The complete content marketing guide for entrepreneurs & small businesses

There are so many different forms of marketing that it’s often hard to know where to start and it can be particularly daunting if you’re just starting out in business. If you’re an entrepreneur setting up your own company, and you’ve never dealt with any marketing before, it may be difficult to figure out what is going to work best for your business. Here are some reasons why content marketing could work for you…

Content marketing is a relatively new form of marketing. It wasn’t even mentioned as a marketing method when I completed my Masters in brand management in 2010! Compared to advertising, PR and even good word-of-mouth, it’s practically a newborn. But, that doesn’t mean that it should be underestimated..!

With more and more entrepreneurs operating online, web-based content marketing is a viable and valuable marketing technique in its own right. Let’s take a look at exactly what it is, why it may work for you, and how you can plan some content marketing for your company without it taking you away from your creative work…

WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?

First of all, let’s look into what exactly content marketing is. There are lots of definitions that you can find online, but the best and most basic way to think of content marketing is the way a business uses different forms of valuable content to target and engage with their intended audience. To do that, companies will use a strategy, just as they would with any other form of marketing. Every piece of content marketing will therefore come with an objective and an expected result.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

If you’re wondering why content marketing is important, you won’t be alone. With so many different options to promote your start-up via social media why should you choose this? Well, content marketing is a great way to raise awareness of your brand and provide valuable information to your target audience. In doing so, you may also find that you get a boost for your brand’s image, your influence will increase, and even your profits can benefit from sharing ‘free’ information with your customers.

WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?

Content marketing isn’t actually just one form of marketing. It’s more the name given to a collective group of marketing forms that are all considered to be content. So, if you’re looking to find out a bit more about what content marketing involves and what is classed as a form of content marketing, here are some key examples below:

BLOG POSTS

Blog posts are probably the most well-known and recognised form of content marketing. And it’s MY favourite, of course! Although any web pages can be classed as content it’s blog posts that tend to stand out the most. This is often due to the type of content: creating a great blog post often means that you’re informing, inspiring, or entertaining a reader. For example, if you run a recruitment firm, writing posts on what to expect from a masters in education and other degrees will inform your readers, and you can share news pieces on industry trends to boost your workers’ knowledge. With creative content, your posts get traction and will begin to be shared in a word-of-mouth fashion.

INFOGRAPHICS

Another highly popular form of content marketing is infographics, although I don’t use these myself as they don’t suit the layout of my blog. An infographic is a form of graphic design that will contain relevant and interesting information, statistics, and even charts on the topic in question. They’re often long and vertical in shape so that readers can scroll down them easily. Infographics are a great visual way to portray the information you’re looking to share, and can help to get a message across to a time-poor audience.

VIDEOS

So far, I’ve talked about word-heavy content and graphic-heavy content, so of course video-heavy content is going to be another key contender in the content marketing realm. The popularity of YouTube shows that you need to be creating video content to access the right audiences – some of your potential customers might never read an infographic, but may be keen YouTube viewers. Try creating some video content to engage your audience, even if it’s just a quick smartphone video about your start-up or preview of a product you’ve created.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

So now you know a little bit more about content marketing and what it involves, you may want to know how it’s going to benefit your new business or side-hustle. There’s a range of different ways that content marketing can contribute to the successes of not only your marketing strategy but also your business as a whole. Here are some of the most important below:

SEO

First of all, content marketing can be great for your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). By now, you probably know just how important SEO is, but you may not have realised how content marketing can help with that. With content, you can increase your page ranking and domain authority, and earn inbound links.

PR

But that’s not all. Content marketing can also be a great form of PR too. PR is often all about building the right image and managing your reputation, both of which you can do with content marketing. By producing relevant, engaging, and quality content, your audience will remember you, relate to you and above all else, trust you. When you’re creating killer content, you have the power to boost your own brand, as well as engage with your audience – and hopefully achieve word-of-mouth style marketing via social shares.

TRAFFIC

Another way that content marketing can be seriously good for your business is thanks to the traffic you can generate. When you’re creating content, you’re building links, and we all know that link building is great for your website. With content; you can utilise keywords to target traffic and get new a audience to see your website. Try coming up with unique and different ideas that haven’t been covered before – but don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have time to do this on top of all your other entrepreneurial endeavours – you can outsource it!

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

By now, you should be pretty much briefed on all things content marketing, so it’s likely that you want to know how to get started. Although you may be excited and want to get stuck in, hold off. Because first, you need to create your own content marketing strategy if you really want it to work.

AM I SKILLED ENOUGH?

If you’re starting to worry whether you can do this, stop. Don’t panic! Content marketing doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. From creating blog posts and infographics to starting video, it may take time, but if you have the determination, you can do it. Alternatively, if you want to focus your business and creative work you can opt to use remote workers to help you out. Freelance agencies like Bloom Content Creation can come up with inspirational blog posts for you and can even manage your social content too. This frees up your time so that you can focus on working on your products and services while your SEO and marketing is taken care of.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

Finally, may also want to think about cost. If you have a tight budget, you can certainly create and execute your own content strategy, but it will take up a chunk of your time. Could you time be better used creating your products or taking care of your customers? When it comes to hiring professionals from a content agency, you will find they can work with the budget you have available and create a plan based on what you’re hoping to achieve. You could build a free website yourself (perhaps via blogging specialists WordPress) and then pay a freelance writer to put the words together as a happy medium.

So there you have it: the complete guide to content marketing! Hopefully you’ll now feel like you know everything you need to in order to get started. Best of luck and do let me know how you get on with your content marketing efforts 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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