With the advent explosion of social media, today’s playing field has been leveled for small business owners, independent artists, and other entrepreneurs seeking to reach their target demographics on a small marketing budget.

Even so, the most important aspect of a good marketing campaign is CONTENT! Creative content is the driving force behind any productive marketing campaign, allowing consumers insight into your brand and engaging them in what you are selling. Without content you’ll just be sitting in a vehicle without an engine.

Video, audio, blogs, pictures, and infographics all help tell your brand’s story. Here’s an idea on how content marketing can help raise your brand’s visibility.

You are the owner of a newly opened restaurant and you want to connect with locals virally, right? Why not film a virtual tour of the restaurant? Accentuate the restaurant’s ambiance, showcase the kitchen’s amenities, interview your chef, and, of course, give them a sneak peak of the food you’ll be serving. Make it fun! You’ll have a lot of footage to work with.

Also, you don’t have to release the footage as a virtual tour at all; perhaps you’ll decide to leak the footage as a series to keep customers coming back for more.

After all the right edits have been made to the content you can easily upload the footage onto Youtube and share it throughout your social network. You don’t need a five- or six-figure budget to publicize your restaurant virally as you would for a 30-second slot on cable TV – that’s not even including production costs.

How about another scenario? You are an independent author without a big-time publishing house’s budget which would allow you to go on a city-to-city book tour.

With such social media tools and websites such as Skype and Google+ Hangouts, respectively, free (with some exceptions to Skype Premium) to use why not attempt to create a series of video chat sessions where you can discuss chapters, characters, topics and themes from your book with other bookworms possibly interested in purchasing your material.

By cross-promoting these chat sessions on other social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon’s Shelfari.com for instance, you will be able to generate interest in your book session and eventually the book itself, leading to more purchases.

What’s the key message here? Content marketing is golden! And it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg either.

These are only two example of how creative content can be used to interact with your target market. Generally speaking though, there are several key ingredients needed to produce great productive content that will help lead to consumer conversions.

  • Entertain – Focus the content on entertaining consumers and coddle their needs and wants. Yes, it is important to educate consumers about your brand, however, don’t bore them with an instructional infomercial showcasing how your products or services work. The content should elicit excitement which will make your brand desirable to them.
  • Experiment – Play with different mediums in order to figure out how your audience wants to interact with you and your brand. Perhaps they want to learn more about the brand’s leadership and direction more intimately, in that case provide them with webinars or webcasts where consumers can engage in direct Q&A sessions. If they want to be educated then provide them with a running blog or podcast where they can attain the information they seek and learn more about your products and services. Maybe they simply want to be entertained, if so, charm them with videos that engage them around your brand – Red Bull is the best at this!
  • Build a Community – There is no better representative for your brand than those already using your products or services. Involve your most loyal and enthusiastic consumers to participate in the creation of your content, after all, they know exactly what captivated their interest.
  • Leverage Your Staff – Allow those on your team to tell their stories, especially if there is a human interest element that your audience will connect with intimately.
  • Sharing is Caring – Make your content easy to share across various platforms. Place social sharing buttons in easy to access location throughout your website to allow your audience to share the content with their network and increase the chances that your content will go viral.

I can go on for days with ideas but this marketer would rather hear some instances wherein you have created content for your brand and how it worked out? Did it go viral? Did it bomb? Why so? What made your content a success or failure?