A new year brings new marketing opportunities for your business. What will be the most relevant approach in 2018? What will provide the best return on investment?

If your business has yet to consider content marketing, now is the time — before you get left in your competitors’ dust.

What is content marketing, and why does it matter?

Think of content marketing as the hub of a wheel. From it, the spokes — such as social media, pay-per-click campaigns and email marketing — can distribute your content. But, it’s the content itself that unifies all of these components and drives audience engagement with your business.

By keeping audiences interested, you’re increasing your brand’s awareness, elevating your company’s following and ultimately, gaining more customers. If you’re doing content marketing right, it should support your overall SEO strategy so that people can easily find your business when they want it.

How do I start content marketing?

If you’ve never considered content marketing before, start with your website. (Don’t have a website? We can help with that.) How can you incorporate valuable keywords into your current content that will make it easy for people to find you as they’re searching through Google or other search engines? If you’re a shoemaker, for example, you’d want to make sure your home page reads “shoes” (multiple times) in your geographic location.

It doesn’t stop there. Google and other search engines look for websites that are consistently updated, so fresh content matters. Take a smart approach: Rather than changing your homepage three times a month, start a blog that is relevant to your audience. Blog posts should make sense for your audience, but also include search-friendly keywords to help your rankings. As a shoemaker, you might write about how to find the right fit, or ways to address the pain that certain types of footwear might cause.

As you craft your strategy for 2018, consider that blog posts are no longer simply written content. Strong imagery and videos, when appropriate, serve to further engage your reader. In fact, Forbes reports that one minute of video is more powerful than 1.8 million words. Images and videos should be titled and tagged appropriately to help improve your company’s searchability.

I update my blog three times a month and optimize my content with search-friendly keywords. What else should I be doing?

Do you have any social media accounts for your business? Social media not only helps your search engine rankings; it also allows you to better connect with your current and prospective audiences.

Want to share something exciting about your business? First write it on your blog. Then share it to social media.

There might be a handful of people who follow your blog weekly (if you’re lucky); however, there might be hundreds or even thousands who follow you on social media platforms. Most people arrive at blog posts (and then your website) via social media, email marketing or search engines.

One word of caution: Don’t start a social media account just for the sake of starting one. Strongly consider which social media platforms make sense for your business before creating an account that could become stagnant.

If you’re already a social media guru, consider starting email marketing, which can also grow your audience base while keeping current customers engaged.

How much time should I invest in content marketing?

We get it; content marketing takes a lot of time — time that could be spent directly on your business. At Gavin, we help CEOs and managers to craft a content creation plan that makes sense for your business based on your goals and audience. We’ll even help you to implement those tactics, which may require anywhere from 2 hours per week to 10 hours.

Need guidance on the content creation plan that makes sense for you and your business? Let’s talk.