I’ll be the first to admit that writing a blog post is one of the likeliest tasks to keep slipping to the bottom of the to-do list. So many more immediate concerns take precedence — responding to emails, joining meetings, editing website copy, posting on social. And I admit this working in content marketing.
For small business owners, these demands on your time are even more immediate and, in some cases, even more pressing. But content marketing is more than just writing blog posts. It’s setting a foundation to grow your business online.
Here, I’m going to share six key benefits of content marketing for small businesses:
- Growing your online reach.
- Establishing your authority.
- Holding your ground against competitors.
- Teaming up with other businesses.
- Educating your audience.
- Generating leads for your business.
Here we go.
1. Content Marketing Grows Your Online Reach
In October 2020, 4.66 billion people used the internet — that’s 59% of the global population. Whether you’re planning for it or not, your customers and your potential customers are looking for you online.
That means establishing your online presence is essential. Having a website is the first step. Claiming social profiles is another. And you want to make sure you have your Google My Business profile optimized, too. That way when anyone searches for your business, they can find information about it online.
With content marketing, though, you can start reaching an audience that isn’t looking for you yet.
By creating content that targets keywords related to your business, you can start to rank on search engine results pages, or SERPs. For example, if you run a landscaping company, you might target keywords like “summer lawn care tips” or “best annual flowers.” People searching for these terms are interested in landscaping, even if they might not be looking to book a service right away.
This strategy might sound like just writing a blog post — and easy to push off — but it works. In fact, a HubSpot study found that companies who actively write and publish blog posts get 55% more visitors to their websites.
2. Content Marketing Helps Establish Your Authority
For small businesses online, it’s important that your website is authoritative and credible. You can include trust signals, like customer logos or user reviews, to show your visitors that your business is not only real but effective for real people.
Another big way to establish your authority and prove your credibility as a business is through content marketing. The Nielsen Norman Research group found that having comprehensive, current content is one of the top four ways that a website can prove its credibility:
In our study, users appreciated sites that contained a large amount of relevant content because it showed that the organization was well informed and committed to helping its customers. For example, participants favorably noted moving companies that presented moving tips such as how to best pack boxes to prepare for the movers.
A moving company writing about moving tips? That sounds like a content marketing blog post.
It makes sense that businesses offering current, related content seem more credible — and it seems likely that combining trust signals with content marketing is even more effective. If a friend recommends someone to me for a content job, for instance, I’m more likely to look into them. If I find their website with tons of clips, I’m more likely to agree that they’re a good fit and reach out.
3. Content Marketing Enables You to Hold Your Ground Against Competitors
I know, I know — keeping up with the Joneses is an unending task, and, plus, we’re all supposed to be above it. But making sure you have the same new power tool as your neighbor is not the same thing as making sure you’re using all the same marketing channels as your competitors.
When your brand isn’t represented where your competitor is, you’re missing out on winning business because you’re not even in the game.
Thinking of the moving tips blog post in the previous section, let’s take a look at this example.
Someone searching for “packing tips for moving in a hurry” isn’t looking to make a purchase, but they are looking for information. Even more, they are likely in the market for moving supplies, like tape and boxes, and even booking moving services.
If a person searches for these tips, they see five moving companies in the search results. Without a content marketing strategy in place, other moving companies likely won’t appear for similar searches and could miss out on valuable business.
4. Content Marketing Gives the Opportunity to Team Up with Other Businesses
Another great benefit of content marketing is that it introduces opportunities for co-marketing.
Co-marketing is teaming up with another, related business to promote an offer. This is a great way to build brand awareness by expanding your reach. In your promotion, you can get a link on your marketing partner’s website, and you can make sure you’re tagged in their social posts.
Ideally, the business should be related to yours but not a direct competitor. That way, you’re getting in front of more people who will likely be interested in your offering, not people who already found their solution.
The content marketing comes in with the offer: You can co-create and co-promote a content download, and event, or webinar.
Here’s a great example of a co-marketed webinar.
Hosting a webinar or creating a guide can be a lot to start with, though, especially for small businesses just jumping into content marketing. Guest posts swaps — where you’re each writing a post for the other’s blog — are also a very light form of co-marketing, and a great place to start. You can get more content for your blog, and you can also get exposure and a link on someone’s website.
Remember that Nielsen Normal study about website credibility, too? Another factor they identified as key for establishing authority is how connected a website is to the rest of the internet.
“An isolated website that does not link to and cannot be found on third-party review sites, social media, or news outlets appears to either have something to hide or not be a fully established, stable company.”
Guest posts, and other co-marketing, make your website more connected.
So co-marketing is not only a great way to broaden your reach, but also a great way to make your website more deeply connected to other places on the internet with links and social media.
5. Content Marketing Educates Your Audience
With content marketing, you can use blog posts, videos, webinars, and more to educate your audience about not only your offering, but the larger context of the industry you’re serving.
Here’s a great example from John Deere that the Content Marketing Institute breaks down:
By creating a magazine that was informative and educational about an industry, John Deere built trust with generations of farmers. Even though John Deere didn’t directly sell in this content — and even because John Deere didn’t directly sell here — the company established its authority on the industry and its trustworthiness as a brand. These are two big motivators for consumers when they are looking to make a purchase.
You can foster similar connections with an online marketing plan, too, by avoiding hard sells — or any selling at all — and providing meaningful, helpful tips for your audience. In fact, this commitment to understanding your audience and connecting with them is often what makes a content marketing strategy successful.
In a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 50% of respondents ranked this the most important factor for success:
A content marketing strategy can help your small business reach more people and build brand awareness. With a content marketing strategy dedicated to educating your audience, you can do even more and connect with your audience.
6. Content Marketing Generates Leads for Your Small Business
All the content marketing benefits on this list are important, but this might be the most significant for your bottom line: Content marketing can help generate leads.
In fact, content marketing generates three times as many leads per dollar as traditional marketing and costs 62% less.
But how can you generate leads with content marketing? There are lots of options. If you’re writing blog posts, you can prompt users to sign up for a blog newsletter and add them to your email marketing lists.
You can also use pop-ups or in-text CTAs to offer a content download. In exchange for the content download, you can require users to submit information like their email address, mobile number, and name so that you can reach out with marketing offers.
If you’re hosting a webinar or event, you can use a similar approach to lead capture. Post your event on social media and require the same information to register, or set up a paid ad campaign to reach even more users.
The key here is to create high-quality content that your users are interested in so that you can generate leads and grow your business.
Start Capitalizing on the Benefits of Content Marketing
The benefits of content marketing for small businesses are clear — you can make more people aware of your business and offering, you can create meaningful connections with your audience, and you can even start getting more leads. All of these are important steps for growing your business.
When you think about the impact content marketing can have, suddenly writing that blog post doesn’t seem so easy to put off, does it? Time to get started!