There is no doubt that an essential marketing tool for any business large or small is a company website. Yet according to a report compiled by the University of Maryland in conjunction with Network Solutions, only 56% of small businesses have an online presence. The other 44% somehow manage (or not as the case may be) without a website or any online marketing whatsoever.

Given the fact that there are around 4.7 billion searches carried out every single day on Google alone and around 46% of these are initiated purely for product and services, it’s hardly going to be a level playing field.

Within the framework of an online presence come 3 key elements. These are…

As these factors have developed, there’s one common link that binds all of the above and that’s good content. For this reason content marketing is vital to the success of any business.

So why does content marketing work. Let’s look at some reasons…

Passing information on

Great content is a way of passing relevant information on to your existing customers and prospects. Whether this is on social media sites, via your blog or using a well-timed press release, it’s an efficient way of getting the right information out quickly.

Brand image

Well managed and well written content can also help to establish your company as the ‘go to’ people for products and services and to this extent it can be a powerful marketing tool. Done properly content marketing can really develop your brand identity quickly as well as establish you as a brand of trust by your readers.

SEO ranking

Content marketing remains a key element in determining your SEO ranking. This ultimately determines how much traffic your site receives and from this, how much business you’ll get.

Social media

Social media isn’t going to go away, and it remains a vital part of online business marketing. With this in mind, content is needed to develop an active presence on social media platforms and if carried out correctly, can firmly put you ahead in the marketing stakes.

 

As we’ve already established, content marketing really is that important to businesses yet companies still put up hurdles.

Some of the all too common barriers are as follows;

Denial

Despite the overwhelming reasons behind why content is key, many businesses adopt the ‘tried it once, didn’t work’ stance and remain in denial of its effectiveness. Many businesses put up a website as a once off project and do not want to view it as an ongoing effort. To coin a phrase – “Content Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint”

Fear of the unknown

It’s a fact of life that some businesses don’t like change and have a discomfort of all things modern and are therefore reluctant to embrace it. However it’s an unfortunate way of life that in 2013 those who don’t adapt are likely not to survive. That’s just a reality of business today.

Wait and See

Although you may have come around to the fact that content marketing works, instead you might choose to adopt a ‘wait and see’ philosophy. Unfortunately in businesses, the all too familiar decision of making absolutely no decision could prove costly as your competitors move further ahead of the game. Particularly in this area – those who move first will have a significant advantage in that they will have cemented their position with regard to Search Engines, Social Media and Brand Awareness.

We have nothing to talk about!

Often when we start to talk to businesses about Content Marketing – this is one of the big objections that comes up. But it does not really hold up. Regardless of the industry there is always valuable, interesting content. Whether it is company news, industry news, events, innovations, case studies, employee updates – the list just goes on and on. The difficulty is not having things to talk about – the challenge is to take the time to sit down, identify these and convert them into a content marketing plan.

Do It Yourself

If you have a website with an integrated blog you may decide to write the content yourself. After all how difficult can it be right?

If you’ve got the skillsets and the time/resources this is great. But unfortunately many people under estimate the time needed to do it well because proper content marketing needs continual planning, assessing and evaluating. It should also be carried out regularly and sustained over a long period of time. Instead it might be prudent to outsource some of all of this area of your operation, leaving you free to run your business.

It’s not for us!

Finally the last hurdle or barrier that small businesses put in the way of content marketing is total dismissal. Suggesting that online content marketing simply won’t work for you or that your industry is different. I have yet to come across an industry where information, knowledge, reputation and brand are not important. Even if the major players in your industry are not engaged – this simply means that the opportunity is waiting there for you or a new entrant.

 

So there you have it…content marketing is absolutely key to your online marketing methods and if you’ve been putting it off, or thinking that it just won’t work for you, then the smart thing would be to think again.

For further information regarding content marketing and how it can help grow your business, please contact us.