Who shares your values? Your product is the answer to something. What’s the question, and who’s asking it? Understanding your target audience is one of the first steps you should take before you dive into content marketing. Building a community and an audience is another matter, and sometimes requires help.