Content marketing will be an important asset for small businesses in 2013

Content marketing is a relatively newfangled concept in the marketing landscape, but has quickly established itself as an important asset. With a new industry-wide focus on inbound marketing, such as social media and local search engine, in lieu of outbound marketing, such as billboards and physical advertisements, entrepreneurs are finding it imperative to adopt content marketing as one of their most efficacious marketing strategies for small business.

In fact, a recent survey revealed that more small businesses than ever before are delving into content marketing, according to BtoB Magazine. According to the Content Marketing Survey Report 2013 produced by BusinessBolts.com, 74 percent of small businesses used some form of content marketing to increase traffic to their websites and promote their brand equity. The survey also revealed which types of content marketing were used most frequently, with articles leading the way at 74 percent. Blog posts ranked second, at 64 percent, while social media content, email newsletters and videos rounded out the top five. In addition, the survey’s respondents admitted what their primary motivations and chief benefits of using content marketing were. Increasing traffic led the way as it was mentioned by 77 percent of respondents, while improving search rankings, growing the brand and boosting sales were also highlighted as top priorities. Finally, 45 percent of respondents said that using content marketing helped them lower advertising expenditures, which could be of tremendous interest to small business owners.

Here are some tips for efficacious content marketing at your small business in 2013.

Editorial briefs are becoming just as important as – if not more than – creative briefsĀ 
Once upon a time on Madison Avenue, the creative brief stood as the most important weapon in an advertising executive’s toolbox. Consumers were drawn to flashy graphics and outside-the-box creative elements that could capture their eyes, attentions and wallets. However, the new-age consumer is increasingly immune to the charms of loud noises and bright colors, making the editorial brief as important as the creative brief.

Content marketing depends heavily on strategy across a multitude of different platforms. The type, tone and location of all this content will all factor into a small business’ marketing success. With a clearly outlined editorial brief, marketers will be able to create more engaging content.

Tell a story in order to relate to your customers
Storytelling is one of the most underrated aspects of effective marketing. When it comes to content marketing, underrating or eschewing the story aspect could be a disastrous move. Telling a story that presents your company’s products and services in a more subtle and interesting way is much more effective than hammering your potential customer over the head with boring facts and figures. According to Inc. Magazine, putting a person in your picture – whether it’s you, your employees, your customers or some other unrelated figure – will humanize your business. This in turn creates higher levels of engagement and trust, which will likely result in better conversion rates.

Listen to your customers and they will listen to you
One of the best aspects of content marketing is the levels of two-way engagement it creates. Much of content marketing involves organic sharing and community-driven activities, where customers share tips and related stories with other like-minded consumers. This two-way engagement gives you a tremendous opportunity to listen to your customers in a way that was never possible before. Now, more than ever, your small business will be able to really listen to every piece of constructive criticism and fine-tune your services in a way that benefits both you and your customers.

How is your small business tackling content marketing in 2013?

 

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.