Content marketing is one the top practices at the moment. But you need to know what is content marketing and if you own a small business, how can you get benefit from it?
While content marketing has existed as a buzzword only for not that many years, it really consists of approximately two dozen diverse marketing tools that are commonly known to almost all knowledgeable Internet marketers.
According to the latest Business-to-Business Small Business Content marketing research reports, published by the Content Marketing Institute, the ultimate source of content marketing related info, the most popular content marketing tool, is the use of social media such as MySpace
Even though social media itself includes about a dozen very popular platforms, small firms favour LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The second most preferred marketing tool is placing articles on the company’s website. Other tools, typically taken advantage of by more than 50% of small businesses, include email newsletters, blogs, case studies, videos, stories on other websites, white papers and webcasts.
Most small businesses believe in the power of articles – whether they are placed on the company’s own website or media websites. However, despite their reputation, most small companies are not certain of the value of those news stories.
I believe this is because news stories are a misunderstood marketing tool. Business owners that work with a third party to place sponsored articles to other websites, frequently tend to make the mistake of being way too self-promotional. Maybe this is because most business owners can often be proud of their achievements or maybe third party marketing companies think that they will need to use a promotional tone. The end result is a news story that may be clicked because of a catchy headline, but that does not channel potential customers to the company’s website, does not enable the company to collect highly qualified leads, and therefore, will not expand sales.
If you choose not to agree with this notion, just visit press release distribution companies’ websites such as PR Log and their newsroom. I believe you will find 75% of news releases surprisingly self-promotional, filled with content that reporters would consider dreadful.
The other generally utilised marketing tool is to place articles on the company’s own website. This can be tremendously powerful if the small business already has an active following… people who visit your website for new information.
However, if your goal is to grow sales, this tool may not meet expectations either. If the story has been licensed from a content marketing company and already published someplace else, search engines, such as Yahoo, will recognise that it is just a duplicate. As the news is not unique content, it will not advance your website’s keyword ranking that greatly.
If optimising your web site and driving potential customers to it was that easy, everyone would just place links to other people’s stories on their website and laugh all the way to the bank!
New studies state that people find traditional advertisements pushy, so news stories can be a very powerful content marketing tool. This is why a handful of content marketing companies specialise in building news sites for small and medium sized companies. It is as if you owned your own newspaper or trade journal.
The content marketing company with a strong background in journalism and media establishes a separate news site for your business and then produces articles and produces videos that are put on the site. The end result looks like a mainstream news site, even though its sole purpose is to convince its readers to contact the company, the exclusive sponsor of the news site. Articles may have a call for action with a link to the company’s website, or any other contact information.
Some small businesses still think they can manage their operations and produce good results by handling content marketing on the side, even though the news site outsourcing process is easy and economical. Approximately 40% outsource some part of content generation but only 5% of small business owners use outsourced content exclusively. 65% of large companies rely on external consultants and outsource their content creation.