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  • What does content marketing do?
  • What does digital marketing do?
  • What does email marketing do?

What do any of these do and most importantly, which one is the best for your small business? 

You can find countless articles both in favor and adamantly against any of these topics, which doesn’t really help you any. The unappealing truth is, it really just depends on your business, your clientele, and what you can commit to.

So let’s talk about Content Marketing. What does it do, how to create a content marketing strategy, what’s involved in creating the strategy, and the pros and cons to content marketing. 

Whatever tactic you decide to do, make a decision and stick with it. Give it time to grow and change and give yourself time to respond and adapt. 

Let’s get to it! 

What Is Content Marketing? 

To quote Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

AKA it’s providing useful and valuable information and resources without selling, pitching, or interrupting your client. 

Here’s an example. 

Let’s say your mom (or someone) gave you an Aloe plant. This may or may not be based on a true story. She rattled off the instructions on how to take care of it, but were you listening? 

Kind of. 

Was it a lot to remember? 


You could call her OR you could take to the internet like a big kid and figure it out yourself. So you google “how often does an Aloe plant need to be watered?”. You get a million options but you find a blog from a local plant shop. Not only does it have the answer to the one question you asked…

  • It has pictures
  • It shows you an Aloe plant in poor health
  • It shows a thriving Aloe plant
  • It shows you how to place it in the sun and for how long
  • It even shows what type of soil to keep it in. 

Great! So in a few weeks when your plant starts to look like the one in poor health you go back to that website and see what else you can find. 

  • Did you miss something important in that blog? 
  • Is there another blog on what to do if you’re slowly unaliving your Aloe? 
  • Maybe they have an option to bring in your plant and they’ll tell you how to fix it.

So of course you go in. And while you’re there you pick up some soil, maybe a new pot. And when your Aloe plant starts thriving, where are you going to continue to go back to? 

That plant shop helped you save your Aloe plant and gained a customer without one single ad, pop-up, or without making you talk to someone on the phone or sit through a sales call. 

What Does Good Content Marketing Do? 

Of course in examples everything is beautiful and everything works perfectly. But realistically, WHY does content marketing work? HOW does content marketing work?

Content marketing works in a variety of ways, the following being the main ones. 

1. Establishes expertise 

When you’re putting out good, quality content, people notice and you become a trusted name. By creating pieces that are well thought out, that fully answer people’s questions, that examine different aspects and perspectives of the industry, or are just plain helpful something happens. 

  • People actually consume what you’re putting out there
  • You get backlinks
  • You rank higher
  • You build customer trust 
  • You build brand loyalty 

2. Builds brand awareness

Brand awareness might seem elusive, like a concept that agencies trick you into believing. While I’m sure some do, brand awareness is extremely important. You might be thinking ‘I’m just a small business, I don’t need to be a household name’, and you’re right! 

But you need to be a name in a few households. 

Brand awareness: 

  • Creates trust 
  • Makes you the first choice
  • Gives you repeat customers
  • Repeat customers give you referrals and reviews 
  • It builds customer loyalty / keeps you top of mind
  • Creates positive associations

3. Helps generate more (and better) leads

Content marketing can help generate better leads? 

Now we’re talking! You see, the average person does their research before making a purchase. 

Whether that’s reading blogs, case studies, reviews, or anything else. 

Just imagine the difference talking to a lead who has read reviews or done 3-5 pages of research compared to someone who hasn’t. If you’re not putting out the information for them to easily research, you’re not doing yourself any favors. 

4. Good content marketing provides value

I’ve said it a few times already and I’ll say it a few more, your content needs to provide value. There are more than 600 million blog posts (as of April 2022), it’s easy to get lost in them all. 

  • How do you make sure yours stands out? Provide value. 
  • How do you make sure Google ranks it high? Provide value + SEO

There’s a big difference between a 500 word blog and a 5,500 word blog — and I’m not just talking about word count. It’s easy to think no one is going to read a 5,500 word blog and sure, a lot of people won’t. 

But you don’t want ‘a lot of people’ you want ‘the right people’. The word count is irrelevant, what is relevant is the value. Are you answering their questions? Are you providing value? 

It’s example time! 

Let’s say I’ve always been interested in wine but it’s a lot to keep up with and understand. Now, I’m going to a fancy dinner in a couple of weeks and I want to know enough to sound intelligent when I talk about it and how to pair it. 

I could easily find a short blog that says order red wine with red meat and order white with fish and poultry OR I can find myself reading a 1,000 word blog that links out to everything I ever wanted to know about wine

Now I not only know what food to pair it with, but what glass to drink it out of (serve it in), enough background to have an intelligent conversation about wine, how to taste, how to pair it with food, how to buy wine, and more! For me, it’s a no brainer.  

When providing value, you need to know who you’re creating content for and what they consider valuable. 

Creating A Content Marketing Strategy

If you’re a content marketing believer (which you should be at this point) and you’re ready to go all in, there’s just one more thing you need to do. Create a content marketing strategy! 

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen companies ‘wing it’ or ‘create a strategy’ that never gets written down. There is no quicker way for your content marketing to fail than to not create a step by step strategy the whole team can follow. 

Trust me, do not wing it. Your content marketing strategy helps everyone remember and aim for the ‘why’ behind it all. It’s your map, your master plan for what’s being created, when it’s being created, who’s doing the creating, and where it’s being posted. 

Create A Content Marketing Strategy

  1. Identify Your Team & Their Responsibilities
  2. Identify Your Goal
    1. Boost Your SEO Presence
    2. Build Brand Awareness
    3. Increase Sales
  3. Identify Your Audience
    1. You may already have one but if not you’re going to need to come up with a buyer persona.
      1. What does the average person/people look like who buy from you? 
      2. What are their concerns? 
      3. What are their worries? 
      4. What problems are they trying to solve? 
      5. What does their buyer journey look like?

It’s important to cater your content to this buyer persona. MailChimp put it best, “When it’s done right, this content conveys expertise and makes it clear that a company values the people to whom it sells.”

  1. What Type Of Content Will You Be Making? 
    1. There’s a lot of different kinds of content available within a content marketing plan. It includes:
      1. Blogs
      2. Newsletters
      3. Emails
      4. Ebooks
      5. White papers
      6. Social media
      7. Videos and more. 

Play up what you’re best at but remember different content performs better at different stages of the buying process (we’ll get into that).

  1. Write/Edit/Post The Content
    1. This seems obvious but you’ll want to have a clear understanding of:
      1. Who’s drafting
      2. Who’s writing
      3. Who’s editing
      4. Who’s posting
      5. Who’s creating 

If it’s being outsourced to a content writer like myself and/or a graphic designer, make sure everyone knows. It’s the small things that can cause you to fall behind and derail your timeline. 

  1. Schedule It
    1. You’ll want to create a content plan 3-6-12 months ahead of time. Things can of course be adjusted, but it’s helpful to have a long-term plan the team can work off of (and maybe even get ahead on). *gasp* Create a master copy everyone can refer to that includes what type of content is being posted when, on what platform, and under what topic. 
  2. Post/Promote
    1. Post it, send it out wherever it needs to go and absolutely make sure you tell your audience it’s there! Toot your own horn — you are your greatest advocate. 

How Do You Know What Kind Of Content To Create For Your Audience? 

Ahh, this topic could have its own entire blog — maybe I’ll consider making one. Because this is always the question isn’t it? Sure, I can write, but what should I write? 

  1. Step one: Map out your buyer’s journey which consists of 3 main stages. 
  2. Step two: Research what questions people are asking and looking for at each stage and find relevant keywords you can rank for to create content around. 

The Buyer’s Journey

1. Awareness

  • What’s Going On: People are looking for high-level information. They have a problem but they don’t know what it is. 
  • Your Purpose: You want to show up in people’s searches when they’re asking questions. This helps you to establish authority and earn their trust for when they’re ready to buy later down the road.
  • Relevant Content: Ebooks, Social Media, Whitepapers, Blogs.
  • Example: Using a composting company as an example, the questions people are most likely asking at this stage include: 
  • How Bad Is Food Waste? 
  • How Can I Minimize Food Waste?
  • Does *My City* Compost? 
  • Can I Compost In *My City*
  • How Does Composting Help Reduce Food Waste? 

2. Consideration

  • What’s Going On: The problem has been clearly defined. They’re researching available solutions but not ready to buy.
  • Your Purpose: Separate Yourself From Indirect Competitors, Educate The Audience.
  • Relevant Content: Blogs, Case Studies, How-Tos, Checklists
  • Example: Keeping with the composting company, questions at this stage likely include:
    • Vermicomposting VS Composting
    • What is Industrial Composting
    • How Much Food Waste The Average Household Creates (and Can Save By Composting)
    • Composting VS Recycling
    • How A Composting Company Helped Divert X Tons of Food Waste From A Neighborhood/Business 
    • How To Compost In A City/What Can Be Composted

3. Decision

  • What’s Going On: People have decided on their solution (composting) and are now comparing vendors.
  • Your Purpose: Make sure they know, like, and trust your content. 
  • Relevant Content: Case Studies, Testimonials, Guides/How-Tos
  • Example: Questions at this stage likely include:
    • Testimonials from current users
    • Social Media Posts Showing How Easy It Is To Use This Service
    • Videos/Blogs/Social Posts Explaining How To Compost With X Company — Including Posts/Demonstrations From Current Customers
    • Content Showing Where The Composting Is Done & What Happens With New Compost

4. Customers

The options at this stage are endless but a lot of times businesses are so focused on getting the customer, once they have them they ignore them. 

If you worked hard to attract the person of your dreams and you start dating them, do you stop paying attention to them once you have them? (some people certainly do but I hope your answer is no)

There is so much valuable information you can learn from your current clients and so much info you can share to make their life easier. It could be: 

  • Guides on how to use your products
  • A new way of using the product someone told you about that you never would have thought of
  • General education
  • And much more! 

People are more likely to buy from someone they already know and trust. 

Clearly I’m a big fan of content marketing and I think it makes absolute sense to invest in content that educates, informs, and provides value to consumers. But just as with anything there are pros and cons to going in this direction.

Pros and Cons of Content Marketing

A good content marketing strategy can increase conversions and boost revenue in the long-term, but a bad content marketing strategy may even lose you money. 

According to Brafton, “76% of respondents told Smart Insights that their organizations take a strategic approach to content marketing management, only 59% had a documented content strategy.

Pros to Content Marketing

  • Everything Mentioned Above

I think this whole blog is a tribute to content marketing and if you’re not convinced I’m not doing a very good job — let me know what’s missing to convince you.

  • Inbound Leads

I’ve worked as an outbound salesperson and an inbound sales person and I gotta say, I’ll take inbound any day. Good content creates an avenue that lets qualified, interested leads come to you. ‘No thanks, I’ll continue to work harder for my leads’ — said no one ever.  

  • Higher Quality Leads

When you’re putting out better quality content, you’re taking a lot of work off your plate, or your salespeople’s plates — in a good way. 

People like to feel in control, let them do their own research. Wouldn’t you rather speak with someone who’s slightly educated themselves on the process over someone who knows nothing? 

As a former salesperson, I can tell you that when I speak with a lead who’s done the research, kinda understands it, but still has lingering questions is a fork-ton more likely to convert than someone who says “Oh, IDK I was just browsing and I found you. Can you tell me how this works?

  • Higher Sales

Having proper documentation and content also makes the salespeople’s job easier. It allows them to answer questions more thoroughly then follow up with a relevant piece of content. 

They can take the conversation further, and be more in control of it, because they know they can back it up. Imagine this conversation. 

  • “Hey lead-person, it was great talking to you the other day. I know your biggest concern is ROI for this product, check out these 3 case studies of companies we’ve helped.” 


  • “Hey lead-person, it was wonderful speaking with you the other day. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did! I know you were interested in the sustainability behind this product. Check out these blogs that dive deeper into the topic for the products we were discussing.” 

Hello! Talk about expert-level customer service! 

  • Authority 

We’ve discussed authority but it’s worth noting again. If you’ll notice the articles I linked to for this piece all go to well-known institutions: Hubspot, Brafton, MailChimp, SEMRush. They’re all well respected in the industry. 

Can I find my answer with another site, you bet. But I don’t want to have to research whether they’re legit or not. Same goes for you. When you’re posting good, valuable content:

  • People trust you
  • Other companies trust you
  • You build brand awareness and loyalty
  • You get better leads
  • You rank better in Google
  • But most importantly, you make more money. 

But for every good thing there’s an opposite opinion. 

Cons To Content Marketing 

  • Time

You really have to be in it for the long haul and trust the process. Content and SEO is not something that happens overnight even if you pay your way into it. It can take a minimum of 6 months for your blogs to rank, not to mention the time it takes to earn people’s trust, create the strategy, plan the content, create the content, schedule it all, then promote it. 

  • Money 

It’s for sure an investment, but when it’s done right it pays off. This is one area that’s worth investing in. Sure you can go to FIVR or UpWork (I’ve even been on those sites) but if someone is charging $5 per blog, you’re going to get a blog that feels like $5. You want a quality team that puts together quality content because when it’s done right, you’ll make it all back — and more.

  • No Immediate Benefits

You’re going to have to follow the rules, do all the best practice recommendations, then trust the process. Oh, and maybe don’t yell at your team to make it go faster. They can’t. The upside is that you can (and should) monitor your progress. After about 6-9 months you can begin tweaking things to improve performance. 

  • Planning

Don’t forget to plan. You cannot wing a content strategy, you cannot trust that ‘your team gets it’. I guarantee they get it but the second they walk out of the meeting and go to lunch they’re going to say, “wait, who’s responsible for what?” 

Don’t do that to them. Take the time and the energy to plan it properly. 

  • Coming Up With Content

You could be an A+ student in all of the above until it comes to coming up with content. It’s time consuming and it’s important. You need to make sure you’re targeting things your consumers are actually interested in and you need to create content for keywords you can rank for. It’s the step where good plans go to die but it needs to happen. 

But as I mentioned, there are pros and cons to literally every type of marketing plan. The key is sticking to your decision, having a solid plan, having a team that understands your solid plan, and time. I hope this helps you understand a bit more about what content marketing does and the advantages to having a good content marketing plan. Plan away! 

P.S. I offer two SEO packages that contain blog content briefs and strategy!

What does content marketing do for your small biz?