Now more than ever, content marketing is being used to drive web or social traffic towards your brand or products.

But, to create content that attracts people to your business, you need to demonstrate how your product or service can add value to their lives or their business. When engagement is measured in seconds, clicks and swipes you have only a few hundred characters or pixels to capture someone’s attention.

And, competition for this attention is high, but don’t be put off. Many micro, small and medium-sized businesses should turn to content marketing to draw in potential customers, but do it without having to directly ‘sell’ or ‘advertise’ to them

Instead, think about creating test articles, videos or social media posts about a business’s product or service that aren’t explicitly promotional. It’s about stimulating interest around a relevant subject, rather than posting about a promotion or product launch.

Adding value

A common mistake that many businesses make when it comes to content marketing is not adding any value to their product, service or prose.

Effective content marketing can be extremely effective when it answers customer questions more generally about the area in which you operate. This not only gives you an opportunity to help current or potential customers, but also allows you to talk about what you sell and demonstrate differentiation at the same time.

For example, if you offer accountancy services, you might create a blog post about how making tax digital is not only compulsory for VAT registered clients but also an efficient way of tracking turnover, sales and profit. Or if you make fixings that are essential to the construction industry, you might compare the costs and features of different products, including competitors, or indeed, if your product supports it highlight the need for sustainability in the supply chain and the importance this has in tenders.

Other ideas can be how to guides, including video, with a strong blog to help improve Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) scores too. This evergreen content can boost organic or paid for traffic and ultimately sales.

Remain relevant

For content that will be better read and shared, stay on top of what’s taking place in your industry, the news and what’s important to your customers or potential customers.

If a relevant topic comes up in the news, trade press or rss feed use it to create a new, fresh and current piece of content that can be distributed quickly. This could be through social, web or e-mail channels.

Take some time each day or week to research the top trends of the day. Set up Google Alerts (a service that sends a list of daily articles that match certain search terms) for keywords such as client brands, product names and market trends or individuals that are considered influencers in our market place.

Focus on results

It is vital that you identify what you want to achieve with your content marketing strategy and ensure you have tools in place to measure your outcomes. The desired outcome of the activity or campaign needs to be defined beforehand to assign the right key performance indicators (KPIs) and in turn calculate the return on investment.

Of course, you may be able to track the number of products or days of service sold, there are so many more, key metrics, you should consider and then record that can demonstrate how audiences reacted to an article, video or series of blogs.  Importantly, consider how you measure campaigns in ways that relate to the type of content. For example, video content should be measured by at least view counts, social media shares and comments.

But, ideally, businesses should be looking to drive traffic back to a defined destination within your marketing and sales systems. This could be a call centre, a web page or an event.

However, remember that while results are the goal, they shouldn’t be at the expense of content quality. Content that won’t resonate with your target audience is a story with no meaning or purpose, which means people won’t read it, which, in the long run doesn’t help them or you.

If you would like to explore how to add more value to and through your content creation, get in touch!

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