In my eight years as a content marketer, I’ve been fortunate enough to help lots of companies grow. Some of my favorite memories involve helping a small business win big over their larger competitors.
Along the way, I’ve picked up many tips to help improve how your small business approaches content marketing. Let’s take a closer look at how to do content marketing for small businesses the right way.
Table of Contents
Why Content Marketing for Small Businesses Is Beneficial?
Before we start jumping into strategies you can start using today, I wanted to quickly cover what this type of marketing so beneficial. Here are four benefits of content marketing for small businesses.
You Don’t Need a Huge Budget
Understandably, most small business owners are operating within the confines of a tight budget. With that in mind, you don’t want to spend lots of money over several months without seeing results. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about that with content marketing for small businesses.
Content marketing remains one of the most budget-friendly types of promotion out there. Research from Content Marketing Institute shows that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times more leads.
You can get started with a small businesses content marketing strategy for free if you wanted to. Although, I recommend spending at least about $20 for a website and hosting.
Gain a Massive Audience
The end goal of many a successful content marketing strategy is to grow a company’s overall audience. If you’re looking to find an untapped audience source, look no further than the internet.
The Telegraph reported that people now spend 24 hours per week on the internet. That’s an entire day out of each week!
With people spending so much time online, a content marketing strategy is a great way to ensure your business starts showing up wherever consumers are.
Plus, there’s an almost endless amount of places to post your quality content. A few of my favorite ways to share content include placing it in social media posts and sent to email subscribers.
When you’re posting regularly, you’ll soon see that content marketing delivers when it comes to boosting the size of your online audience.
Businesses everywhere have to deal with some type of competition. While you can’t snap your fingers and make the competition disappear, you can become more authoritative than they are.
As someone working for a small business, how can you do this? By having a content marketing strategy!
Take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of your typical customer. This person is searching for a solution that your company and its competitors can solve. With that in mind, the potential customer starts searching for information online.
With the right content marketing strategy, your brand’s website appears in all or most of these searches. When you effectively use a small business content marketing strategy, your company appears much more authoritative than others. In turn, this helps build trust for your company among consumers.
Forget about having to spend thousands on local signage or expensive advertising. More often than not, a content strategy costs less and increases your authority among a MUCH larger audience.
Plus, one of the main benefits of an entire content marketing strategy is that more authority leads to better search engine rankings.
It Doesn’t Look Overly Promotional
When determining a marketing strategy, it’s good to walk the line between being informative and too promotional. Fortunately, content marketing is a great way to market yourself without being too “salesy.”
Instead of hyping up the public in a 30-second commercial, content marketing for small businesses gives you much more time to inform and connect with an audience. Use this time to take things slow and be more of an authority than a salesperson.
You won’t be that 30-second commercial that someone barely notices and forgets about in a few minutes. Instead, your content marketing goes for a much longer-term play. Through quality content, you’re developing an actual relationship with your customer.
Does this strategy take a little more time? Yes, but it’s far better than trying to rush a sale.
Think about it. Would you rather have someone pressure you into buying something or someone who takes their time and walks you through everything about a product?
Content Marketing for Small Businesses: 13 Awesome Tips
Now that you’ve learned about why content marketing is so beneficial for small businesses, it’s time to move onto strategies. I chose these exact strategies because they’re the best for small businesses.
Follow these strategies, and you should begin seeing rankings and traffic both start increasing.
1. Create a Blog
One of the best ways to begin a content marketing campaign is by creating blog content. You might be asking, “what in the world is a blog?” A blog is simply a website that acts as a type of online journal or “weblog” (what blog is an abbreviation for).
If your company already has a website, you have everything you need to start a blog. One of the best things I can recommend here is to avoid overthinking, especially in the early stages. Start with a few topics, get ready to type, and see where it ends up.
To set yourself up for small business success, I recommend buying a cheap domain from a service like NameCheap. You can get most domains for about $10 (as long as they’re not owned by someone else)!
Before posting it, don’t forget to run your content through a grammar checker like Grammarly or the Hemingway App.
As you continue your content marketing for small businesses efforts, you can then spend time on keyword research, web design, and other elements that create stand-out content.
2. Make Infographics
Another great way to boost the results of your small business content marketing efforts is by creating infographics. While the name might sound complicated, it’s a term given to images with text and statistics.
If you’re remotely handy with Photoshop or a web-based photo editor, you can probably throw something together in about an hour.
So, why are infographics so popular? One reason is that, in the digital age, people want information fast. Instead of reading a long blog post, infographics can give your reader what they need in a matter of moments.
Also, infographics are great for other companies in need of fast content. Therefore, you can get a lot of backlinks and social shares from creating infographics.
3. Use Interviews as Content
There’s nothing like learning more straight from an expert. With an interview, you’ll gain insight straight from someone’s mind. Considering that, interviews are excellent parts of any small business content marketing strategy.
You can choose to reach out to experts in your industry. If you don’t have the time or connections to do that, have someone interview you. While working in an industry, you’ll gain a lot more valuable insight than you might think.
After publishing your interview, you might be surprised to learn how many people want to read your insights.
4. Start Making Videos
You don’t need a million-dollar advertising budget to start a video marketing campaign. Thanks to the popularity of the internet, almost anyone can make and upload a video.
And who doesn’t want to learn from a small business owner? That’s where you come in!
Certain companies want to present their information with a mixture of humor and information. Other businesses need to be less lighthearted and more serious with what they present.
Regardless of how you deliver information in videos, the point is to make video creation a part of your small business marketing strategy right away. Oberlo reports that 85% of internet users enjoy watching online videos.
5. Create Webinars
Small businesses can also start gaining more of a market share by creating webinars. If you were unaware, the term webinar is another way to describe a video seminar. You don’t need an expensive video recording set up to achieve this goal.
All you need to do is choose a topic, promote your webinar, and be there when it’s time for it to begin.
6. Consider Content Partnerships
In the business world, a lot of good things can happen from a partnership. With that in mind, you can skyrocket the results of your small business content marketing plan by partnering with other companies.
When you’re just getting started marketing your small business, you might run into trouble gaining organic search traffic in the beginning. Fortunately, you can change this situation by gaining backlinks.
First, start by looking at any companies in your industry that your brand currently works with. You might find that these companies are utilizing their own content marketing strategies. If so, consider reaching out and asking about creating content to publish on their blog or vice versa.
If you don’t have these types of partnerships right now, start working to establish them. To do this, search on social media and search engines for keywords relevant to your industry. In a short amount of time, you should begin finding lots of potential companies to reach out to.
As I’ve often mentioned, the reach out email should be short and sweet. Mention who you are, what your company does, and if they would be interested in a content partnership. When this type of partnership happens, make sure you’re able to post their content on your website as well.
With that said, not all backlinks are equal in value. The main thing you want to look for in your marketing campaigns is getting links from high-quality sources that are also relevant.
Quality and relevancy go a long way when it comes to backlinks. You can gain these links by offering your (or your team’s) high-quality content in exchange for a backlink.
You can ask for money in exchange for your content. However, I don’t recommend it and don’t do this in my content strategy. Why? Isn’t that working for free? No.
Nowadays, most backlinks cost money. Some people charge $50, $100, or upwards of $150 for a high-quality link.
7. Create a Content Gameplan
As you begin thinking about your small business content marketing strategy, you’ll start coming up with lots of ideas. To avoid forgetting something important, it’s wise to create a content gameplan. This is simply a way of listing out all of your content ideas.
After doing this, you can begin to structure articles around topics. It’s also helpful for companies who want to be visible for certain seasonal terms.
As an example, most retail companies expect to do more business during the holiday season. Considering that, these companies will start preparing holiday-related content months in advance.
8. Gain Insights From Social Media
It’s understandable to feel stumped when it comes to finding ideas for content marketing for small businesses. If this is happening to you, it’s time to visit social media.
No, I’m not saying this is the time to watch cute animal videos (OK, you can watch a couple). Instead, use social media to gain insights as to what your target audience is talking about.
You can start doing this by logging into your social media accounts and finding out more about your brand’s current followers. This type of information includes their age range, location, and what other brands and topics they care about.
To take things further, you might consider purchasing a social media listening tool. Many companies offer this as a monthly or yearly service. If you have the budget for it, social listening is a great way to uncover what your audience wants.
After learning more about the questions and concerns your audience has, you can create content based around these topics to help them out.
9. Don’t Forget to Visit Reddit
If you haven’t started using Reddit for ideas, it’s time to start. On this platform, Reddit’s users have quite a bit of power. Each user can either upvote or downvote the content that appears on this platform. This is great for allowing you to instantly learn about hot topics within your industry.
However, it’s also important to avoid posting overly promotional content on Reddit. This platform’s audience can spot digital marketing from a mile away.
10. Ask for User-Generated Content (UGC)
One of the most powerful types of content marketing for small businesses with user-generated content. This is content that your audience generates for you. Have you ever seen a company on social media that shares posts from their fans? This is a great example of user-generated content.
Not only is user-generated content an effective type of marketing, but it’s also incredibly cost-effective. Essentially, this type of marketing generates free content for your company. If your brand doesn’t have this content coming in, I’ve got several tips to help change that.
The first way to get more user-generated content is by checking for what already might be out there. To do this, start typing in searches on popular social platforms revolving around your brand.
If you start seeing your brand’s product or service being mentioned (or pictured), you have user-generated content. To get even more, think about dropping a comment or leaving a like. This is a great way to start turning customers into loyal brand fans.
There are many other ways to encourage people to post user-generated content, here are a few of my favorites:
- Holding contests on social media
- Feature UGC on your company’s website
- Always engage with your audience
11. Answer Your Audience’s Questions
Who doesn’t love showing off their knowledge from time to time? You can do this and strengthen your small business content marketing strategy at the same time. To do this, look for popular question and answer websites. My current favorite is Quora.
There’s no real catch with this method. All you’re doing is looking for relevant questions that people are asking on Quora or other question websites that you can answer. You’ll only need to make an account and start helping others with answers.
The key to success with this method is not to be too promotional. Start by answering a few questions without inserting a link to or mentioning your business. After you begin building trust, you can go ahead and throw a link to your brand in there.
This is also an excellent way to increase the power of your small company’s SEO (search engine optimization) results. Considering how popular most of these types of websites are, Google often gives them a lot of favor and ranks these pages highly.
12. Consider Using a Few Content Marketing Tools
If you want to create valuable content, it’s sometimes helpful to have a few tools on your side. I’ve had my fair share of experiences with both good and bad marketing tools. If you’re putting in the work to create content, it’s a good idea to consider using some tools to make sure it’s getting seen by as many people as possible.
To help ensure my marketing efforts pay off, I enjoy using Ahrefs and SurferSEO as my two main tools. Regardless of what people selling a bunch of crap will tell you – you don’t need a ton of tools for content marketing for small businesses to pay off.
Normally, Ahrefs is pretty expensive to pay for each month or year. However, it’s almost a necessity to have once your content creation efforts begin paying off. By that point, the monthly membership is a small cost to pay and should be smaller than the revenue it brings in.
Fortunately, Ahrefs offers a 7-day trial for only $7. This is awesome for people who are just starting out with a content marketing program.
13. Plan Ahead With a Content Calendar
I have to admit, I avoided the content marketing calendar for quite some time. There was no reason why I didn’t use one of the many free tools to help me plan my content. But, once I started using a content marketing calendar, there was no going back.
First, using this type of calendar helps you specifically think about new topics. When you have one or several content ideas, you can plan out when you’ll write or post them in content calendars. If you run a business online with many employees, these calendars work well for managing:
- Pitching ideas about content marketing for small businesses
- Managing who’s writing a blog article and when it’s due
- Tracking when marketers post new articles to social media channels
Ideas About for Content Marketing for Small Businesses
So far, I’ve given you the basics about content marketing and a ton of tips. Now, we’re going to look at different ideas to help start coming up with relevant content. Play around with the following ideas and you’re sure to create something great.
Write How-to Guides
As you think about what your average day looks like, it’s likely that you can teach people quite a few things. You can use these ideas as the basis for creating how-to themed content.
Research shows that Google receives over 80 billion searches per month. A good percentage of these searches are people using Google to find out how to do something. Whether it’s fixing a stuck drawer or learning about content marketing for small businesses, many people get their information from search results.
As you’re thinking about ideas to gain more website traffic, consider what topics you could write how-to guides about. Next, do a little keyword research to see how competitive your ideal terms are. If it looks like a first-page spot is possible, start creating content that teaches your target audience new skills.
See What the Competition is Writing About
Sometimes, your fountain of content marketing ideas runs dry. No matter what you do, you struggle to come up with any blog post or social media ideas. I’ve been there plenty of times.
When inspiration isn’t striking, there’s nothing wrong with getting inspiration from your competitors. I’m not talking about blatantly stealing their topics and titles. Instead, look over what they write and put your spin on some original content marketing ideas.
Bonus tip: As you browse competitors’ websites and social media pages, look for specific content that received the most shares, likes, and comments. Chances are, there’s a reason these pieces of content received more engagement than others.
Share Interesting Posts About Your Company’s History
Sometimes, the best small business content marketing strategies don’t involve any kind of sales pitch. Instead, create a blog post that mentions the history of your company. Look at documents or videos detailing your company’s history. By doing this, you should have no trouble coming up with at least a few ideas about content marketing for small businesses.
And this content doesn’t have to be 100% focused on your company’s victories. You can look at a recent example from Coca-Cola’s blog where it talks about New Coke. If you weren’t aware, New Coke was Coca-Cola’s biggest blunder and one of the worst product launches of all-time.
After the process of creating quality content about your company’s history is complete, make sure to share it around to boost your social media presence.
Check Out Relevant Online Groups
Large online forums are great places to come up with marketing ideas for small companies. These groups are typically home to a clearly defined audience. Finding groups or sub-groups in your company’s niche are great places to start.
Once you find these groups, you can join them right away. If you’re brave, you can immediately start sharing content. However, most people like to at least get familiar with the groups they join before they start posting.
A good rule to keep in mind with these online groups is to make sure you only share content of value. In most cases, forum users are used to sales pitches disguised as content. That’s not to say that these people can never be potential customers. You just need to earn their trust before you start shilling your company’s products and services.
What’s great about popular forums and other online groups is they act as sort of never-ending ideas for content. You can learn about what potential customers want, can’t stand, and wish a company could create for them.
Create Seasonal Content
Another classic fountain of small businesses content marketing ideas involves seasonal topics. Each year, most people will celebrate local holidays. My knowledge of holidays doesn’t extend far beyond the United States. So, using that country as an example, I know that companies often create content as these holidays approach:
- Valentine’s Day
- Black Friday
Think about what holidays are coming up. Since organic content can take a little while to start showing up in search engine results, I’d aim to plan out at least a few months ahead. The earlier you’re writing blog posts about seasonal topics, the better.
Ask Your Target Audience
You can also boost your web and social media presence by asking customers for ideas. I’ve worked for companies who straight up just asked their followers want they want to see content about. And, it worked!
One post helped this business unearth tons of content suggestions that no employees were thinking about (myself included)! You can also get ideas by sending out a message in your company’s current email marketing campaigns. Or start creating posts asking for ideas on your company’s favorite social media platforms.
With a little time, your company could have a lot of content marketing topics to choose from.
Have Your Employees Pitch Ideas
There’s almost no one who knows your company’s current and potential customers better than its employees. If you’re trying to gain more organic traffic through content marketing, ask your employees to pitch ideas.
Each day, most of your employees speak with business partners or customers. Many of these conversations yield valuable information and get your business tapped into its audience. Chances are, the topic ideas you get from your employees will turn into extremely relevant small business content marketing ideas.
Repurpose Existing Content
Sometimes, you don’t even have to create new content to generate leads and show up in search results. Instead, boost brand recognition by repurposing content your company already created.
- Start a YouTube channel and turn website posts into video content.
- Take the best parts of blog posts and use them for paid advertising headlines.
- Write a few new pieces about your favorite subject and use them as guest posts.
As we can see, learning about content marketing for small businesses is a great thing to do. Small businesses have a great chance to stand out against their larger competitors with the right online marketing strategy. In many cases, content marketing for small businesses is a key factor helping large companies gain an edge over the competition.
Alex Eagleton is a copywriter and digital marketer passionate about helping companies connect with customers. Throughout the past decade, he’s worked with companies including Referral Rock, Connecteam, and Ramsey Solutions. He’s a versatile writer who understands how to align with companies, truly matching their voices and tones.
When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his dogs, reading, and playing guitar.
You can reach him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.