What if there happened a cost-effective way to grow your business while at the same time creating relationships that will lead to free referrals and repeat customers? Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not.

It’s called content marketing, and it takes the direct sales route of years past. This post will explore what content marketing is, how it works, and how to create a content marketing strategy to grow a business.

1. What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a practice that involves the sharing of free, valuable information to create a relationship between the business and its targeted audience.

Wise business owners will create a content strategy that delivers information across various platforms and modes to meet the styles of their target audience. These may include avenues such as:

Content Marketing Work

  • Website pages
  • Articles
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Newsletters
  • Interviews
  • News stories
  • Podcasts
  • Emails
  • Videos
  • Vlogs
  • Live-streaming
  • Photos
  • Infographics
  • Free downloads
  • Guides
  • E-books
  • Free events

Content marketing is very different from direct sales; it is much more about building trust and confidence in a company or brand.

To do this, the business gives valuable information away for free and must continue to do so continuously and with high consumer value (Wikipedia).

In content marketing, the focus is on customer needs, and the materials presented are geared toward meeting those needs effectively.

Content can be delivered through websites, blogs, YouTube, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, podcasts, and the like.

This type of marketing involves engagement between you and your targeted audience and between audience members themselves.

2. How Does Content Marketing Work to Grow a Business?

Content marketing works to grow a business by answering questions and offering solutions to problems through free information delivery, which builds trust between the audience and the business.

This relationship will turn visitors into leads and eventually into customers. It’s a more circular way to grow your business, and it can be incredibly useful because it’s what consumers want.

According to Demand Metric, “70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than advertising.” Content marketing is taking the place of direct marketing and sales, although this can still be a piece of how you earn loyal customers.

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Content marketing works by:

  • Catching the interest of your target audience
  • Anticipating and meeting the end-user needs
  • Generating leads to whom you can market through information sharing, emails, etc.
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Building credibility and trust
  • Engaging consumers with your materials and with each other through information sharing
  • Earning online sales by turning your target audience into customers
  • Prompting local deals if you are a local small business
  • Receiving positive reviews which can significantly affect how others view your business
  • Garnering free referrals by word of mouth and recommendations
  • Creating repeat customers
  • Marketing to a much larger audience

One of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business is through content marketing. When done well, it can generate three times the number of leads compared to other forms of earning customers.

This means your investment return will be much higher, even after you factor in the cost of social media management.

Once you have these leads, you can effectively market to them through the avenues mentioned above. This is called lead nurturing. You get them to subscribe to your social media channels, emails, newsletters, podcasts, and the like.

They will be notified whenever new content is released, continually putting you in front of their eyes. Over time this is what can change consumer behavior because the consumer is getting questions answered and finding out more about you and how your business or products work.

Content marketing also works by increasing organic search traffic. By using best SEO practices, and local SEO if you are a local business, search engines will match your content with searches from those looking for the information you provide.

It will help you rise to the top of the search engine results pages and build your credibility on the web. In effect, you will become an authority on your subject, product, or service.

Finally, content marketing can keep your presence current, continuous, and relevant as the needs of your target audience change or as new forms of content become more popular.

For example, according to Databox, 74% of those who responded to their survey said that videos are more effective than blog posts for generating leads.

As well, some people don’t realize that search engines are now able to crawl videos and podcasts for verbal expressions of keywords and information topics.

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3. How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Having the plan and carrying it out is the best way to get where you want to go. So to create a content marketing strategy, you will want to do the following:

Research your ideal customer, including demographics, interests, income levels, and popular forms of consuming content. In effect, create an avatar.

Define the target audience or end-user from this research. Conduct surveys and do further research into what the target audience is asking and needing solutions for.

Research keywords, long-tail keyword phrases, and questions to utilize the best search engine optimization practices.

4. Utilize local SEO if you are a local business.

Create and market carefully crafted materials, as mentioned above, to meet end-user needs and desires.

Pay attention metrics to see what content does well and creates the desired relationship while promoting your products or services through trusting relationships and brand awareness.

In effect, please get to know your target audience well and meet their needs as best as possible through various forms of free information sharing.

Create a plan and execute it, measuring your effectiveness through metrics and engagement. And don’t forget to treat your customers well once you have them to encourage referrals, positive reviews, and repeat customers.