There’s a big question heard in the industry a lot – can content marketing really work for small businesses? Whilst content strategies are proven to have worked for firms like IBM and American Express, these global firms have huge amounts of capital and resources to throw at advertising. In comparison, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are often working with extremely tight, or even non-existent budgets. This shouldn’t put executives off because content marketing for SMEs can sometimes help level the playing field between them and their larger competitors.
For content marketing strategies to work, smaller firms must commit wholeheartedly to the concept of content advertising. In a North American study, it was found that only 21 per cent of content marketers actually classed themselves as “extremely” committed. In addition, it’s important to recognise that more time will be needed to promote content than to create it in the first place. The myth that great content will simply attract huge attention on its own is false. Regardless of content quality, if no promotion takes place, no one will see or share it – and there will definitely be no business conversions.
When it’s done correctly, content marketing can be of great benefit to SMEs. It can help them find more fans, followers and, eventually, customers. Also, there’s a host of ways this can be achieved. For instance, a survey by Neil Patel discovered that leading content strategies could get an average of 7.8 times more views than non-leaders; that’s an increase of 800 per cent. In addition, quality content, good promotion and increased views can all lead to higher rankings amongst search engines. Without content, it will be extremely difficult to find a spot on Bing or Google. Through content marketing, a stream of new, high quality material can help boost overall visibility.
There are other advantages too. For example, becoming a content leader (regardless of a firm’s size) can help establish authority in a specific niche. This means that SMEs can experience not only increased visibility from fans, but also increase notoriety with competitors. All of this can lead to more leads and sales as a result. For example, findings from HubSpot found that companies with a blog feature on their website, on average, generate 126 per cent more leads. Finally, the Content Marketing Institute discovered that “while content marketing costs 62 per cent less than outbound marketing, it generates more than three times as many leads.” This goes to show that even small budgets can be used to conduct content marketing and then reap the rewards.
Content marketing is not a quick, get-rich-fast strategy. It needs ample time and resources to develop the right branding, voice and momentum. For smaller firms, it will take careful consideration to ensure that campaigns are started with the best chance of success to avoid eating into what little capital may be available, however, even the smallest of firms can undertake this type of marketing and enjoy the huge advantages it brings.