When it comes to getting your name out there and building your brand, content marketing is an effective way to do it. As they say, content is king, and giving your audience well-researched, actionable and entertaining information they really want to read, listen to or watch will help drive your success.

Content marketing is arguably even more important for small businesses that don’t have the big digital marketing budget of larger firms. It offers one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) of any ad spend. The best part is you can do a lot of it yourself to keep costs low.

In this article: 

  • Content marketing explained
  • The benefits of content marketing
  • Types of content
  • Outsourcing your content marketing

What is content marketing?

Content marketing covers any materials you produce such as social media posts, blogs, videos, podcasts or email newsletters that are linked to your business and relevant to your target audience, offering them helpful information. Regular content marketing towards a clearly defined target audience will help you retain existing customers and attract new ones. 

People buy from experts and content marketing gives you the platform to become a specialist in your field. If you consistently create great content, people are far more likely to buy from you because you’ve set yourself apart from your competitors by really knowing your subject.

Benefits of content marketing

The benefits of content marketing to small businesses are many but chief among them are increased sales, cost savings and more loyal customers.

It’s difficult to put an exact ROI on content marketing but it is generally thought to deliver three times as many leads as other forms of marketing. It also costs 62% less than other marketing channels and can increase unique visitor traffic to your website by up to 7.8 times more than those who aren’t content leaders. Plus, 70% of people say they’d rather learn about a company through an article than an advert.

Content marketing drives higher conversion rates, and with 236 million people now using ad blockers, it’s an effective way to still reach your audience rather than relying on adverts that are increasingly unseen.

As a small business, content marketing can be an extremely effective way of building your brand on a budget. When you’re starting out, you can write content yourself and as the boss of your business you’re probably the best and most knowledgeable person to do that. This also builds authenticity around your brand. 

Types of content marketing

Content marketing can take many different forms:

  1. Blogging 

Add a blog section to your website and post interesting articles offering advice or information to customers. You don’t have to talk about your business or directly mention your product or service in every piece of content. Concentrate on producing top quality content that positions your brand as a thought leader in its industry or that entertains and informs. Your customers will soon see your business as a go-to source for information and a brand to be trusted. 

  1. Vlogging 

Vlogging involves the use of video content which you can post on your own site and / or on YouTube. Visual content is 45 times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content.

  1. Podcasts 

Podcasting is another great way to share content regularly. There are currently over 2 million podcast shows worldwide and it’s a number that’s rapidly increasing as audible consumption grows in popularity.

  1. Email 

Email campaigns are an effective way to reach your target audience. Grow your own email list by adding relevant calls to action on your website or social media platforms. Then send content that will be of interest and drive traffic from there to your site.

  1. E-books

E-books can be great lead generation (email capture) tools and give you a chance to showcase your expertise on a subject at a deeper level than a blog post.

  1. Social media posts

What you post on your social media channels can drive people to your website. You can start posting copy, videos and images right away.

  1. Webinars

Educational webinars require some planning but can be an effective way to get people to sign up to your email list, service or product. Email marketing, your website and social media can be used to drive webinar registrations which in turn will encourage people to buy from you. 

The key to content marketing is consistency — however you deliver your content,do it regularly and make sure it aligns with your brand message.

Outsourcing your content marketing

Content marketing can be a big undertaking and if you’re short on time, paying someone to do it for you can be more cost effective. You can employ a freelance copywriter or content marketer for between £25 to £60 an hour on average and use them to write a set number of blogs for your website each month.

Alternatively, you can use a specialist digital agency that has the expertise in inbound marketing. While you can expect to pay more for their services, an agency will have a wealth of experience, perhaps in your industry, and will usually offer marketing, PR and SEO services in addition to content. 

If you want to save costs but don’t want to do it yourself there are online content mills you can use. However, if you only fork out £35 or so for a 700-word article, don’t expect it to be well-researched or in your tone of voice. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. 

While you’re working on your content marketing strategy, make sure to keep on top of your business finances. Countingup is the business current account that automates bookkeeping and simplifies tax returns for business owners across the UK. Find out more here.