Is content marketing relevant to small businesses?

Many big names are engaging in content marketing to raise brand awareness, but can smaller businesses also benefit from some form of content marketing? You might think that content marketing will be prohibitively expensive, but even a modest endeavour can still deliver benefits.

Does indirect (content) marketing replace direct marketing?

Direct marketing, such as advertising and cold calling, still has distinct advantages, so you can’t simply reassign your entire marketing budget to content marketing. That said, direct marketing no longer seems to influence people as much as it used to, so you might want to scale back in some areas. Many people find practices such as cold calling particularly intrusive, so you may want to re-evaluate their effectiveness.

Content marketing also takes some time to ramp up, so abandoning your existing marketing strategy will leave a gap in the short and medium term. On the plus side, though, content marketing gives longer-term benefits.

Your first task will be to set your strategy. Establish what you expect to achieve, such as increased sales leads or website visits, and use this later to measure the success of your content. Next, consider who your target audience will be, because this will guide your content creation later on. For example, does your audience tend to use social media? Will your audience be more interested in informative articles or funny videos?

Creating your content

Once you become familiar with your audience, you can decide what kind of content to offer them. It’s important for this content to bring something useful or valuable rather than promote your business. For example, if you run a local plumbing firm, you could offer informative articles for homeowners, such as the benefits and costs of installing a central heating system and the differences between the various boiler types. By answering people’s questions like this, you build up your authority in the minds of potential customers.

The type of content should normally be determined by the message you want to send, but there will obviously be budget constraints for any small business. Starting a website news feed is a cost-effective way to begin content marketing. Through this, you can publish news related to your industry and provide impartial advice to potential customers. As an added benefit, this will also increase your exposure to search engines.

You could write news feed content yourself of course, but it’s important to write content that is as error-free as possible. If you doubt your writing abilities, or if you simply prefer to focus on your core business instead, outsource your content generation. Going to a news writing service will be the easiest option in most cases, because this avoids the need to find a reliable and affordable freelancer.

Promote your content

If you want to go the extra mile, you could promote your content to key influencers, such as bloggers and journalists. This can gain you considerable exposure, but you must be able to convince these influencers that your content will be of interest to their own audiences.

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