There are so many reasons to commit to content marketing that thought leaders like Seth Godin have declared that “content marketing is the only marketing left.”

Content marketing helps you generate brand awareness, build up your credibility, drive visitors to your site and increase sales. Need more convincing? Check out my post on fourteen reasons why content marketing is the only marketing left.

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Content marketing is even more advantageous for small businesses

Many smaller businesses are intimidated by content marketing. They tend to think that any marketing that doesn’t directly promote their brand is a luxury they can’t afford.

But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, small businesses have all the more reason to invest in content marketing activities because:

Can small businesses handle the content marketing workload?

Content marketing can be pretty work intensive. You have to create a marketing strategy, constantly generate fresh content ideas, and consistently produce quality content. Even then, your work is far from done. Because you should be spending at least as much time promoting your content as you spend producing it.

And rushing through your content creation just to keep up isn’t wise. Why? Because 4 million posts are published to the Internet every day.

You need high-quality content to stand out from the crowd.

But how do you compete with larger brands who have more influence, more social followers, larger budgets and a massive marketing team?

It can seem like a David and Goliath situation but it’s all about working smart.

In this post, I’ll share some best practices for small businesses who want to fine-tune their content marketing methods to get better results on a small marketing budget.

Content marketing best practices for small businesses

1. Have a plan

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen small businesses make is to launch into creating blog posts without having a clearly outlined content marketing plan. While it’s true that your content should be about providing value, not self-promotion (more on this below), the ultimate goal of a content marketing program is to grow your business.

That’s why your content strategy needs to align with your business objectives.

Don’t waste time and resources executing a bad plan. Spend time upfront clearly identifying your objectives, then develop content marketing strategies to help you reach them.

2. Focus on information, not self-promotion

It can be tempting to focus exclusively on content that promotes your brand, especially if, like many small companies, you’re intently focused on growing your business. But in content marketing, it’s important to take a longer-term view.

Twitter-Content marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date
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Studies show that 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers give priority to the audience’s informational needs over their own promotional messaging. (By comparison, the same studies indicate that only 56% of the least successful B2B content markers do the same.)