Flourishing from a start-up to an SME, and a macro business deeply rely on customer growth and market share. There are many start-ups that have been in existence for at least 3 years and still cannot count themselves as SMEs. Similarly, some SMEs with the vision to become macro enterprises are stuck in their ways. The hurdle here, is the challenge of increasing customer size and market share for the product or services being operated by these businesses. A new regime of keeping existing customers and attracting new ones to flourish your business is Content Marketing.
According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Now, this medium of marketing is not actually a new concept; it is only an innovative way of pre-existing medium of marketing.
How does it work?
Imagine how people build their personal brand – consistently posting about a particular topic of their interest until they become known to be experts or knowledgeable in that field. The next thing that happens, is the likelihood of cooperate organizations inviting such a person to participate in conferences and activities revolving around that topic.
Translating this into business, content marketing is simply providing relevant and useful information to your target audience and establishing relationships with the general audience and potential customers. The depth of the content you provide aids in establishing yourself as a thought leader so you can later offer your product or service for a fee.
So I guess you are imagining all the local systems of marketing that might qualify as content marketing: traders providing information on seeds, and herbs prior to introducing their product, or the preacher man using biblical content to justify their products. However, these systems are tend to fail and at large, businesses are unable to get the true results of content marketing. The piece missing in such cases is a content marketing strategy.
Content marketing strategy
Before you start content marketing, you need to define the niche markets for your products, services, or activities. You have to put yourself in their shoes and know what their concerns are; what are the keywords they are using on their search engines? What information are they seeking for? Once you know this, it is now your responsibility to provide credible information to your audience – this is how you get their attention. Keep in mind that your content is not selling a product/service, the aim is to build you up as a reputable expert.
This is not about posting two blog posts or tweets and expecting results. There is a need to ensure that your post is reaching the right audience (buy ads and choose your target audience). Once your content is live, use your network to promote it. Don’t publish and expect 50 organic readers a day – use the people you already know to expand the reach of the content.
Engage with your audience and let them feel safe. Answer all needed questions and don’t drive their attention to your product, you need them to trust you as a credible expert not a marketer. If you are not a good writer, get a ghost writer or content creator.
How does this benefit my business?
If the focus is not to sell your product, then why choose content marketing? The concept here is for your audience to trust you and rely on you for solutions; this is when you get to sell your products. The time to see these results are more dependent on the kind of platforms you are using to publicize your content, and also the uniqueness of the information. Additionally, the mode through which you communicate your content could change the dynamics of content marketing. Using infographic, virtual reality, and short videos differ so much from blog posts and opinion articles on online news platforms. Know where your audience are active most and deliver your content to them.
Start-ups and SMEs have a bright opportunity by using content marketing to market their products and services. It is relatively cheap but very effective mode of marketing. Be strategic about it and you will see results.