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Content Marketing 24 min read

The Power of Content Marketing for Small Businesses

The Power of Content Marketing for Small Businesses


Content Marketing Manager at BrightLocal
Over the last few years, more and more businesses have embraced the power of content marketing. This trend is surely fueled by the fact that the benefits are easy to see and hard to ignore.

An impressive 92% of marketers report that the company they work for views content as a business asset. Additionally, 46% of businesses have expressed a desire to increase their content creation spending in 2022.

The simple truth is that this is a marketing technique that businesses of any size and nature can use to their advantage. An effective content marketing plan will enable you to engage your existing audience, add value to your brand, and boost your reputation and reach. 

If you’re a small business owner and content doesn’t yet feature as a part of your marketing strategy, then you’ll want to read on. 

What is Content Marketing?

The immediate and obvious purpose of this type of content is not to sell something or to directly promote a business or brand. Instead, the content is designed to be informative, educational, and entertaining, and it’s powerful because it provides genuine value to the person consuming it.

When compared to other types of marketing, such as social media, content is undeniably one of the most cost-effective, with an average return on investment (ROI) of $40 for every dollar spent. This is one of the many reasons why content is a good choice for smaller businesses with modest budgets.

Content marketing can be utilized in many forms, such as:
Blog posts
Videos
Social media posts
Email newsletters
Webinars
Podcasts
Infographics
As you can see, there’s a number of ways to unleash the power of content. In this article, we’ll mostly be focusing on written content for website blog posts.

Benefits of Content Marketing for Small Businesses

You might be wondering how creating interesting content can lead to increased sales and a stronger web presence—and that’s a great question!

First and foremost, you’re producing something of value for your customers or clients. That’s a great way to show that you’re truly invested in how you can benefit them. Nurturing your existing relationships is always an amazing way to encourage ongoing business.

Additionally, web content is a shareable commodity. When you produce an insightful and original article, people are going to want to share it online, which is free advertising for your brand.

Furthermore, as your library of blog posts grows, you’ll be establishing yourself as an expert in your field, and that’s fantastic news for your reputation. People will begin to associate your brand with the quality they expect when looking for products or services in your niche.

At the end of the day, the beautiful thing about content marketing is that everyone benefits. The content can be enjoyed by all for free, while the creator enjoys additional exposure and interest, which can lead to higher sales and conversions.

Content Creation and Search Engine Optimization

One of the biggest advantages of content creation is that it’s integral to a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

This means that if you’re truly focused on creating great content, then the SEO benefits will naturally present. Having said that, it’s a great idea to align your content creation plan with your SEO strategy, and to manage the two side-by-side.

If you’ve been in the SEO game for a while, then you’ll already know that it’s hard to get your website ranked well in the search results without great content. If your website isn’t ranking well for the search terms that are most relevant to your products or services, then it’ll be much, much harder for new customers or clients to find you organically!

So, how can you ensure your content plan is aligned with SEO best practices?

#1 Keyword Research

Keyword research is an imperative component of both content marketing and SEO.

Your most important target keywords will be connected to the core of your business. These are the terms that people will be searching for on Google when looking for a business like yours.

For example, if you’re a mobile mechanic in San Francisco, then your primary keywords might be:
mobile mechanic San Francisco
San Francisco mechanic
mechanic near me
mobile mechanic services
In order to rank for the best search terms, you’ll have to know what they are and ensure that your website is strategically optimized for them—this is where the research comes in.

By using a professional keyword research tool, you can discover the best terms to write about on your website. If you choose Serpstat for your small business, the tool will be able to show you the different words and phrases that people are searching for, how popular and competitive they are, and more.

If you’re just starting out, then it’s wise to target low competition keywords first —these keywords are likely to have a low search volume but could still help to bring more traffic to your website.
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#2 Link Building

When you create fantastic content that attracts attention, then it’s natural to expect that other websites will link to it. This is great for boosting the visibility of your content, and it’s also great for SEO. This is because inbound links to your website are a known ranking factor. 

While you’re waiting patiently for the links to flood in, you can also reach out to other website managers to request links. There are a number of ways to do this, such as offering to write an article for someone else for free in exchange for a link, and it’s worth investing the time to get your approach right. 

Building genuine and reciprocal relationships is the best way to progress with link building. You should always be considering how you can help the other person while you’re also working to help yourself. 

#3 Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, more commonly known as E-A-T, is all to do with how Google rates the quality of web content.

Although it’s not believed to be a direct ranking factor, Google may potentially reward expert, authoritative, and trustworthy content with higher rankings. This means that it can certainly pay to be aware of E-A-T when writing for your website.

Intrigued? Let’s take a closer look!

Expertise

This relates to the author of an article or blog post. If the author is a recognized expert on the topic that they’re writing about, then this can give more credibility to the content.

For example, a searcher wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) trust an article on skin cancer treatment written by a lifestyle blogger, and Google doesn’t want to either. That’s not to say that a blogger can’t rank content on topics they’re not specifically qualified to speak about, but that the search algorithm will generally give prominence to content that is clearly created by a subject matter expert. 

Authoritativeness

The authoritativeness of a piece of written content is determined by the website it appears on, the person who wrote it, and how popular the content itself is. 

Google has several ways to evaluate authority, such as the quality and quantity of links from other websites to this content. However, there’s no secret formula to boosting your authority, it’s something that you’ll work to evolve over time.

Trustworthiness

Similar to authoritativeness, Google considers many different factors when deciding how trustworthy a site is. This relates to the overall reputation of the website and the author but is also influenced by further trust signals, such as how secure the site is, and how the business responds to online reviews. 

E-A-T is something that you can benefit from over time as you develop your online presence and reputation. Being seen as an expert in your industry can take time and this is a long-term goal that you can steadily work towards. 

What Is E-A-T And Why It's Important For SEO

The Impact of Local Content

As a small business, it’s possible that a large portion of your custom may come from your local community. This is certainly going to be the case if you have a brick-and-mortar store, as opposed to an online one. This means that building your reputation locally will be key to your success. 

In order to grow local awareness of your brand, you’ll want to demonstrate that you’re invested in the community. One way to do this is to create local content on your website. 

As well as being a valuable resource for your customers or clients, this content can also help to boost your website up the local search results. This is because you’ll naturally be using keywords within your content that have local relevance.

For example, if you’re a coffee shop in Brooklyn and you decide to start making local content for your website, then you’ll likely be making references to Brooklyn, the surrounding areas, and also to other businesses and events nearby. This helps Google to understand your local connection to the geographical area that you operate within. 

So, how can you create amazing local content?

Spend some time figuring out who your customers or clients are and what they’re interested in—more on this below. You can then tailor your content strategy to make sure you’re writing on the topics that local people truly want to read about. Stories about your customers, the other businesses on your street, interesting events that are happening in the area soon, or your take on local news stories are all brilliant options. 

Try not to be too self-promotional with your writing. Sure, it’s okay to mention at the end of a blog post that you’ve got a special offer on at the moment, but the point of the piece should be to share information about someone or something else. 

Embracing this aspect of content marketing will help to grow your reputation, demonstrate that you’re an active member of your community, and organically assist your local SEO efforts. 

What is Local SEO?

If you’ve just got to grips with the wider concept of SEO, you might now be wondering how local SEO differs. 

Local SEO tactics help you to get found in the local search results, as opposed to the general search results. This includes Google’s Local Pack and Local Finder, as well as Google Maps and the local organic search results. 

The main actions involved with local SEO are:
Managing Google Business Profile
Local content creation
Local link building
Website optimization
Citation building and management

Local Awareness: SEO Methods To Increase Local Involvement

How to Get Started with Content Marketing

Now that you understand the power of content marketing for your business, the time has come to set the wheels in motion. If you don’t have a blog on your website yet, then this should be your priority.

Begin by conducting your keyword research to determine what you should be writing about on your blog, and then get to work creating the content.

It’s incredibly helpful to have a content plan so that you can outline how often you are going to publish on your blog and what each article is going to be about. You can update and evolve your schedule as you continue to do further keyword research and as you launch new products or services.

The amount of writing that you can commit to will naturally depend on a number of things. If you are going to write yourself, then you may find it hard to set aside adequate time. Outsourcing this task to an expert agency, or hiring someone to do the work in-house, will help to remove your personal barriers.

Content Strategy vs. SEO Strategy: How to Decide Which Comes First

Identifying your Target Audience

Figuring out who is going to read and benefit from your content should always be an early step. You can get started with this by creating a selection of different buyer personas

These personas will help you to better understand what your audience wants to know, what they want to read about, and how to ensure they keep coming back for more. 

Your target audience may change over time as your business develops, so be sure to revisit this task every so often to make sure you’re still on the best track. 

Optimizing Your Blog for the Search Engines

Your blog content should always be written naturally for a human audience, but it’s also wise to appease the search algorithm by keeping your target keywords in mind.

Remember how we discussed keyword research? Make sure you use a variety of relevant keywords throughout each post and use variations of words and phrases where appropriate.

In order to further optimize your blog for the search engines, you’ll want to:
Write a great title
Use keyword-optimized header tags
Use keyword-optimized images
Add internal links to relevant content
Add external links to trusted websites
Add external links to trusted websites
Include a helpful meta description
Ideally, aim for over 2,000 words per blog post
Optimize your blog post for featured snippets.

A Complete Visual Guide to Google SERPs: What Keywords to Use And How to Get Featured

As a small business owner, you’ll surely be very passionate and knowledgeable about the products or services that you provide. This means you’ll already have a wealth of interesting information to share with your audience through your blog. 

Tools for Content Creation

There are many different tools available for those invested in content marketing. This includes professional all-in-one SEO platforms, such as Serpstat, and smaller tools for specific jobs, such as Canva for creating images, and Grammarly for checking your grammar and spelling.

If your primary focus is going to be creating written content, then knowing what the most valuable topics to write about in terms of web traffic is key. This is why concentrating on tools that provide you with this information is a sensible move. A fantastic free tool for this purpose is Google Trends.

Google Trends allows you to dive into what people are searching for and how interest in different topics has changed over time. You can compare data for different parts of the world and across specified time frames.

Another fantastic tool for informing your content strategy is AnswerThePublic. This tool uses Google search data to reveal what people are searching for and what the related questions are. This is a simple way to expand your content to include additional relevant information, thereby making your content more expansive and interesting—both to humans and to search engines.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two tools that all content marketers should have in their arsenal. These two free tools can provide exceptionally valuable insights when you know how to use them properly. If you’re not currently skilled at using them, then it’s well worth spending some time developing a working knowledge.

Experiment with the different tools available to you and find those that you are most comfortable using. It’s always wise to properly investigate how to use a tool before you jump in. This will help you to make the most of the features and functions each platform offers.

Wrapping up: Top Tips for Search Success

Getting into the flow of regularly creating fantastic content is a huge deal!

Once you’ve got the hang of the process, you can expect to look forward to increased web traffic, increased interest in your brand, and more conversions and sales. Although there’s no magic formula to success, there are certain actions you can embrace to improve your chances.
Never publish a piece of content simply because you feel you have to publish something. If there isn’t genuine value and purpose to what you’re putting out there, then hold off.
This is a problem that has been particularly evident across social media since its inception. Brands understand the benefit of being present on social media and many are guilty of sharing pointless content just for the sake of saying something. When you do this, whether on your website or on your social channels, you’re just aimlessly adding to the noise. This can actually put people off and direct them towards your competitors.
Ensure you are promoting the content that you create.
Writing an amazing blog post is a major accomplishment, but the fun doesn’t end there. You will need to circulate your content to get others excited about it. Post it on your social media platforms with an interesting caption, include it in your email newsletters, and link to it from other parts of your website.
Don’t underestimate the power of repurposing or rewriting your content in the future.
If an article hasn’t performed well, then there’s no harm in using it as the basis for a video or infographic instead. Alternatively, you might want to have another go at writing the article to make it more interesting, exciting, and valuable.
Although it can be time-consuming, it’s a good idea to evaluate the performance of a piece of written content several months after publication.
You can check which keywords your article is ranking for and then make edits to better optimize it. Undertaking this research will also show you where traffic to this article is coming from—such as the organic search results or social media—and also show you the journey that a user takes through your website once they’ve discovered the article.

Use all of the insights that you’re able to gather about your existing content to inform your strategy moving forwards. This way, you’ll continue to improve your efforts and enhance your creativity to build a content marketing strategy that supports your business goals.
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The opinion of the guest post authors may not coincide with the opinion of the Serpstat editorial staff and specialists.

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