Gone are the days when having a digital presence for your business just meant having a website. In 2022, with consumers judging a business before they even get off the couch, standing out in the online crowd is vital. Getting leads and attracting attention online is even tough for a large enterprise with a large marketing budget.
For a small business, it can seem insurmountable. If this struggle sounds familiar and you’ve been searching for a remedy, you’ve probably seen the term “content marketing.”
What is content marketing? How will it help your business climb in the Google rankings? And do you really have to start a blog?
In this blog, we’ll demystify what content marketing is and walk you through the steps of creating and maintaining a blog for your business. If 2022 is the year you’re getting your small business online, read on to learn why you need a blog and how you can use it to carve out a strong digital niche by leveraging the expertise you already have.
Content marketing is the use of any digital content—social media posts, blogs, videos, and more—to provide useful information to a target audience.
Think Zillow posting an album on Facebook with home décor ideas, Oreo posting milkshake recipes on YouTube, or Shutterstock teaching you how to photograph your pets on their blog.
When executed well, content marketing can convey your authority in your industry while not necessarily pitching your product or service to the reader. And when executed correctly, content marketing can provide a constant stream of Google traffic and leads to your website.
If you ended up on this page through a Google search about blogging, you just proved my point!
Now that we know what content marketing is and how it can be useful to your business, let’s talk about how to go about designing a content marketing strategy.
To do this, you need to answer two questions: Who is your target audience? What kind of content will resonate with them?
Your target audience is the group of people most likely to buy from you or use your services. You can segment your target audience by age, income, location, interests, or any other identifying factor.
To determine what kind of content will resonate with your target audience, you need to understand what kinds of questions they’re asking about your industry. For example, if you own a pet store, your target audience might be asking about the best way to potty train their new puppy.
Once you know who your target audience is and what kinds of questions they’re asking, it’s time to start creating content.
There are many ways to get your content in front of your target audience. Here are some popular methods.
Creating social media content is a great way to reach your target audience where they already are—on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can use social media to share blog posts, infographics, images, videos, or any other kind of content that will help you connect with your audience and achieve your business goals.
The engagement you can produce is one of the main advantages of using social media for content marketing. When people comment on, share, or like your posts, it helps increase your reach and produces a domino effect of engagement that can result in more leads and customers for your business.
Another advantage of using social media as part of your content marketing strategy is that you can use paid advertising to amplify your message and reach an even wider audience.
With the rise of TikTok, YouTube, and other video-sharing platforms, it’s no surprise that they are becoming one of the most popular types of content on the Internet. Videos are a great way to show off your products or services in action, tell a story, or provide valuable information in an easily digestible format.
If you’re not sure where to start with video content, consider creating a how-to guide related to your industry or product. For example, if you sell cosmetics, you could create a tutorial on how to do a smokey eye using your products.
Not only is video content highly shareable, but it also encourages people to spend more time on your website, which can help improve your search engine ranking.
Podcasts are another great way to reach your target audience with engaging content. Like videos, podcasts are easy to consume and can be a great way to provide valuable information or tell a story related to your business.
If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, the first step is to come up with a catchy name and description that will make people want to tune in. Once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll need to choose a hosting platform and create artwork for your show. Then you’ll be ready to start recording and promoting your episodes.
Podcasts can be a great addition to your content marketing strategy because they give you another avenue for sharing your message with potential customers. They also help build trust and credibility with your audience by allowing them to get to know you and your business on a more personal level.
Infographics, eBooks, and other types of content exist, but you don’t have to use every one of them. In fact, you probably shouldn’t since not all of them will be applicable to your target market. It’s important to choose the ones that best suit your message and that you’re most comfortable creating.
But there is one type of content marketing that still reigns above them all—blogs—and it’s possible for every business, big or small.
One of the biggest benefits of using a blog for marketing is the opportunity to rank higher in search results. By posting content that is high on quality, relevance, and timeliness, you can ensure greater visibility from the right audience and improve SEO (search engine optimization).
Any form of content you post online gives you a small bump in your search rankings, but none are greater than your blog. A Hubspot report states, “Over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts.”
A compounding blog post is simply one whose traffic gradually keeps growing over time, thereby giving you more bang for your marketing buck. Read about the value of a compounding blog post and how to write one here.
There are many reasons to start a blog for your business. But whether you’re just getting started or have been at it for a while, these five benefits of blogging will help you see a return on investment (ROI).
As a small business owner, your biggest marketing challenge might be getting people to trust your brand. A blog that consistently posts informative, personal, timely, and engaging content is the quickest way to display your authority.
As consumers become more wary and turned off by salesy content, being perceived as an advocate for customers’ pain points is a huge advantage for your brand image and business.
A 2019 report by Social Media Examiner stated that 66% of marketers used blogs in their social media content. Not only is your blog an invaluable source of sharable social content for you, but it also enables other people to share links to your site on their personal or professional networks.
That can give your site a nice traffic boost and the potential to turn a reader into a prospective customer.
Searching the term “content marketing” on Google brings back about 5 billion results. Yikes!
So how do you get your content in the mix for a competitive search without paying for it? You do it by applying some search engine optimization (SEO) to your content.
We don’t have enough room in this blog to dig into SEO (and there are plenty of resources for that), but it’s worth noting that Google favors unique and high-quality content. That’s great news for blogging.
Consistently publishing timely, high-quality content is the best way to convince search engines that your business’s site deserves the top spot on the results page.
Producing a great video or a flashy infographic requires talent and a budget. If you’re not a digital designer and don’t have the cash to spare, don’t fret.
Instead, channel your knowledge and domain expertise into an excellent blog where you can share information that will draw in your target audience. Get yourself a WordPress blog, do all or most of the writing yourself, and create a cheap and effective way to showcase your credibility to your prospects and customers.
Your blog is the best place to capture your readers’ emails through a subscription box and then build a mailing list. It can also be your market research playground where you can test which content resonates with your prospects and customers, and strategically tailor your writing to increase traffic.
Track the traffic to your blog with a free tool such as Google Analytics so you can learn where the majority of your readers are, how much time they’re spending on your site, and what they’re interested in.
With a whopping 61% of online customers in the United States saying they made a purchase based on recommendations they read in a blog, this is vital data you do not want to miss out on.
But where do I even begin? If you’re sold on the idea of starting a blog for your business but aren’t sure where to start, here are some tips.
Your readers are busy, just like you. They don’t have time to wade through paragraph upon paragraph of content. Keep your posts short and sweet while still packing in the information you need to get across.
Make your blog posts pop with images. People are visual creatures and will be more likely to stick around if your content is easy on the eyes.
If you want your blog to be found by potential customers, you need to make sure it’s optimized for search engines. Do some keyword research, and sprinkle relevant terms throughout your post. But beware: too many keywords will result in a penalty from Google, so don’t go overboard.
In August 2022, Google released the “Helpful Content” update for their algorithm, designed to penalize sites that are creating content solely for search engine ranking. Always make sure to have humans in mind by creating quality posts that will provide knowledge and expertise.
Your blog won’t be successful if you only update it once in a while. Aim to post new content at least once a week, if not more. That will keep your readers coming back for more and help you attract new visitors.
This is your chance to show off your business’s personality, so have fun with it. Let your voice shine through, and give your readers a reason to keep coming back.
If your business is already up and running on a WordPress site, check out this guide to blogging. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our blog on why your business can’t afford to not have a website. Let Titan help you get a domain name for your business and put it to work with a business email.
To learn more about boosting your digital presence, check out our guide to getting your business online in 2022!