I’m often asked how content marketing benefits a business – especially a startup or small business. It’s a fair question, and the answer is… it depends.
If you’ve read a few articles about modern marketing you know that today’s buyers have changed, demanding changes in the way you go about trying to reach them.
Buyers stay mostly invisible during their buyer’s journey, so you must help them see you before you can see them.
Buyers are looking for helpful information, so you can’t just pitch products to them.
Buyers don’t care about you or your company (at least not initially), so you must understand and serve their needs, not yours.
At its most basic level, content marketing benefits your business by aligning your actions with these realities of buyer behavior. It’s the smart way to build trusting relationships: provide helpful, educational information that buyers truly care about.
But what exactly can content marketing do for you? How will it fit into your business? It depends…
Content marketing benefits depend on your strategy
Strategy is the essential starting point for any content marketing journey. Specifically, you need to Focus Fast and Aim Adeptly in order to get your content marketing execution off on the right foot.
Focus comes first. Before you can gain any content marketing benefits, you need to determine what your specific business niche is going to be, clearly describe your unique value proposition, and decide how you’ll use content marketing to communicate that value.
My Content Marketing Startup site provides a framework for these decisions, but there’s no such thing as a standard content strategy or approach – you must make your strategy uniquely yours.
Your focus will define your desired content marketing benefits.
Content marketing benefits depend on your niche
One key to successful content marketing (and business startups) is to target a narrow niche for your business specialty. That’s because it’s easier to be an expert in a small arena than to cover everything well in a broad universe.
B2B firms can narrow their focus by geography, industry, business size, job role or level of expertise served (or all of these).
B2C companies can tighten their niche using geography, sub-topics, demographics and more.
A narrow niche will help focus your blog topics. But it will also give the rest of your content the focus it needs to be effective. The more you focus your niche, the more likely content marketing will help you achieve success.
As Vikas Singh, Partner of 24×7 Digital Solution puts it,
Stop writing about everything. So many brands create content and try to cover everything, instead of focusing on the core niche that they can position themselves as an expert around. No one cares about your special recipe… Find your niche, and then go even more niche.
The unique characteristics of your chosen niche will determine both your content marketing strategy and your expected benefits.
Content marketing benefits are driven by your revenue model
Content marketing can help almost any type of business. But the specific benefits you’ll gain depend on your revenue model.
If you’re selling physical products, you might find that content marketing can help you drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar or e-commerce store. For digital products, your content marketing will likely be focused on driving downloads, upgrades or add-on options.
Other business models will greatly affect how content marketing benefits are derived. Where are you on this (partial) list of ways to generate revenue?
- Physical products
- Digital products
- Personal services
- Business services
- Advertising revenue
- Education and training
- Reselling or referring others’ products
- Freelance marketing
- Agency relationships
For your business, align your content marketing efforts to support your specific revenue model. That will determine your likely benefits.