What SMB Enterprises must know about Content Marketing? Myth 9 is a must read!


Not long ago, it was rare for non-advertising companies to produce their own content. Things have changed for the better and today good content is seen as integral to effective online marketing. Most companies with an online presence have invested or are investing substantial resources at producing content to garner a loyal following. This write-up seeks to look at Content marketing as a strategy for SMB enterprises and what makes it underutilized even in this age of information overload. 


Introduction – Content Marketing


Before we understand content marketing, we need to understand that content represents a whole variety of formats including audio, video, and the written word. It is the most important segment in every digital marketing process. At times the word content gets restricted to just the written word, which is a misunderstanding. Content marketing can be defined as creation and distribution of relevant content for a specific kind of audience to get their attention, build a relationship, improve engagement and brand recall to eventually drive profitable action for the company. 


We all are familiar with marketing, but the traditional form of marketing as we know it – is not efficient enough. There is wastage of time, resources and effort when the marketing message is delivered to no-one specific rather it is meant for everyone with the assumption that it will drive ‘some’ useful action. In other words, there is no specificity to the marketing effort and even the result relies majorly on the sales figures. Content marketing can remedy such drawbacks to measure engagement in fine details.


Content Marketing for SMB Enterprises 


We are quite familiar with big brands with deep pockets and resources already on the content marketing bandwagon. You might have doubts on your ROI if you step into the same arena. However, today’s customers’ are more receptive to learning about a company through an article than from an advertisement. In fact, there would be an audience eager to learn about your company. Now you might be wondering, how to go about doing content marketing? 


Instead of adding to your already existing workload, you must outsource your content marketing efforts to an agency. Professionals, who know how to manage resources, connect to your audience and produce targeted content to move prospects through the sales funnel. The marketing effort is geared towards a ‘Pull’ approach, wherein potential customers are drawn in with the message without compelling the audience to consume content through intrusive tactics. 


Why SMB Enterprises Overlook Content Marketing?


In spite of the advantages offered by content marketing, many brands still are not convinced about incorporating the strategy into their marketing initiatives. Here we look at the Myths associated with Content Marketing:


MYTH 1: It is just Advertising!

FACT: Advertising aims to deliver the message pertinent to the product spelling out the benefits. It seeks to promote a product and build preference for the brand. While content marketing is all about garnering attention to increase engagement with the brand. The benefits include – better brand image, increased interest in the product and lasting relationships with customers.   


MYTH 2: It is suited to a specific business type

FACT: Any brand irrespective of the domain has a unique journey behind it. Content creation is about effective storytelling. The produced content must offer a tangible value – inform, educate or inspire to engage the audience. The focus should be on remaining less promotional and communicating an absorbing message.   


MYTH 3: My business may not need it

FACT: Today anyone with a Smartphone having internet has access to information on anything at the tip of their fingertips. You cannot live in a bygone era where customers had steady brand loyalty; customers are spoilt for choice and are regularly targeted by your competitors online. Incorporate content marketing to your brand’s advantage to stay updated, relevant and known. 


MYTH 4: It takes a lot of investment

FACT: Not investing in content marketing can prove costly for your business in the present day and age. You are paying for quality results to professionals who will bring in their A-game to bolster your brand. You have to look at it with the perspective of net ROI on investment, which definitely comes out greater. You can begin incrementally if you are conservative about costs.  


MYTH 5: It takes a long time for visible results

FACT: You have to delve a little deeper to understand the process without being unrealistic about results. It takes time for the audience to discover, consume your content before you become an authority in the industry. You can jumpstart the process by promoting actively on social media organically. Or resort to paid advertising with Facebook Ads, which is relatively inexpensive, to begin with. That said, you still have to be patient with search engines to do their work. 


MYTH 6: I think I am already doing it with my blog

FACT: Putting out one piece of content and expecting traffic to come through organic search and directly is not being realistic enough. Majority of the traffic to your content has to come through social media, paid search, referrals and email. This means, there needs to be a plan in place to even get your content discovered by the audience, which isn’t simple. 


Myth 7: I am more interested in actual sales from marketing

FACT: By claiming content marketing actually doesn’t deliver sales is just a cloistered mindset. In reality, it does deliver on sales and much more. By getting fixated on sales, you are missing out on the impact the content creates with newsletter sign-ups, e-book downloads or just increased traffic, which would yield results in the long-term to complement your sales. 


Myth 8: It is giving away free information and that hurts my business 

FACT: You would have to make peace with the fact that the audience will abandon a brand if it is too pushy or intrusive with its messaging. In contrast, a brand that puts out content which is informational, relevant and answers their pertinent questions will find more acceptance. The audience needs to engage with the content to develop trust before they make a purchase decision. Ultimately, matured adults want to make life choices without being told.


Myth 9: I am capable of doing it all by myself

FACT: At first glance, it may seem easy to create and put out content. But, a lot of effort goes in prior to the creation of content. You need to - know the audience, have goals in place, select promotional platforms, and carry-out keyword research before creating anything. Once the content is in place you have to ensure maximum engagement by posting at the most optimum time and day realized through hands-on experience. Overall, doing it yourself successfully will involve a steep learning curve involving a huge opportunity cost.  Moreover, the business owner will lose focus on the most important aspects of the core process of running a business and updating the product or services to the highly volatile environment.




Compelling Reasons to Adopt Content Marketing


By dealing with the myths, we might have cleared the air on a lot of doubts associated with content marketing. As a business owner, you might be procrastinating or having second thoughts on taking the plunge. 


It is understandable given your position, it is not easy to involve oneself in an evolving and dynamic domain without enough wisdom to understand agency professionals and what they have to offer. We would suggest, you have a good understanding of the processes that build a brand and critical results that are expected from the efforts. These will equip you with the necessary knowledge and confidence to involve your business into content marketing.   


Let’s give you enough reasons to involve your brand into  content marketing:


  • Your Customers are Online: The first impulse when getting acquainted with a new brand is to search for it online to know more details on it. The audience expects you to have a website and a social media presence. They base their decision to engage with your brand solely based on what would impress them. They would explore and engage with the content you have put out. With their research, if they are able to derive value which goes beyond your product as a solution. They would definitely give you the attention that you aspire for. Customers are always on the look-out for added value from any brand they stick with and content marketing provides the avenue for it.


  • Wider Audience & New Prospects: A high-quality piece of content is likely to attract attention and will be shared widely. With time, each share the content generates puts your brand in front of a new audience at no extra cost to you. This is unlike paid ads that come to a halt once the campaign stops running. When content marketing is backed by sound planning incorporating well-defined goals and enough attention to small details like readability and content framework, it is certain that will reach a wider audience organically.


  • Easier to Nurture Leads: Content can singularly build trust with the brand. As the levels of trust increase, it can result in sharing of content and users returning to your site more often. This can become a regular occurrence to increase brand recall and engagement which in a short time can convert to sales and turn prospects into loyal customers. With content marketing, you can ensure that you only generate qualified leads. The audience who are genuinely interested in your product is more likely to engage with your brand’s digital assets.


  • Beating the Competition: Every business aspires to differentiate itself from the competition, and distinct content is the way to go about it. Your content can reflect what you envision in terms of core-beliefs and your unique perspective on business. When put together can make a compelling narrative to evoke interest among the audience. This distinct take on business and life, in general, can set you apart from the competition. And, when done purposefully over a period of time can ensure your content is rewarded with improved sales and leads through innovative storytelling.


  • Boosts Search Visibility: Google dominates the market in Search and rewards companies that produce useful content that is not overtly promotional. If you have quality content that provides answers to pertinent questions aligning to searched terms, your brand would rank high on search. Your ranking and the size of the business has no correlation. There are a good number of small businesses that have outdone their larger competitors with better content. Your content must include customer education as a critical component to appeal to prospective buyers and customers.


  • Builds Brand Authority: All of us want to be certain about the choices that we make. Buying a new product also is no different, we like to assure ourselves by buying from the best in the business or the expert. Remaining true to the goals of content marketing, if you roll-out blog-posts, infographics or whitepapers to address customer needs and their pressing concerns. You make prospects knowledgeable about the product & the industry. They will naturally consider you an authority in the domain with whom they can transact without doubts. Becoming a brand authority can actually accelerate the process of word-of-mouth referral both offline and online. 


  • Streamlines the Buyer’s Journey: Every prospect goes through the three stages in the buyer’s journey – awareness, consideration and decision. By creating content targeting the prospect at each stage of the journey can expedite the entire process. The user might have discovered your content while evaluating his options, but by assimilating enough wisdom through your content, you would have accelerated his buyer’s journey to make him a qualified lead. Based only on the sheer efficacy of your content, you can easily turn such leads into customers without much deliberations and negotiations.


  • Builds Valuable Backlinks: Off-page SEO concerns building backlinks to your website. Remarkable content from a brand can compel others to take notice and link back to your website. Depending on the site that has linked to you, it might generate traffic you never anticipated. Backlinks happen to be one of the main ranking factors on Google search.  Also, it helps improve your Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) with links from authoritative sites.  


Advantages Offered by Content Marketing that Nobody talks About


Now that we have resolved both the myths and reasons involving content marketing, it is time to pay attention to certain aspects that seem to go unnoticed by brands when executing a content strategy. Let’s look at them one by one:


  • Offers Edge to Recruitment: Competition is an everyday reality in business, and it tends to influence all the business decisions and executions. Hiring top calibre talent is high on everyone’s agenda and it isn’t an easy process. But, with an active content marketing program, you can set the bar high from your competitors. Availability of top-notch content about your brand online can influence recruitment. Becoming a credible name in the business can attract high-performing candidates, impressed by your online presence – offering a sizable talent pool to choose from.


  • Improves Company Morale: Your brand can be customer-driven but do not forget your own troops who make it happen each day for the company. When your content goes viral or gets featured on any platform, it gives all the employees a reason to celebrate for standing out as a brand they are closely associated with.


  • Opens up New Possibilities: Incredible content not only gets your prospects and customers talking. But, it gives colleagues something to share and debate on. And, offers the company opportunity to involve new brand advocates from within the company. They can be part of your future programs on content marketing and provide you with fresh perspectives in creating new content which always is a challenge.


In Conclusion 


Content marketing is an on-going process that does not bring results overnight. You create content offering tangible value and continue doing it consistently. While, optimizing the content based on your experience, emerging market trends and technology upgrades. It is ideal for small businesses for generating traffic and building a sense of trust towards the brand to reduce the cost of customer acquisition and marketing. Moreover, content marketing is relatively inexpensive and helps generate recurring traffic. 


As a small business, you need not shy away from content marketing because of established brands. You need better content, relevant to the context to make you a reliable source of information in order to outperform your competition. Finally, you would be better served by content marketing if you involve an agency to implement your content needs. As a business owner, you are extremely well aware of your priorities and content marketing should not figure in that list. Operate your business with a growth-led mindset and outsource your online marketing needs to professionals who are better at it.    



        




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