Sometimes it can be hard to fully understand how something that might seem abstract to you can be really good for your business. I find this to be the case when it comes to content marketing. Many small- and medium-sized business owners struggle to see the value of developing and publishing marketing content on a regular basis ? even though there is ample evidence of how effective it can be to growing your business.?

If you count yourself as a business owner who does not quite see the value of content marketing let?s look at what content marketing really is. It?s storytelling.?

Content marketing is about telling the story of your business. Everyone loves a good story. For proof, look at how much people love to watch movies, binge television shows, or spend endless hours reading a book series. A good story has the power to draw people in and make them care about the characters in it. People devote hours to learning more about the world the characters live in and some are even compelled to add their own spin via fanfiction.?

How does a story get told? Through content.?

We do not tend to see movies, television, books, and other forms of entertainment as content, but that’s exactly what it is.?

For marketers, we can use content marketing to tell a different kind of story. The story of your business differs from superheroes, wizards, or talking animals; but it has the same underlying goal: grab the attention and imagination of our intended audience and get them to become fans.?

Let?s look at how you can get started with content marketing:

Set Goals

I start every marketing project by stating my goals.? I want to have a clear understanding of what I need to accomplish so I can properly detail how I am going to do it. Whether you are developing the content yourself or you are paying someone else to do it, you want the objectives to be clear. Otherwise you can waste a lot of time AND money.?

You want your marketing content to have a clear and defined purpose. The best way to do that is to state your goals.?

Research Your Competition

Before you get started do some research and look at your competition. In particular, look at larger competitors that represent where you want to be in the future. Chances are they are targeting a similar audience. You can see which marketing channels they are using, what types of marketing content they are developing and publishing, and how often they are putting out content.?

You will also see which pain points they are addressing. This can help you come up with some potential topics for your own content.?Create Marketing Calendar

One way to help you save time and money when developing and publishing marketing content is to create a marketing calendar. A marketing calendar details which topics you are focusing on, what types of marketing content you are developing and publishing, which marketing channels you are using for your content, who is responsible for creating the content, and when should everything be completed, reviewed, and published.?

In short a marketing calendar helps you stay organized so you do not lose track of what you are trying to accomplish.?

Have The Correct Mindset

Most businesses create marketing content to generate organic traffic and leads. If this is what you are going for, then you have to look at content marketing as a marathon and not a sprint. You are building trust with your audience and this can take time. This is where it helps to have your marketing goals written down so you can review them and review your progress. Going the organic route takes time, so do not start believing marketing myths that can discourage and sway you from your goals.?

If you do choose to develop marketing content for paid ads, that is great. Just make sure you take into account all the factors and have the correct mindset for that path as well.?

Create, Publish, and Promote

Now it?s time to get busy. You have detailed your path to content marketing success, so now is up to you to walk it. Schedule time in your weekly calendar to create marketing content, review anything that has been done, or touch base with whomever is responsible for creating your content.?

As you publish your content, especially blogs and videos, make sure you promote across your social media channels and send an email with links to your content.?

Review and Improve

As you publish content periodically review how it is performing. Are you gaining new followers or email subscribers? Is your content yielding more quality leads? Do you readers interact with your content by sharing or commenting? If the answer to any of these questions is ?no?, review the analytics in social media or your email marketing platform. Determine where the fall off is happening and take actions to correct it.

I have found that every business has a story. And to date I have not found a business whose story has not been interesting. I would venture to say that every business, in their own right, has a compelling story to tell. Tell your story via content marketing. Connect with your audience and build a following. You may not inspire a grand epic told over multiple movies or several seasons of television, but then again you do not have to. All you have to do it get someone interested enough to contact you.

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