Marketing a small business is big business. There are so many ways to do it, experts to help teach it and platforms/apps/programs to support it. As a result, navigating the good from the bad, the necessary from the nice-to-haves and the impossible from the achievable is a minefield. On top of that, most small business owners find that just as they get a handle on one new way of marketing themselves they’re told that that’s old hat now and they should be looking at X. Content marketing IS an ever-changing field and unless you have a love of marketing and about 1000 spare hours in your week, it’s hard to stay on top of. In addition, common wisdom doesn’t always prevail.
I want to break it down for you, and give you 4 truths about content marketing that haven’t changed since its inception.
1. Repurposed content CAN beat original content
This is a fun fact that belies common thought. Whilst I am VERY keen for you all to create your own original content (because it demonstrates your expertise, showcases your experience, allows your unique voice to shine, and is awesome for SEO), not every single piece of content marketing you publish needs to be completely original. In the big companies where being a Content Marketer is an actual full time job, many of them will use content they have sourced from other places and then repurpose it for their own use. This does NOT mean copy it outright – that there is a law suit waiting to happen! But don’t be afraid to take inspiration from other business’ articles or videos that you have seen. A piece of content that has been repurposed can perform as well (or better than) a completely original piece, if it is re-worked to suit your audience and your needs.
2. Content marketing builds brand loyalty
Anyone who has followed the Apple story knows just how valuable customer loyalty is. Any brand who can get people to line up overnight in freezing conditions to get a new release phone (even if it’s not actually the best product on the market!) before the rest of their friends has got this brand loyalty business nailed! And loyalty doesn’t just come in the form of someone buying from you repeatedly; loyal customers become brand ambassadors (without being asked or paid!) and will spread the good word of your business for you. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing vehicles around.
Good content marketing helps to create brand loyalty by showing your customers that you understand them and their needs, and by providing them with a reason to get excited about your business. If you can create content that forms bonds between you and your customers, you’ll go a long way towards building a relationship that will have a massive potential payoff.
3. Email is still a content marketing winner
Despite the rise and rise of social media marketing, curiously, email marketing is still the most popular form of content when it comes to hearing from a specific brand. Why? Email has several benefits: it’s delivered directly to your audience in a place they regularly check (they don’t have to proactively go searching for content such as on social media); it combines the best elements of social media and blogging; it’s only delivered to people who have specifically opted in to hear from you (assuming you’re not in the practise of spamming!). Your message is more likely to be acted upon positively by communicating with an audience that has specifically expressed an interest in your business. Whilst some may think it’s ‘old fashioned’, I promise you that email still works wonders and should always be a key part of any content marketing strategy.
4. There’s no one way to do content marketing right
Wouldn’t it be marvellous if there was only one way to do content marketing right? How easy life would be! But alas, life is never that simple. Your content marketing strategy is as unique as your business is therefore what works for Jo Bloggs down the road may not be right for you. The platform, the vehicle, the message and the types of content that will be most effective will always be different for every business. As with everything in your marketing plan, you’ll need to test everything to find out what works best for you and your audience. And don’t be afraid to shift gears, even when something has worked once or twice! Even successful strategies need to alter as your market changes and the available options change. Keeping track of data and the performance of your content is key.