There’s no better time than right now when it comes to content marketing for small businesses.
Here’s an idea of how far we’ve come: more than a century ago, John Deere, in the first known instance of content marketing, began publishing a periodical of helpful information for farmers, their key customer base.
Now imagine what an undertaking that was; plenty of capital was spent on paper, printing and mailing the journal. In the 21st century, delivering useful content to potential consumers is about as easy as clicking the “submit” button on your business blog or social media management system.
Prior to Web 2.0, the rules of content marketing were less evolved, employing scattershot delivery techniques and sales pitches that were more hype than anything else. Today, we’d likely call those crude attempts spam. Though the barrier of distribution has been knocked down by the Internet – no more printing up magazines – there’s a new sentry at the gate.
Google’s algorithms know the real deal from bluster, and will reward or punish them respectively in search rankings. Want to cash in on content marketing? Your content can’t be a loose smattering of keywords or other irrelevant junk; instead, think of yourself as a journalist, uncovering the sort of information and sage advice that will not only “brand” your brand, but help consumers make smarter decisions about your wares.
Think of a musician or small home recording enthusiast, concerned that her bargain basement microphone does no justice to her velvety baritone. In her quest for something better, she happens upon an online article detailing just the sort of microphones to use for keening falsettos, rich, muddy basses and even velvety baritones.
As this article is hosted on the site of a recording gear retailer, she’s not only got the information she needs to make an informed purchase – she’s also come up on the most convenient avenue available to actually make that purchase right away. So too must your small business, whatever its nature, provide content that’s worthwhile to your core consumers, arming them with the essential knowledge they’ll appreciate – and all the while, driving sales in your direction.
What’s the Word: If some inquisitive fellow were to walk into your shop off the street, what sort of friendly, motherly insider know-how would you regale him with about your services or the items on your shelves? Take that same tone when writing for your blog, social media postings, or on your company’s website, and your small business will do content marketing the right way and cash in on all that it has to offer.