Whether user or editor generated, unique and insightful content is critical for small businesses to succeed online. Creating the right content engages the audience, helps define the position of a small business, and provides immediate value to potential customers. It is also the base for a high-performing online market strategy including search engine optimization and social media marketing. However, there is no doubt that small businesses face significant challenges in generating content.
Forums and other social media tools help influence the creation of user-generated content, but it is hard to control and difficult to target specific areas. In other words, long-tail traffic gained from user-generated content is highly valuable but typically falls short in gaining ground with top market keywords. In smaller markets where most small businesses operate, the keyword volume alone is limited to a few top-performing ones.
Editorial-driven content is powerful, since it can target specific keyword markets and motivate action often better than user-generated content. However, the dilemma plays out in the time and consistent effort it takes to write it or the cost required to outsource it. Many small businesses are discovering the benefits of social media marketing, until they realize the time investment required in developing the content (likewise with writing articles, blogs, reports, and even general website content). Small businesses who persist, however, and develop unique and insightful content targeted towards their audience can end up reaping tremendous benefits.
Joe Pulizzi of Junta24 did an outstanding interview with Susan Friedmann of Riches in Niches focused on “Content Marketing for Small Businesses.” I highly recommend that small business marketers head over there and listen to the 22 minute podcast. The interview covers important content marketing strategies including:
- What types of content can be effective as part of a content marketing strategy?
- Why delivering valuable information to your customers is a key to driving your business?
- What happens if you are not a writer? Can you still be a content marketer?
- Why has marketing changed so much in the past few years?
- What does it mean to put on a publisher’s hat?
Many other excellent questions are answered. Developing your content strategy (especially one that fits into your resource allocations and effectively reaches and rewards your target audience) is as important as your search marketing strategy. If you get it right, you will not only gain your target market’s attention, but also create the building blocks necessary to leverage up your search marketing and social media strategies to another level. For small businesses who need to find efficiencies in every aspect of their business in order to compete, having a powerful content marketing strategy is a competitive advantage.