It’s a loaded question, that’s what content marketing is. Why? Because ‘content’ is as unique as your small business website; just like the thousands of competitor websites out there vying for the same eyes.
So, in essence, I just described what content marketing is: unique information important to a specific audience, delivered in a pleasing way. But that’s where it gets confusing, because everything online is content in one form or another.
For the purposes of this blog, listing every possible medium for digital marketing is impossible. And, it should also be noted that digital marketing is ever changing, so today’s list might not be accurate tomorrow. But even knowing the top 5 platforms today can be valuable when fed with valuable content.
So, let’s take a look at the:
Top 5 Content Marketing Tools of 2020
- Infographics – in recent years, talented graphic artists have created a trend of supplying informational graphics (see what I did there). Infographics convey a lot of information in one image, like a “word cloud” that lists different words on a theme. They also help retain readers and improve other on-page metrics. A decent infographic can easily cost $1,000 and up while more complex, team-created illustrations can cost several thousand dollars. Bad infographics, on the other hand, meh.
- Websites – tried and true pioneers of the internet, many websites have evolved to become ‘experiences’ as the voice of their brand. Technology has also allowed for greater presentation ability, although the code behind the improvements came with a higher learning curve. Many opt for cookie cutter website templates from freemium services like Wix or Squarespace, but for a truly customized and branded website, there will always be modification beyond the free code, so they upsell you a premium item. But websites are the platform for the various channels through which marketing flows to turn website visitors into ‘converts,’ which is another word for customers. If their experience was enjoyable, chances are they will return and recommend you to others.
- Podcasts – surprising to many, but podcasts are huge in capturing and retaining an audience, then converting them to customers. There are several reasons for this too, giving the medium even greater legs. For example, podcasts allow for greater multitasking; you can vacuum, jog, block out annoying people… all positive. Also, technology has improved to create faster bandwidth for quicker downloads/uploads, cheaper microphones of all types, and platforms that host your content for free, making it easier for ANYONE to produce podcasts. Plus, podcast libraries cover every subject imaginable, creating a smaller but more devoted following of potential customers. And finally, podcasts are more easily accessible (and probably exploding) because of voice-commanded smart speakers. Podcasts essentially became hands-free, so listeners can sit and relax to the sounds they like. Similar to radio, but with a much larger selection, making the market for potential customers in the millions.
- Video – has been the rocket of content even before Google bought YouTube. As of May, 2019, it has 2 billion active users a month. That’s a 5% increase on the 1.9 billion users reported in July 2018 and the 1.5 billion YouTub e users in June 2017. The total number of internet users today? 4.4 billion, making YouTube users account for 45% of the world’s entire online population. Also worth noting: Cisco found that video accounted for 75% of online traffic in 2017. This is predicted to climb as high as 82% by 2022. Many savvy small business owners use Youtube effectively to promote their brand and even drive sales. When designing a content marketing campaign, video is a powerful tool.
- Book – is a potent way to put your message right in someone’s hands, reaching an already interested audience and promoting your brand surreptitiously, as an authority. Savvy marketers understand that creating a book, centered around your business, isn’t just to sell books, but also for marketing. Self help books are a perfect example of popular public speakers creating content that can go anywhere, connect with any audience, always reinforcing the brand. But, the same tool, ebooks, are available to small business owners too. Books as short as 10 pages sell for little, but have a long shelf life (pun intended).
Small business content marketing
As you can see, content marketing can be as simple as a social media thread or as complex as a coordinated tapestry of digital mediums. And, it’s true that all of your competitors have access to the same portals. So, helping your small business reach its digital marketing peak demands planning, coordination, excellent communication and serious technical skills.
The tools used are available to all, but the skills to work those tools are not. Content marketing is usually created by whole teams that include website developers, professional writers, SEO coordinators, social media managers and more. But even when it is being coordinated by a team, there is still a common bond to successful digital marketing; good content.
When you target a specific audience with valuable, relevant content, they are more likely to return to your site, make a purchase, see your small business as an authority, and become loyal to that brand. But the keyword here is ‘valuable.’ When content is consistently relevant, always engaging, written and executed well, and featured in coordinated online promotions, it drives traffic back to your site, improving your SEO rankings.
Understanding the power of content often isn’t the forte of small business owners. It’s not what they do (unless they’re a digital marketing agency like we are at Pisgah Peaks Ventures). So, outreach is often done with digital marketing companies who specialize in bringing your message to the masses.
Because digital marketing can mean the difference between you or a competitor getting the sale, it’s always good to think outreach to differentiate your small business. If you plan carefully, coordinate between platforms, and ensure your content is valuable to your targeted audience, your content marketing campaign should improve every metric.
See how professional content can help your small business website rank higher in search engine results pages.