With more than 2.1 million small businesses in Australia – it’s more challenging than ever for SMEs to find ways to stand out. But one tried and true way to help you do this is through content marketing.
Content marketing is about giving your target audiences the information they need to solve their problems; in ways they can personally connect with your brand.
It’s insights, it’s stories, it’s sharing your purpose and values as a brand. It’s giving your best advice away for free.
In 2018, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) showed 91 per cent of business-to-business marketers are using content marketing effectively to reach customers, while 86 per cent of business-to-consumer marketers are using it as one of their most effective strategies.
And as two authorities on leadership and change, John Kotter and James Heskett, demonstrated in Corporate Culture & Performance, companies sharing purpose and value, outperform their counterparts in stock price by a factor of 12 and have a profit performance ratio 750 times higher than companies without shared values.
Think about powerhouse “brands” like Oprah, Tim Ferriss, and Country Road – all have used content marketing to share what they know and believe in, in ways that truly connect with their target audiences.
It’s a cost-effective tool any small business can and should do right now to set you apart from your competition, position you as a leader in your field, drive a long and loyal following and set you up for profitable growth.
So, it’s all well and good to know this, but what if writing or sharing ideas publicly doesn’t come naturally to you?
Or you just don’t have the time to do it?
Or you think there’s nothing to talk about in your industry?
These are all common reservations I get from clients.
And as someone who’s lived her life facing these same fears and doubts, I’ll share my top learnings and insights to help you realise everyone has a story to share, and everyone is capable of it – and it starts with having the right mindset.
I was a shy, C grade English student who loathed writing all throughout high school. I just never “got” how to write – assignments, essays, orals – and all the meta-language jargon that came with it, like ‘discourse’ and “marginalisation”.
It seemed irrelevant and confusing to me. And that fear and shame with writing lasted for years.
It was only as a clueless first-year university student where I stumbled into an undergraduate Bachelor of Communications at the University of Queensland and faced my fears head-on as part of “Introduction to Journalism”. It was here where all I was taught to undo so much of what I’d learnt in school – to uncomplicate my writing.
My tutor and lecturer – both esteemed writers for The Courier-Mail – hammered into me to drop the jargon and big words and write as if I was explaining ideas or stories to a six-year-old. It suddenly clicked. I fell in love with the art and became a high distinction student.
I saw how powerful communication and sharing stories can be – for influencing ideas and building stellar relationships – particularly in business. And I decided to make a career around it – and hands down it’s been the success of my business – and those of my clients.
And next, I’m going to tell you how you can master the same in content creation to build a thriving brand.
Katie Martel, Founder, Croft PR