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Content marketing is the ideal tool for small businesses. Do it right and it’ll help you grow and get new customers. Take Marcus Sheridan, for example. A small business owner who, to date, has made over £1.2 million from a SINGLE blog post. Read on for more examples, and find out how you can do something similar.

Of course, I’m not saying that the odd blog post here and there will land you six figure revenues. But when done right, content marketing has certainly got the potential to radically increase your site traffic and significantly boost your main business KPIs.

So I’ve broken the topic down into four sub-sections, including blogging, “how to guides”, social media and listicles, to give a bit more of an overview.

Blogging

It’s easy to forget that blogging was once quite new and cutting edge. But now it’s everywhere, and there are more than 2 million blog posts published every single day. If you don’t have a business blog, it’s high time to start one!

But with that much information flying around it can be hard to stand out. First off you need to focus on what your customers are really interested in. What is it that engages them? No one likes a pushy salesman or having things rammed in their face. Consumers aren’t stupid, and they’ll spot a sales pitch straightaway.

The answer? Time for some examples.

Let’s start with a closer look at Marcus’ remarkable story (as discussed in Joe Pulizzi’s latest book, Content Inc). Marcus is one of the owners of River Pools and Spas, a failing business he managed to turn around by focusing exclusively on content marketing.

Marcus’ business sells fibreglass pools to homeowners. Traditional channels, such as TV and radio advertising, where no longer proving effective (not to mention expensive). So he cut back on these, and instead focused on what users really wanted. For Marcus’ customers it was more information on the cost of fibreglass pools, and how they differ from concrete ones.

The move paid off. Big time. In an interview with the New York Times he even said he can directly link £1,170,000 worth of sales to that one blog post. Not bad!

Social Media

Along with blogging, social media is another contemporary buzzword it’s hard to get away from. Be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, these platforms are an excellent way to market your business. As a picture is worth a thousand words I thought it would be better to provide a few example that you can check for yourself, rather than ramble on:

  • NASA have brought their machine exploring Mars to life with a funny, engaging Twitter account. The Curiosity Rover’s account already has over 2 million followers.
  • Tentsile Hammocks’ Instagram account is a collection of photos showing all the weird and wonderful places across the globe where people use the company’s hammocks. I defy you to check it out and not feel the urge to buy one!
  • On the more “serious” end of the social media spectrum a great example is IBM’s LinkedIn page. It frequently ranks as one of the pages with the most user interactions, and now has almost 3 million followers.
“How to” Guides

These are another great way of providing informative, useful articles that people will engage with. A great, if somewhat unusual example, comes from the Government!

Their revamped “simpler, clearer, faster” website makes it easy to find government services and information. Their “how to” guides cover everything from apprenticeships and voting, to detailed guidance on boating.

Another great example of a site with excellent “how to” guides is Mashable. There are quite literally thousands of guides on their site though, so make sure you keep your “research” targeted and don’t let it turn into an afternoon of procrastination.

Listicles

This concept goes as far back as Moses and the Ten Commandments. When it comes to content marketing “top tens” are one of the most effective ways of conveying information. They’re simple and straightforward. Putting a list together is the easy bit, but the secret to a truly great listicle lies in your background research.

Take, for example, the lists that Buzzfeed produces. Easy to digest, but still full of information and engaging content. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to do a list why not take a look at Listverse. They have “lists of everything under the Sun”.

By John Hills, Marketing Manager, Zervant