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Content marketing generates business for small business

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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The business marketplace has changed for a variety of reasons.

No longer do larger firms with 100 or more employees dominate the playing field. According to the US Census, 98.2 percent of all U.S. businesses in 2010 had 99 employees or less. Today’s marketplace is truly all about medium and small businesses.

This change in the marketplace coupled with the impact of technology has change how firms are attracting attention and building relationships. Marketing has evolved more employing education as a primary means of attracting new customers. Education-based marketing relies heavily on content marketing.

For some small to mid size (SMB) business owners, content marketing may not be fully understood. I personally did not understand it when I decided more than seven years ago to learn more about marketing to my target audience of small business owners.

My first effort was to place some articles over at Ezine Articles. Actually, I was quite proud of my first 25 articles. Then I had a conversation with Chris Knight, CEO of Ezine Articles, in June 2005 and he said I needed hundreds to thousands of articles. All of a sudden my initial glee turned quickly to doom.

Being someone who is goal driven, I started setting monthly goals and now seven years later I have more than 1,800 articles on Ezine and hundreds of articles on other sites such as Evan Carmichael and Sales Gravy. To date, my articles have been republished more than 20,000 times. By the way, if you think 1,800 is good, there are writers with more than 20,000 articles.

After engaging in content marketing through article distribution, I then expanded into having my own blog, which now delivers around 80 percent of my 400 daily unique visitors and 6,000 daily hits. From these efforts of article distribution and blogging, my name is easily searched on the web and secures more than 100,000 hits. All of these results can be traced back to content marketing.

So what is this term content marketing? In doing my research this term is truly a broad one. The purpose is to use content to attract and build relationships with potential customers. To achieve this purpose requires:

• Understanding keywords

• Writing compelling copy that is emotionally engaging

• Delivering quality content

• Providing quantity content

• Being consistent in publication of the content

This online business column is an example of content marketing. As mentioned earlier, blogs and article writing are also examples of content marketing.

With the Internet, small business owners and professional sales people now have the opportunity to attract attention and build relationships without investing big bucks. Of course, this suggests those individuals have the ability to write a compelling and emotionally engaging narrative. The good news even if you lack those skills there is plenty of good copy writers to be hired to fill that gap.

One of the benefits of content marketing is the more you write, the better you think and the better you think the more you write. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy allowing you to gain greater clarity about your own small business, local to national trends as well as what your customers and potential customers are seeking.

As I have shared with clients and when I have delivered keynotes, the goal for any small business is to “just be valuable.” Content marketing allows for that goal to be realized.

Next week’s column will focus on the impact of technology on integrated marketing and the end of the month will look at measurement of marketing.

P.S. Shout Out: Need a plumber? Tiger Plumbing in Highland or Hines Plumbing in Valparaiso may answer that call.

Ezine Articles – www.ezinearticles.com,

Evan Carmichael – www.evancarmichael.com

Sales Gravy – www.salesgravy.com



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