17 Ways content marketing provides a competitive advantage

Marketing a small business and promoting services, using content marketing can be done using several different business channels, however, content marketing is still one of the best ways that companies can connect with their intended audience and advertise products or service offerings. 

Written content allows businesses to make a direct connection with their followers which can be a powerful and persuasive marketing tool. Not only can content tools be used to sell online, but they can also be effective as a lead generation system and help companies to expand their reach or find new markets. 

Here are some of the ways that small businesses can use content marketing to their full advantage:

1. Build a brand

One of the best ways to create a recognizable brand is to start by managing your content presence. Think about the kind of content you want to post and how it aligns with your business ethics and principles. 

The items you post will give your audience information that tells them what your company does, and what it stands for. In a world where people are increasingly concerned with where their money goes, this is a chance for you to share the moral and ethical beliefs of your company and show your follower’s the causes or social concerns that you support. 

On a more localized level, brand building can be achieved with consistent use of content and topics to help create recognition of your business in the wider marketplace. 

2. Promote products and services

Online stores and payment tools mean that visitors to your accounts have the opportunity to view products and make purchases directly from your page. 

This can help increase sales conversions and minimizes the risk of ‘drop-offs’ often seen when customers click through to websites and need to wait for pages to load, or are directed to the wrong page. 

Presenting your products using content is free in most cases and is an excellent way to showcase items or advertise sales and discounts to your audience. 

Limited-time sales and offers can be an effective way of driving conversions and with the content tools available, special deals and one-off items can be presented to an already engaged audience. 

3. Sell online with content marketing

Selling online can be targeted directly to your audience and past customers using content marketing to alert customers. Seasonal sales or exclusive deals can be presented via content articles and purchases made by directing buyers to your company website. 

Increasing the number of sales online can be boosted by content promotion across business or social accounts. This tactic can be used to effectively grow followers who have already made a purchase by suggesting they follow your content accounts for future deals. 

The fear of missing out or FOMO can be used to increase follower numbers by tempting them with the promise of future deals and exclusive or advanced offers. 

4. Generate leads

Consistent and active lead growth can be managed using content marketing by encouraging sign-ups to an email list or similar using powerful calls to action and content tools. 

Content marketing can be a useful strategy for growing email lists which can be used in conjunction with content channels to support marketing efforts. 

Lead and list generation can be easily managed and regular posting to other platforms helps to promote your brand or business to interested parties in a non-aggressive way, creating an inbound content marketing channel that users can choose to follow or not without pressure.

5. Attract followers

Content marketing is an excellent outreach tool and with the use of consistent posts, branded graphics, and interesting content, you can be extremely effective at reaching new people or audiences and attracting customers. 

Positioning content with the effective use of keywords can have the effect of expanding business reach dramatically. 

This places your content strategically in front of people who have an interest in your products or services but who don’t fit your typical demographic or buyer profile, and may find your offerings of value. 

6. Share news and updates

Keeping your audience engaged is important if you wish to build a solid customer base, so frequent business updates give people a fantastic reason to follow you.

Anyone who follows your channels will be more inclined to remain if they know that they are the first to receive the latest and greatest news about your company. 

News shared can be anything from new hires, business collaborations, or even internal promotions. It gives your audience the feeling that they are directly involved in the internal movements and decision-making that happens behind the scenes. 

With regular bulletins and updates your followers will be more inclined to stay loyal, and posting this type of content helps to build a level of trust in your company.

7. Market positioning

Content marketing is useful for positioning your business in front of the correct buyers and decision-makers. 

This is where research pays off big time to find and use the right keywords or mention the right people in your articles. 

This allows you to reach the people who will buy your services and/or recommend them to their own audience or business associates, placing you in front of an entirely new realm of buyers or cohorts. 

Take advantage of business research and identify your ideal buyer or a handful of defined buyer personas. 

Good market positioning can expand your business reach exponentially.

8. Answer customer questions

Answer your customer’s questions and use your content posts as a resource or knowledge base. 

Help your clients untangle problems or work through issues publicly using your content channels. 

Users can benefit from the information shared and managing questions this way has the added bonus of demonstrating availability and willingness to help your followers solve any issues.

It shows your business in a favorable light to users who may be on the fence about using your services and is a great way to show off your commitment to a positive customer journey. 

9. Use thought leadership

Take a look around at what your competitors are doing. What do they talk about? What kind of information are they sharing? 

Examine the content that they post to their company blog and then strive to go one step beyond. 

This can help to differentiate your business in the marketplace and establish your company as an authority or a thought leader on different subjects and topics. 

Along with increasing awareness of your company it promotes an intelligent viewpoint on industry issues and gives your audience an alternative to consider. 

It can also make a refreshing change from the ‘run of the mill’ content that other businesses frequently fall into the trap of posting. 

10. Gain more traffic

In terms of marketing, content pieces can be one of the best ways to drive free traffic to you business website. 

Whether your goal is product awareness, lead capture, or promotion, interesting and engaging articles are instrumental in gaining website traffic. 

Monitor traffic using Google Analytics or similar to help you identify how much traffic is being driven from your blog. 

Use them to identify the type of posts that get the best reactions and make more content along the same lines. 

11. Content marketing and sharing

Content and articles are perfect for sharing across other platforms, but that doesn’t have to be limited to one-off posts. 

Content shared on social channels can be an effective marketing tactic. For example, if you write articles for a company blog, these can be shared and linked on social posts to expand readership. 

Some platforms like Linkedin even include their own article-writing tools that can be used to copy or share blogs with your audience. 

Any content that can be linked has the potential to be added to social feeds allowing followers to click and view, or listen to the items that you share.

12. Engage your audience

Small businesses can gain more followers are creating positive relationships with their followers using content and email subscription accounts. 

Where big business and larger corporations can sometimes seem impersonal and aloof, small companies can use their communications friendly and approachable. 

This can be helpful for building direct and meaningful relationships with followers and building trust in your business. 

Customers will be more likely to buy from a company that they view as a friend of a colleague, so keeping users engaged is a great way to encourage sales. 

13. Crisis management

Every so often, disaster will strike. Despite best efforts, there will always be rare occasions where things go awry. 

Order management systems cease to function, email servers stop delivering, or maybe some kind of natural disaster disrupts operations. 

In this case, content channels and email lists can be a lifeline to maintain communications with customers and keep followers up to date on all developments. 

Problems and anticipated fixes can be shared along with projected timelines to keep your followers fully updated on events. 

Even if services are interrupted, regular and informative bulletins and articles can keep customers calm, removing the uncertainty surrounding unexpected circumstances. 

14. Content marketing insights

Most small companies will use content marketing to promote services or advertise their company, but many don’t use their accounts to their full capability. 

Tools like data monitoring and analytics can be used to gauge interest and reactions to individual posts and monitor things like traffic growth over weeks and months. 

Learning how to review analytical information and extract meaningful insights can help small businesses to pinpoint the kind of content that is most effective and use it to grow accounts even faster. 

Interpreting customer engagement can be useful to direct content and target the right kind of audience. 

15. Brand recognition

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages for small businesses that keep an active content marketing presence is brand recognition. 

Smaller companies who do not have the unlimited advertising budget of larger organizations can carve out a healthy chunk of the marketplace simply by growing and maintaining their company blog. 

Millennials and Gen Z users frequently use search engines to find information or answer questions and having an active presence can help many small businesses be ‘discovered’ by searchers. 

Using engaging and consistent posts generates a healthy brand image and increases recognition among users. 

16. Social causes

Consumers are increasingly concerned with where are how their money is spent, shunning companies that support regimes or engage in behaviors that do not align with social justice or fairness. 

A robust blog presence can be the ideal way to demonstrate and share the kind of causes or initiatives your business supports, and in a socially aware and conscious environment, it can make the difference between winning and losing customers. 

Incentives like a percentage of all sales going to charity or supporting education in emerging economies are all things that should be freely shared on your company blog to demonstrate your commitment to ethical business practices.

17. Put a human face on business

Having the ability to communicate and connect with followers is a way of putting a human face on your company. 

Adding a personal touch to the business process and being real, creates relationships and can generate a high level of loyalty among followers. 

Smaller businesses are coming to the fore leading on things like customer service and one-to-one communications in a way that makes customers feel really cared for and listened to.

This can provide a distinct advantage over big businesses that, with thousands of customers and inquiries to manage, are just not able to provide the same level of personal attention. 

Final words

While it can be easy to judge content marketing as a business ‘must-have’ the truth is that posting good content is an active, entertaining, and effective tool when it comes to connecting with your audience. 

For small businesses using company blog’s properly and making use of sharing options can give an uncommon advantage, even above and beyond that of larger companies.

For help with your business content contact Content CEO today