ContentCreation In this article we are going to talk about content marketing – what it is, why its great for small business and how you can develop a strong content marketing plan.

Content marketing is a newly emerging trend in which businesses create and share content online with the goal of acquiring new customers. This media can include videos, blog posts, white papers, eBooks, infographics, guides, photos, etc.

Content marketing is focused on its communication with the customer and fostering  relationships through providing reliable, resourceful information with the end goal of acquiring customers.

How should small businesses feel about content marketing?

Content marketing is great news for small business as it takes the pressure off their marketing budget. If you create exceptional content that serves your customer base and you properly and accurately distribute it, it acts like a sentient ad…it takes on a life of its own! People share it, interact with it, and keep on coming back for more. Typically there is no expiration date, the content never stop running (like an ad) and the only cost is creating it. Videos will be more expensive, blog posts, perhaps free!

The best way to get started with a content marketing plan is to mine your website, database, emails, and help desk for content. Your customers and prospects tell you on a regular basis what they need from you. Listen to their pain points and record their most frequently asked questions. You could even send out a survey asking them what type of information they would find most useful. They key is to not sit in isolation creating this content, it is to hone in on what would offer the most value in your niche/industry. And don’t forget the importance of distribution. If your content does not reach its intended audience, you lose. Make sure you have a website with a blog component where you can centrally house your content (remember, driving traffic to your website is your main goal. That’s where you can control the conversion rates). Next, a Social Media presence is going to be pivotal in distributing your content. You can also write for other online resources or blogs in your industry, or submit to a social bookmarking website like “Digg” or “Reddit”. The key is to go where your targeted audience is.

Creativity is always rewarded. The design and format of your content is very important. One example is the Infographic. The popularity of it speaks to the way that it tells the story of the facts and figures. A quick aside, a great place to go to create these, or hire someone who does, is I use it myself!

Consumers no longer want to be directly sold to. They are skeptical of ads, and are extremely busy. The goal is to use your content to spark a conversation with them online. Provide them with such value that it stops them in their tracks and positions you as an expert in your respective niche. Do you have a content marketing plan? What kind of content works well for you?


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