The Benefits of Content Marketing
The main benefit of Content Marketing is that it works! Not overnight, but over time it works better than any form of marketing I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot over the years.
Content Marketing is a significant shift in the way we market products and services. Rather than continuing to interrupt people with ads, Content Marketing involves publishing content that is both interesting and useful to the audience you wish to attract, and to do so in such a way as to get the attention of the search engines, which in turn will be you your audience.
The Way We Now Make Buying Decisions
The main reason Content Marketing works so well is that we almost all now start our buying process online. For many items the entire purchasing process is online, but even when the purchase requires a visit to the store (you’re buying a car for example), we go online to do research when we have an initial interest.
We do this whether we’re shopping for a car, a dog walking service, or a new laptop.
The Economics of Brand Publishing
The economic factor driving this change is the fact that publishing via a website is now so cheap every business can afford to setup a website with a blog and get started. This is so common now it has been given a name, which is Brand Publishing. $12 a year for a domain, $60 a year for WordPress hosting, and away you go.
Then it becomes a matter of:
1) Knowing what to do and how.
2) Doing it.
Where the problem lies is in the doing of it. For a successful Content Marketing effort, someone within your business must devote an hour or two a day to the effort, and must continue to do so forever.
However, doing so transforms businesses.
Wall St vs Main St
Unfortunately unless you publish to your website yourself, it’s expensive as it’s labor intensive. Someone has to come up with ideas for stories and articles, write them, schedule them, and generally stay on top of the entire effort.
You can hire an agency, but must expect to spend somewhere between $2K per month and $10K per month.
This is fine for larger businesses with significant marketing budgets, but does not work for most small businesses.
The only way most small businesses can afford to bridge this Digital Marketing Divide is to pay mostly with sweat equity.
Brand Publishing for Small Business
Although there is a lot to know about doing this well, one of the critical success factors is being found helps you be found more.
It’s necessary to “prime the search engine pump” in a manner of speaking.
From an SEO perspective, being found means three things:
- Other websites link to stuff on your website.
- People comment upon your blog posts.
- People share your blog posts via social media, especially GooglePlus (I’ve seen Google Plus updates about a blog post rank higher than the actual blog post).
Once you’ve been found “enough”, being found more just happens, but you can greatly shorten the time required to achieve a high ranking by working with other businesses and collectively lifting up the rankings of each others websites.
The Value of Small Business Communities
And for that reason, small businesses need to work together to help each other out. Joining a community of small business marketing people for purposes of helping others is not altruistic, it’s a matter of you scratching their backs while they scratch yours.