Once upon a time, there was a man named John. John was a poor blacksmith who needed to figure out how to provide for his family. He decided to set out to find a job in a new county. He settled in Grand Detour, Illinois.

Out in farming country, John heard the same complaint over and over: farmers were tired of mud sticking to their plows and slowing them down. He decided to invent a new plow that mud wouldn’t stick to.

John Deere’s company was born. 

In 1895, John Deere launched The Furrow, an educational farming magazine. Over a century later, The Furrow is the largest farming magazine in the world and Deere & Company is the largest farm machinery manufacturer in the world. 

Content marketing is a tried and true way to grow small businesses. Read on to learn content marketing basics and how you can use content to grow your business today.

 What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable information in order to attract, engage, and influence an audience. In other words, content marketing uses the power of storytelling to drive someone to act or think differently.

Why does content marketing matter?

People are exposed to more than 5,000 marketing messages per day—a 10X increase in the last 50 years, according to market research firm Yankelovich.

Additionally, Google reported that people consume more than 10 pieces of content before making a buying decision. That means it’s more important than ever to publish valuable content in order to engage with your target market.

How does content marketing help me sell my product or service?

A good content marketing strategy helps your business at every stage of the sales funnel. At the top of the funnel, compelling content builds trust in your business and attracts new leads. At the bottom of the funnel, content converts those leads to buying customers.

What is the difference between content marketing and social media marketing?

Social media marketing is a powerful tool that you use to amplify your content marketing strategy.

Once you have a valuable piece of content, you can tailor it to be pushed out on platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 How can I start content marketing today?

There are three major ways you can start content marketing today:

1. Do it yourself

You can build out your content marketing strategy for free by writing your own content. However, this can be time-consuming, plus it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for your business.

2. Hire an in-house content marketer

Hiring an in-house content marketer is another way to start growing your business. However, increasing your head count can be expensive. Plus, your hire might not perform well or they might jump ship once you’ve invested in training. 

 3. Hire a content marketing agency

Hiring a content marketing agency with a proven track record enables you to hit the ground running with a team of content experts. Plus, it’s cost-effective and low risk because you can fire them at any time if they aren’t generating results.