Content marketing – a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of material that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
As marketers and more importantly, relationship managers – content marketing should be on promotional product distributors’ radar. You may think – but why? I’m a small business - I don’t have the resources for that! If you practice relationship-based marketing and you want your business to continue to grow, you may want to reconsider your marketing strategy.
Content marketing has been around for hundreds of years. From cookbooks offered by baking companies and magazines shared by equipment manufacturers, to today’s online content marketing in the form of blogs and articles, content marketing can take on many forms.
But why do small business owners need to put
out content? Two reasons: Visibility and Branding.
You have to be able to be found on the web. This is a fact of the modern era.
Ninety percent of B2B buyers start their purchase with a search. Seventy percent of them start their purchase process online before making an offline purchase.
Even if you are focused on developing and nurturing relationships with the intent of growing them into bigger business, clients (especially potential clients) need to be able to easily find you on the web. Additionally, your online presence needs to clearly communicate who you are and what you do – and what you can do for them.
Your brand is your personality and reputation. It’s the feeling a customer gets when they hear from you, and it’s the trust they have in your products and services.
Branding is more than a logo; it can also encompass what you bring to your relationships with clients. It can be the step above products and services – what you provide that your competitors don’t.
Today, more than ever before, people want to feel like you care about them and that you have their best interests at heart. The world is louder and noisier than ever before, and attention is our most valuable resource. Be the light among the clutter and provide useful content to your clients.
Are you still wondering how you’re going to find the resources to do this? Start small.
- Set up a Google Analytics account
- Make sure you have updated all possible information on Google My Business. Here's an even more detailed guide.
- Have some of your previous customers post reviews – at least 5 and then continue to grow that number over time (Reviews count as content that makes your business visible on search engines!)
- Create a social media account on the platform that makes sense for your business
The above list is the absolute most basic and effective set of steps to take to be found online. The next step you take should be to figure out what kind of content would be useful to your clients. It might be demonstrating your product knowledge through a blog, or simply showing what you can do that makes you stand out from your competitors in a case study.
There’s a difference between content marketing and the other informational garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.” Companies send us information all the time – it’s just that most of the time it’s not very relevant or valuable. Be RELEVANT!
And again, start small. Check out this list of content ideas from HubSpot to get your wheels turning.
Pick something that is sustainable. Posting to social media once a month won’t cut it. Develop a strategy and stick with it, and once you’ve mastered it, add another layer.
Showing potential clients that your business can provide a solution to their pain points can be invaluable.