What Is Content Marketing For Small Businesses?

What is Content MarketingWhen I first started this blog back in 2009, it was to help people to write persuasive article marketing campaigns. Back then I was a member of an affiliate marketing teaching program, and I had become what they called an “article marketing expert”.

Because of this, a lot of people were asking me questions about article marketing on their forum on a daily basis.  That’s how this blog was born.

It’s also because of that affiliate marketing program that I got my first clients for content writing as a freelance writer.  Over time I became very familiar with content marketing either for myself, promoting my own affiliate products, or for my clients who were also affiliate marketers of small business owners.

I have had both my own and articles I had written for clients being on the first page of Google and other search engines for a long time, back then.

So, what about you? If you are either a network marketer, affiliate marketer, or a small business owner wanting to advertise yourself and your business?

We know that Facebook ads, solo ads, or even AdSense advertising are pretty expensive.  And while I am not against trying those, they may not be for everyone, because truth be told, they can become very costly.  On the other hand, there is a much more affordable way of advertising your business.  As a matter of fact, it’s free.  This method is called content marketing.

So, what is Content Marketing for Small Businesses?

Another option that small businesses have to promote there businesses is through content.  Content marketing is still in and it’s as hot as ever. Right off the bat, I can think of a few advantages that content marketing has over any other kind of making options.

  • Content marketing is free
  • Content marketing makes the potential customer trust you more
  • Content marketing helps you target your market better
  • Content marketing helps you develop a relationship with your potential customer or client
  • Content marketing is the only “advertisement” that people will share with others

Now, wouldn’t you say that content marketing has a lot of potential for your small business? I would say so.

However, if you are a small business that has never taken advantage of content marketing, you might be asking how do I go about doing this?

I will answer this questions below, but so there is not misunderstanding of any kind, let’s see first what content marketing is not.

What Content Marketing for Small Businesses is NOT

Content marketing for small business is not blunt advertising.

As a matter of fact, if you were to write an article or even make a video that talks only about your business or product you wouldn’t go very far.

Not only your potential customer wouldn’t even pay attention to you, article directories where you can post your article for free, would deny your requests for such articles, and your videos would never be watched.

When you want to use content marketing, you want to do it the smart way.  But what is the smart way?

What is the Smart Way to Use Content Marketing for Small Businesses?

The smart and most definitely the best way to promote your business through content is by giving value to your potential customer or client, rather than trying to get them to buy your stuff.

I’m sure that you know that nobody likes to be sold, and using articles, blog posts, or videos to sell your product is the smart way to go about it.

When you are using content to promote your small business you want to give valuable information to your market.  You want to become the go to guy for people who are looking for help.  Once you do, you will start selling like there is no tomorrow.

But before you do, however, it requires a little work and patience on your part.

This is the big difference between regular advertising and content marketing.  If all you had to say is say “buy my product,” or “hire me,” then I would advise you to save some advertisement money and use some of the advertising methods I mentioned at the top of this article. But content marketing for small business is different. If you want to give value to your potential customers, then, content marketing is for you.

How to go about Marketing Content

Marketing with content means that you should educate people about what you do.  In turns, people can (and some will), become your faithful customers and clients, and even refer their friends.

Good content marketing is when your give advice and tips about your niche.  For example, if you are a nutritionist you can write about healthy eating.  If you own a repair shop you can write about repair and maintenance tips and how to’s. If you have a flower shop, you can blog about growing flowers, tips for making beautiful flower bouquets and arrangements, and so forth and so on.

The possibilities are endless.

The question you need to ask yourself is what can I teach people to help them while I draw them to me and my product/service?

Where can you Promote your Business with Valuable Content?

There are many places and manners in which you can promote your business with valuable content that could turn out to be a magnet to your business.

The first advice I would give you is to create your own blog if you can.  Now, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that owning a blog is so easy that all you have to do is setting it up once, and forget all about it. Owning a blog requires constant updating, refining, content writing, and more.  However, I also want to tell you that it’s worth it.

If you don’t have a blog, however, you can promote your content through article directories, social media sites, and video sites.

In this article I am not going to go into details about social media and videos, but I wanted to talk to you a little bit about article directories since it’s what I personally know the most, and I’m still asked about article directories on a regular basis.

20 Top Article Directories for 2013

Now, article directories are not perfect, and may even be hard to please at times.  I know this for a fact, because I have published my content in over 20 different Web 2.0 sites and directories over the years since 2006.

But, then gain, it’s possible to be successful with them, and many people are.  Just make sure that you save all the content that you publish out there to your own computer, just in case, and make sure you read and understand their rules and regulations. It’s a MUST that you do that before you start.

For the most part, any of such directories won’t accept duplicate content, content that is promotional and self-serving. They also have rules about the minimum word amount you need to have in your article.  Those are the basic rules, but they have other more specific rules that you need to be aware of before you post.

When you publish an articles on article directories you should link your website, blog, or some type of page where people can see what your business is about and how they can reach you if they which to.

Here is the list of the top 20 article directories based on popularity and page rank for 2013.

  1. Squidoo.com – Page rank 7 (Read my articles about Squidoo and Hubpages here) I’m sure you’ll find them helpful before you start.
  2. Hubpages.com – Page rank 6
  3. Zimbio.com – Page rank 6
  4. EzineArticles.com – Page rank 6
  5. GoArticles.com – Page rank 6
  6. DigitalDivideNetwork.org – Page rank 6
  7. PromotionWorld.com – Page rank 5
  8. Triond.com – Page rank 5
  9. iSnare.com – Page rank 5
  10. ArticleRich.com – Page rank 4
  11. ArticleBiz.com – Page rank 4
  12. ArticlesFactory.com – 4
  13. ArticleAlley.com – Page rank 4
  14. ArticleCube.com – Page rank 4
  15. Amazines.com – Page rank 4
  16. Ezinemark.com – Page rank 4
  17. ArticleClick.com – Page rank 4
  18. SooperArticles.com – Page rank 4
  19. ArticleSphere.com – Page rank 4
  20. BaseArticles.com – Page rank 4

If you are a affiliate marketer, network marketer or a small business, I am sure that you can take advantage of content marketing, but doing it right will definitely make the difference between succeed or failing at it.

Please, leave your comments and questions below…

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37 Comments

  • Silviu says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    “Content marketing is when you give advice and tips about your niche”. I like this. I thought content marketing means to become a kind of robot who produces dozens of articles, blog posts, ebooks and videos every day.
    The way you explain it makes it easier to understand and more appealing.

    Have a nice day

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Silviu,

      Well, thus the need for a blog post such as this one, right?

      A lot of people are still very confused about what content marketing is and how it should be done. My hope is that my article will help to erase any doubt.

      Thanks for your visit, and have a great week!

  • AdrienneTwitter: adriennesmith40 says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Wonderful explanation and I’m not sure how anyone can be confused about what content marketing means. I know that when I first heard the phrase I mistook it as meaning you had to write keyword rich posts about your products and then promote the heck out of them. I mean you do want people seeing them right!

    Now adding the necessary keywords should be something all of us are doing in the first place in order to be found but it’s not over saturating it like we use to.

    Thanks for this great explanation, I love it.

    Have a wonderful week now.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne invites you to read..How To Find Those Magic KeywordsMy Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Well, thank you.

      True I should have had a section about keywords, but I didn’t think of it 🙂 So many other things to cover and there I was at 1300+ words already!

      However, I also know that if you write about any specific niche natural keywords will pop up in your writing, and there’s also the fact that for those who use article directories, they’ll kick your article out if there are too many keywords as they think that’s a spammy article. Which in some cases it’s not, but no can do reasoning with them about that. Been there done that!

      I’m glad that your post about keywords is linked right here. Goes perfect with my post!

      Have a great week, Adrienne.

  • Corina Ramos says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Thanks for breaking this down the way you did. It is important to know the difference between content marketing and advertising. I was a little confused when I first started blogging but now I’ve got the hang of it.

    I was never drawn to solo ads or Google Adsense either. It’s out of my price range and honestly I would rather invest my money elsewhere. 🙂

    Happy Monday Adrienne! Have a great new week :).

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Ahah, you called me Adrienne 🙂 Well, it’s a French name too, and she’s such a great lady 🙂

      Believe it or not, I’ve never done even a solo ad, but I’ve tried Adsense once because I had a coupon, but didn’t like it at all. Your money goes as fast as through a vacuum cleaner hose. No way, I said!

      I heard solo ads work, but never wanted to put in the money either so far.

      Of course, content marketing is more work, but it’s free and a great writing practice too.

      Thanks for coming 🙂

  • Corina Ramos says:

    P.S. Thanks for sharing that list of article directories with us too 🙂

  • Jeevanjacobjohn says:

    Hey Sylviane,

    How are you doing? I have been inactive in the blogging world for almost an year now, so it is good to be back 🙂

    I haven’t finalized what I should do – whether I should start a new blog or whether I should do something else entirely.

    I have been considering the opportunity of guest posting/freelance writing, and this post just gave me the additional reasons why I should go for the guest posting. I have learned that there are many blogs that reward their writers well – like $25-50 per post.

    It’s a win-win situation; I can blog, I can earn money and I can market my own profile – all without starting my own blog (and in the future, I can start my own blog).

    Thanks for the post, Sylviane! Certainly helped 😀

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Jeevan,

      I’ve been thinking about you, and was wondering what in the world! So nice to see you back here.

      Yes, that’s a great idea to blog for pay. I do some of that too, but it’s more like clients who pay me for the posts I write for them. But I would love to know more about those blogs if you don’t mind sharing.

      I’m glad you saw this post and come back to the online scene.

      Have a great week!

  • Susan Neal says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    As others have said in the comments above, this is an excellent, really clear explanation of a topic that’s often misunderstood. I see content marketing as a way of showcasing your talents by creating content and putting it out there for free, with a view to encouraging potential clients to seek you out. You’re creating your own virtual shop-window, in effect.

    Thanks very much for the list of directories you’ve included – that’s very helpful,

    Sue

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Sue,

      Thank you for the compliment, and I’m glad that by coming here today you got a list of the top 20 article directories and a list of blogs that will pay your to write thanks to Jeevan.

      As your so well said we can use content marketing for showcasing our talents, and encourage potential clients to come our way. This works well with writers.

      Have a great day!

  • Carol LynnTwitter: carollynnrivera says:

    Great intro! You hit on two key points here: one is that content marketing is not about “selling” and two is that you have to provide something valuable. As much as Google makes me mad with all these changes, at least they have gotten rid of all those “content factories” you used to see.

    I think a lot of people confuse content marketing with basically “free” advertising. They just figure they can churn out more stuff about their company, call it a blog and call it a day. Plus the concept has been around for ages, it’s just that people didn’t recognize it before.

    Another thing I would like to add is that you can also use different types of content. Writing is great but not everyone feels comfortable doing it, so video would work well. You can do live videos, recorded videos, podcasts, whatever! As long as you’re giving something of value, it’s a great way to experiment!
    Carol Lynn invites you to read..Referrals Make Better Prospects. Here’s How To Get Them.My Profile

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Carol and it’s nice to see you, since I haven’t even seen you at your own blog last time I went 🙂

      Yes, there’s certainly other forms of content and I’ve mention videos briefly at the beginning of this article, but as I said in the post I was going to focus on writing since writing is more what’s this blog is about. But sure, as long as it’s valuable and it fits what you like to do, it works.

      As you said, at least Google got us rid of those “content factories” I like this term, so well fitted. I hope they are gone for good, I’ve always hated them.

      Thanks for your input, and nice seeing you 🙂

  • Raena Lynn says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Thanks for writing this post on content marketing. You’ve explained everything perfectly and cleared up misconceptions that people may have. I especially appreciate you sharing the top 20 article marketing directories. I submit published articles, but I have not done it as much as effectively as I used to. This post inspired me to take action!

    The most unique and valuable thing about content marketing is having the opportunity to build trust in my readers. As you know, I\’m a solo ad fan, however I like to supplement my marketing by creating blog posts that offer value to others. Content marketing attracts people who are truly interested in what I am sharing. You are right about doing it correctly. There is a big difference between sharing quality content and selling. People are not stupid. They know the difference. Thanks Sylviane!

    Raena Lynn

  • DeeAnn Rice says:

    Sylviane,

    It is really true that if you are going to pitch a product you had better have big bucks to advertise it but if you are going to add value to the market place and passively offer your product it can be done by writing posts to a blog, writing article, forums, or other similar ways.

    Networking is a great way to advertise a product but it takes work and I think is slow at first. I also think it will eventually produce more sales than direct marketing.

    Do you feel article marketing is still a good way to market. I had been under the impression that it was not what it used to be and not really worth it? This because of all of the changes in Google and the requirements of the directories.

    Thanks for the list of directories.

    Dee Ann

  • MayuraTwitter: MayuraDeSilva says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Now it took so long to be here. I was hardly online last week and it’s time to play catch up dear 😉

    I love how you approached by explaining what content marketing is NOT, instead of telling what it is 🙂 Put it beautifully!

    Actually, like Silviu, I had the similar idea towards content marketing which I thought it’s all about people trying to promote shamelessly, finding article directories with top PageRanks or traffic.

    I knew that it’s a fabulous way for marketers if they use ’em correctly. But as I found many bloggers obsessed and keep working hard to promote all they had and without thinking of quality, I felt it’s more like disgusting activity. But now you helped me understand better 🙂

    Like you mentioned in one of your earlier posts, I’m not fond of article directories as they can impose different rules, and eventually take ’em down Sylviane. I can recall the incident you went through a bit. Duplicate content issues were once a BIG problem, but gladly now they accept unique content.

    Now I believe those who interested in content marketing will make use of your post and use the opportunity wisely. You have shared popular resources here too. So, why they shouldn’t? 🙂

    You have a lovely week there Sylviane 🙂

    Cheers…
    Mayura invites you to read..How to Embed Facebook Posts on Your WebsiteMy Profile

  • theblogarticles says:

    Thanks for breaking this down the way you did. It is important to know the difference between content marketing and advertising. I was a little confused when I first started blogging but now I’ve got the hang of it.

  • Pst BlessTwitter: ngobless says:

    Thanks for breaking this very important topic into bits, i am blessed as usual by this tips. Like you rightly said, and i quote: Marketing with content means that you should educate people about what you do. In turns, people can (and some will), become your faithful customers and clients, and even refer their friends.

    Good content marketing is when your give advice and tips about your niche. For example, if you are a nutritionist you can write about healthy eating. If you own a repair shop you can write about repair and maintenance tips and how to’s. If you have a flower shop, you can blog about growing flowers, tips for making beautiful flower bouquets and arrangements, and so forth and so on.
    Pst Bless invites you to read..How to Take Advantage Of A Blog’s #1 Traffic MagnetMy Profile

  • Adam Dukes says:

    A great post on the importance of content marketing for small businesses. What I love about content marketing is it is always working for you, 24/7/365. If set up properly (auto-responder) your website should be your greatest sales tool.Also, a blog post today can generate a lead today, next month, a year from now or 2+ years down the road. Cold calling cannot do that. The other benefit? You content never calls in sick, never takes a vacation and works on the weekends/holidays 🙂

  • Ella Rich says:

    Content marketing is one of the best way to expose your business. and blogging is totally depend on content so content is king also you can earn money by the content marketing. Thanks for sharing with us

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Ella,

      Welcome to my blog and thanks for your input. Content marketing is everything to build a business online, indeed!

  • Gilberto Cintron says:

    Hi Sylviane Nuccio,

    I stumbled upon your blog and was compelled to read your article on Article Marketing. Marketing online moves at the speed of light, and there are always changes in the cyber landscape. As such, we sometimes for the basics and need a shot in the arm of good ole reality. I am not as good a writer as you, but I have had my share of articles published in directories, especially in ezinearticles. Reading this blog was that shot in the arm I needed, it made me slow down, take a deep breath and go back to basics. So I am off to my little corner of the world to write and write some more. Regards.

  • Dwayne says:

    Great read on content marketing and I really appreciate the list of top article directories. I haven’t done a lot of content marketing buy I hope to do more soon.

  • standard chartered bank says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
    you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about,
    why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to you blog when yyou could be giving us something informative to read?

  • Apu Mridha says:

    Hey Sylviane,
    That’s a very informative and insightful post.. .enjoyed reading through it.just started my own small business. so, thanks for making it easy to understand what exactly content marketing is .Loved it. 🙂

    Apu

  • geraldakim says:

    Hi Sylviane Nuccio,Thanks for sharing information.

  • John Michael says:

    Hi Sylviane
    First, Thanks for the writing. I work in the stock market. But i enjoy all sort of finance related story. This one will be helpful for all small business owners for sure. Nice effort indeed. Good job.

  • Jeff says:

    Hi Sylviane,Great in depth post about content marketing! You give so much valuable information and detail. I know when I first started I was all about \”buy this\” or \”check this out\”. But I found using techniques similar to what you have laid out in this post, and giving people something of value has worked out so much better! Thank you for breaking this one down in so much detail! Looking forward to the next!Jeff

    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Jeff, and welcome here.

      I see what you mean, I’ve done that too in the past. I was also writing to promote and sell, and it kind of used to work pretty good in the past, but not only this doesn’t work with Google anymore, but it doesn’t work with people either.

      Now those who do best are the ones who know how to build relationships with their potential clients/customers through valuable information.

      Thank you for coming and have a great day!

  • Mark WOA says:

    Content marketing is how I started on a WordPress site. It was a great place to start and gave me experience for I do now, which is teach others to make money online. I can help them not make mistakes that I learned from in the beginning, and I still encourage them to do content marketing and give away great value in the process. This keeps the content fresh and keeps clients coming back. 🙂

  • Hannah Harrison says:

    Great advice and ideas about how to build an audience and how to provide them with what they really want. Thanks for continually providing great information

Comments are closed.