It’s amazing how many business owners and marketers don’t understand the importance of good content. They truly believe that posting anything on social media, or sending a random newsletter asking for referrals, potential clients are going to come knocking—because that’s what it looks like everyone else is doing.

But it’s rarely the case.

Content marketing is an integral part of any marketing strategy. It is the art and science of creating and sharing material such as blog posts, videos, and social media posts that don’t explicitly sell a service, instead stimulate interest around a brand or what they have to offer.

In simple terms:

Content marketing is every piece of material you create. Whether it is in print, on your website, or shared on social media. Content is everything.

A flyer? Yep, the content on that piece of paper will decide how many people pick up the phone versus throw your ad in the garbage.

Facebook ads? Every wonder why some ads do so much better than others? It’s because their content speaks to the intended target audience and encouraged potential clients to take action.

Video series? What you put in those videos will determine whether you build a relevant audience or the people you want to see your material move on to more interesting creators.

Every word you write, every video you film, and every photo or infographic you create are content marketing.

The best content marketing tells a story.

Not necessarily a long-winded recount of your business adventure, but well thought out stories that captivate your audience, relate to their struggles, and help them see that hiring you is the only logical way to solve their problem.

There is a reason why some people are able to build a loyal brand following and other small businesses struggle to keep the doors open.

Three key elements to content marketing are that what you put out into the world is:

Relevant:

Of interest to your target audience. A baker wants to know about baking, not spaceships.

Timely: 

Relevant to current affairs or the current state of your client’s life and the problem that you solve. Can also include viral trends and news events that would directly impact your target audience.

Valuable:

Genuinely provides insightful information, actionable steps, or a solution to a problem facing your target audience so you gain their trust and establish credibility.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy that needs to evolve with your client and their needs so that you become a trusted source of information and guidance as they make their way through the buyer journey.

Consistency is a key ingredient of a successful content marketing strategy.

The more you show up with relevant content, the more loyal and dependable your audience will be. Even better if you stick to a schedule so your audience knows when they can expect new valuable content from your business that might apply to their needs. If you consistently deliver awesome value and solutions to minor problems your ideal client faces, you will be the natural choice when they decide to hire an expert to solve their bigger problems.

Great marketing is impossible without great content.

In conclusion, what separates successful small businesses from those that fail within the first three years is being able to consistently attract new and relevant clients to their business by establishing trust, credibility, and dependability.

When you become the natural choice for your audience, your business will never run out of clients.

When you deliver and perform well for your clients, they’ll send even more your way.