What is content marketing and why does it matter?

In this article, Liz Clarke takes a look at the subject of content marketing and how you can use it to make your business stand out from the crowd.

Author: Liz Clarke

If you run a business and have been looking for ways to attract more clients and grow your business, there’s a high chance you’ve heard of content marketing.

But do you really understand what that term means or why it’s important?

Content marketing isn’t a new concept. But if you do it right, it is a strategy and technique that will completely set you apart from your competitors and position you as the only person who can give your audience what they want and/or need.

What is content marketing?

First and foremost, content marketing is about giving your audience something they will value.

It’s about showing them the benefits of your product or service in a way that doesn’t ‘sell’. Giving them what they want and not interrupting their life with more noise.

It’s not about saying “Buy my stuff”.

It’s about saying, “Here’s everything you need to know about…..”

It is about educating your audience and helping them to become fully informed about the subject you’re already an expert in.

There are lots of models and labels for content marketing, but whatever you call it, it is about delivering valuable, timely and consistent content to your audience that helps potential buyers understand your product or service in a way that is useful to them.

By taking the focus away from selling your stuff, you help your audience get to know you and your brand, you build their trust and they grow to like what you stand for.

Why content marketing is vital for your business

If you’re reading this article you are probably the owner, or a senior team member, of a micro or SME business. And because you are reading about content marketing, it’s a reasonable assumption that you are working on ways to get better at marketing your business in order to achieve growth goals.

So with that in mind, why do you need content marketing?

Unlike big brands, micro and SME businesses don’t have the luxury of big marketing departments and seemingly bottomless budgets for digital advertising, TV or radio ads or full pages in glossy magazines.

Content marketing allows you to take on the household names and really stand out from the crowd. It enables you to build connections with the kind of people you want to attract as customers.

And the really great thing is, you don’t need a huge budget to get involved!

How content marketing can work for you

Here’s the thing.

For content marketing to be super successful, you need to become very comfortable with identifying the exact question(s) your ideal customer is asking the internet for and then giving them what they want to know.

Think about your own browsing habits when you are considering making any purchase that requires a level of research (i.e. not your typical weekly food shop or an impulse buy of something you just “have to have” 😉).

What do you do?

The most likely thing you do first is type a broad question or search term into your chosen search engine.

Then what?

Well, depending on the results, you’ll embark on deeper and more meaningful searches to gather more and more information. Along the way, you’ll start to get a picture of where you can source good quality information that answers your questions in a pleasing way.

You also, probably, quickly move on from websites that make. you work hard to find the information you want. Or the ones where you feel you are being forced to take a next step that you aren’t ready for…. That’s usually “Phone our sales team now” or something similar.

The thing is, if you don’t want to call the sales team/hit buy now/or share your email address to get their free ‘thing’, that means the website (and ergo the business) has not given you enough information to take the next step with them.

So what’s your next step?

You search again.

The odds are, your (future) customers go through that exact process when it comes to your website.

When you start to use your website to answer questions before they are even asked, you start rapidly building trust that you are a good bet to do business with!

What content marketing does for your client relationships

Let’s be very clear on one important point.

Your business isn’t B2B or B2C it is H2H – human to human.

People buy from people they connect with and trust. Even huge companies that apply strict procurement rules will, at some point, have made a decision based on human interaction.

When you start to create consistent content that delivers a clear message about your products or services, you start to build connections with your customers. This, in turn, breaks down the normal barriers we are all conditioned to put up against being ‘sold to’.

And the beauty is, content marketing has longevity. Both in its lifespan – you can reuse and repurpose content across different channels – but also in the relationships you build with the customers that your content attracts to you.

Give yourself a voice

One final piece of advice to keep in mind when you’re planning your content.

As a micro or SME business owner, it’s okay to let your personality shine through in your marketing. In fact, it’s what will really set you apart from your competition.

With that in mind, you need to make sure you are congruent.

Your content must be (brace yourself for a horribly overused but totally appropriate word!) authentic to you because your buyers are savvy, they will spot a disconnect from a mile off!

If they’ve bought into your content enough to take the next step and make an enquiry, the trust you’ve worked hard to build will all be blown apart in seconds if there is a lack of authenticity or congruence.

Using content marketing in your business

Making sure you choose the right partner to help you deliver content marketing is a vital step in creating the authenticity mentioned above.

If you’d like to find out more about using content marketing to grow your business, we would love to have a conversation. If it turns out that we aren’t a great match for you, we will happily recommend other amazing people to speak to.

Our clients include:

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