Contributors from members of the Copper team
Content marketing isn’t a “new” strategy by any means. But it’s evolved over the years, from Facebook posts to paid ads to TikToks. Changing platforms, technology and consumer trends all add up to one thing: the way businesses approach content is pretty much always changing.
If you consider the finicky nature of SEO, pay-to-play social media and tricky algorithms, plenty of small businesses wonder if creating content is even worth the hassle. After all, you’ve got a business to run—do you really have time to get stuck in the weeds editing YouTube videos?
If you want to experience sustainable results and drive business growth, however, then it’s definitely worth making the time.
Overlooking content as part of your digital marketing efforts is a common (but painful) misstep for small businesses. If you want to scale, it pays to take content seriously from the start, no matter how small your business is.
Let’s look at why a content marketing strategy is important, plus five best practices for developing content marketing for your biz.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a type of inbound marketing. It encompasses the way a business approaches content creation. Its ultimate purpose is to make connections with leads that (hopefully) convert into paying customers.
This isn’t about spamming inboxes or pushing out more paid ads. Consumers typically aren’t the biggest fans of ads because they interrupt their experience. But they’re looking for content — quality content, that is. Content marketing gives consumers more agency and control over when they engage with you, which makes people much more receptive to your message.
In fact, 90% of marketers publish some form of content, which includes:
- Visuals (infographics)
- Videos or animations
- Audio (podcasts)
- Social media posts
- Website content
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make content so juicy and enthralling that it makes visitors want to know more. This isn’t about pushing your services immediately — for more relevant content, start by offering value in the form of educational and entertaining content.
Why is content marketing important?
We know that 81% of marketers consider content a core part of their strategy. It’s clearly important, but why? There are five core benefits.
1. Increase loyalty
60% of marketers say content builds loyalty with customers. That’s because thoughtful, well-developed content answers potential customers’ burning questions. They’re turning to search engines to find information and, after receiving it, they then feel compelled to connect with your brand in an organic way.
Instead of shoving your brand down their throat, you’re educating people and building trust in the process. If your content is good enough, they’ll become a regular follower and, eventually — if it’s the right fit — a customer.
2. Become an authority
Do you want people in your industry to take your business seriously? This is one of the big benefits of a well-implemented content strategy: 80% of marketers say content marketing boosts trust and authority.
If you need clout in your industry, B2B content marketing shows you know your stuff. It’s an important initial step to being taken seriously as a professional.
3. Get more leads
Want more leads? Of course you do (don’t we all?).
The good news is that content marketing strategy benefits your bottom line in the form of lead generation. In fact, 60% of marketers say their strategy boosts lead gen efforts.
4. Boost SEO visibility and traffic
When you have a question, you probably Google it, right? Content marketing bridges the gap between search engine queries like this and your brand, putting your relevant content front and center for search engine users.
When you optimize your content for search engines and users, it’s a powerful combo for boosting your visibility and traffic. If you manage to get first position on the SERP, that’s marketing gold, and it’s all thanks to high quality content.
5. Save money
Did you know that content marketing generates 4X more leads per $1,000 spent than paid ads? If you’re small and scrappy right now, you can get way more leads in your funnel with content than you will with paid ads alone (though it will probably take a little more time and patience).
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5 best practices for developing a content marketing strategy
Modern marketing is all about making genuine connections with your audience, and content does just that.
Sure, you’re still selling something, but with content marketing, you’re only attracting people who are interested in what you have to say. By genuinely wanting to help others, you can market yourself in the process, boost your reputation, and maybe even do a little good in the world.
The problem is that you’ll only see these awesome benefits if you invest in a solid strategy first. If you aren’t sure where to start, follow these five best practices for your content:
1. Make it visual
Consumers clearly want easily digestible content, including visuals and video content. If you can’t make videos, that’s okay. Find other ways to make your written content as skimmable as possible, adding visuals, bullets and callouts to make it appealing enough that readers will stick around.
2. Create and publish new content consistently
51% of businesses that invest in content marketing post content daily. This isn’t something you can do once a week and expect awe-inspiring results. To reap the full benefits, you need to create great content consistently.
That means posting on your blog, social media or YouTube channel multiple times a week. It’s also important to establish a consistent voice and branding so your followers know exactly what to expect when they consume your content.
3. Outsource where needed
Psst, guess what? You don’t have to create content by yourself. 50% of marketers outsource at least some of their content development; so if you’re in a pinch, there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing.
Outsource to an agency or a freelancer for tasks like:
- Audience engagement
- Graphic design
4. Create buyer personas
You want to create engaging content that connects with your buyers in a helpful, educational way. But how do you know the people you’re writing for? There are a lot of people on the internet, after all, and you want the right folks to see your content.
To make sure your message gets in front of your intended audience, it’s a good idea to create buyer personas before you start publishing content. This will help you write better content and distribute it on the platforms where your audience is most likely to engage with it.
5. Generate content based on the customer journey
Buyer personas are one of the best tools for personalizing your content, but there’s another factor you need to consider: the customer journey.
Every customer goes through stages before they buy something. Different businesses have a different customer journey, but generally speaking, you can expect your customers to follow this pattern:
And guess what? People want to see different types of content at every stage of the journey. For example, Decision-stage customers will want to see case studies while Awareness-stage users just want high-level information from your blog.
Which is why it makes sense to develop content for every persona, at every stage. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s the key to creating content that’s hyper-personalized to your audience’s expectations.
A content marketing strategy benefits everyone
If you’re wondering why having a content marketing strategy is important, it comes down to increased trust, authority and value. Follow these established best practices to squeeze as much juice out of your content as possible.