September 17, 2013
- You’ve got tons of competition;
- There are a limited number of customers out there, and you’re struggling to find them;
- You have limited money to play with.
Basically, this means you have to come up with ways to make your business stand out — all without spending an arm and a leg. Well, cue the angels strumming harps and the clouds parting, because there IS a way to do both.
All you have to do is succeed at content marketing.
I know, I know, content marketing has become a buzz term as of late. However, it’s not some passing fad. Instead, it’s a bonafide way to turn your small business into the cream of the crop. In fact, if you do it correctly, your small business will be right up there with the big boys.
How is that possible?
Whether they have one employee or 1,000 employees, all businesses share one very important responsibility — to make life easier for their customers. Whether you brew coffee, sell car parts or dryclean clothes, potential customers want to know how working with you benefits them. By publishing content that showcases your expertise, you can do just that.
Let’s say you run a small business that fixes computers. If you started up a blog that explained ways to prevent spyware from infiltrating people’s hard drives, wrote about the pros and cons of the newest processor to hit the market and gave out tips that could help make computers last longer, anyone who read your blog would see that you really know what you’re talking about. Thus, they’d be a whole lot more likely to call you when their own computer needs a pick-me-up.
Of course, your small business blog isn’t going to generate a ton of exposure all by itself. If you want to become one of the big boys through content marketing, you’ve got to venture off your site, too.
Luckily, this isn’t hard to do.
All it takes is a little research to find some great guest blogging opportunities. (Want to find those opportunities for free? Simply become a member of My Blog Guest and Blogger LinkUp.) By getting your name and your website’s link on authoritative websites in your industry — along with an informative piece of content that shows just how much you know about the subject — you’ll wind up getting more exposure than you ever thought possible.
Best of all, there are more guest blogging opportunities that you ever thought possible. That’s because there are probably a variety of niches that relate to your small business. By tapping into all of them, you can get your name out in front of people who never would have heard about you otherwise.
For example, if you own a small interior design firm, talk to the local hardware store about writing a guest post for their website. If you write about the latest home renovation trends, that’s something that the hardware store’s customers will be interested in — and if they want some expert help to tackle any of those projects, they’ll know you can be of service.
The bottom line?
Publish truly great content both on your own site and off, and you’ll have more people seeing your name. You’ll have more people linking to your website. You’ll have more people talking about you on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll rank higher in the search results. You’ll make your mark on the World Wide Web.
But what about the expense?
Ah yes, the third challenge we talked about. You may be inclined to think that content marketing can only generate big boy results if you have big boy money to spend. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, content marketing is the ideal choice for small businesses, because you can succeed with virtually any-sized budget. And, the money you spend will provide long-term benefits.
Let’s say you publish a great article that offers a detailed analysis of one of the developments in your industry. That article will be on the Web forever — meaning that people will be able to read it six hours from now, six months from now and six years from now. It’s common for content marketers to still get traffic from pieces they published months or even years prior. Consider it the gift that keeps on giving.
Even if you pay a professional content writer to create the article for you, if it’s good enough, it should be able to pay for itself over time. After all, if the article fetches enough extra traffic — and your sales copy is good enough to turn those additional visitors into buyers — the money you spent on it was well worth it.
That’s the exact opposite of paid advertising. If you’ve been spending a chunk of your budget on banner ads or PPC ads, you’re only going to see results for as long as you keep paying the bills. Once you stop forking over your money, those ads are going to disappear. You’ll never be able to benefit from them again, unless of course, you start paying for them again.
When you think about it in terms of dollars and cents — the true benchmark for any business — you just can’t beat content marketing. It’s the perfect way to give small businesses a bigger reach.