By Rieva Lesonsky

What’s the best way to get your business noticed? You’re probably already doing it (without even knowing it). Content marketing, which means marketing with content or information, is one of today’s hottest marketing buzzwords.

Content, which includes the information on your website, blogs and social media, can mean just about anything that customers read, and creating quality content is one of the best ways to get attention for your business. Why? First, good quality content attracts the search engine spiders, meaning your website will rank higher in search engine results when your customers do searches online for what you sell. Second, good quality content gets read—and remembered, adding to your reputation as an expert in your industry. Third, useful content is more likely to get shared with others in the reader’s social networks, spreading the word about your business far and wide.

Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute just conducted a new study of how North American businesses are using content marketing and found that some 86 percent of B2C companies are using it. They’re not just playing around, either; the average company uses 12 different content marketing tactics, and even the smallest companies in the survey used an average of 12.

The list of tactics respondents could choose from included social media, websites, e-newsletters, videos, blogs, in-person events, articles on other websites, mobile content, mobile apps, print magazines, case studies, print newsletters, infographics, research reports, webinars, podcasts and white papers. Clearly, some of these tactics will work better for your business than others, but all of them are within reach of even the smallest business today.

If you’re not implementing content marketing in your business, what’s holding you back? An inadequate budget was the most common challenge mentioned by B2C content marketers in the survey (52 percent). They also struggled with producing content that engages users (49 percent) and simply producing enough content to meet the demands of their many outlets (52 percent).

Content marketing isn’t easy, but it is effective. Some simple ways to get started if you haven’t already:

  • Use at least one social media tool—the one your customers are most active on, whether that’s Facebook or Pinterest.
  • Multiply your effectiveness by sharing your content across different channels. If you write a blog post, share a link to it on your Facebook page or tweet it out.
  • If you don’t have time to start your own blog, you’re not alone. Consider contributing to an influential blog in your industry instead—it’s less of a time commitment and can raise your profile even more.
  • Repurpose content. Turn a series of blog posts into a whitepaper or ebook, then deliver it as a podcast and/or a webinar.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. And once you start, you’ll find the results keep you going.

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