Content is king, and everyone, especially businesses, knows that by now. Small businesses, however, sometimes have a tougher time pumping out content that competes with big name brands and national companies — mainly because they have such large budgets with which smaller businesses can’t compete. It sometimes boils down to a misunderstanding, though: long-form articles do well for SEO purposes, and videos entertain and go viral, but these often expensive forms of content are not the only types available for small businesses.
A Robust FAQ
It seems obvious now, but many small businesses don’t realize that customers have a lot of questions — even if the answers are already scattered across your website. Collecting all the questions that customers have (even the not-so frequent ones) can do wonders for both SEO and customer satisfaction. And it benefits the business, too, in that you won’t be fielding phone calls and emails answering questions that can be easily found on the website. Customers don’t want to call or email, either — you’ll save everyone some time.
Real Customer Testimonials
Potential customers always want to know what others think — it’s why Yelp is so popular. There are a lot of places to collect reviews, such as Google Places, LinkedIn and Facebook; you can also solicit review from customers yourself. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more common for unhappy customers to review a business than a happy customer, so offer some kind of incentive such as a discount code or a sample pack of your product in exchange for a review.
Put these customer reviews directly on your website. If you’ve got a little extra wiggle room in your budget, ask a particularly satisfied customer if he or she would be willing to be interviewed briefly about the experience with your company. Videos have become more and more important in regards to content, and hearing a positive review straight from the horse’s mouth can be more convincing than a written review.
Curate Some Content
Let’s face it: sometimes other companies create such great content that you’ve just got to share it. But don’t just plop a link to a blog post or infographic on your website’s blog and call it a day. Explain to your readers why you think it is an important piece of content and, if possible, analyze any data that comes along with it. Even better — if you disagree with the article, infographic or other type of content, explain why your company has a different viewpoint (and why you’re right, of course).
Some small businesses shy away from content curation because they believe it leads consumers away from the business itself. Of course, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due, but they’ll still be reading the content on your website. And you’ll show that you’re keeping tabs on the industry.
Recycle & Reuse
Old content is still good content. A blog post you’ve written months ago may not have been seen by everyone, so turn that content into a list-style post to share on Facebook. Tweet out some stats from an article that has been languishing on your blog for weeks. And you don’t necessarily need the Photoshop skills of a professional graphic designer to create a simple meme (that’s a simple photo with some words, in case you’re not with the times!).
A Nifty Newsletter
A newsletter not only gives you the opportunity to collect email addresses, it can help showcase your insight. While this does require some budget, not all content in the newsletter has to be completely original — and it doesn’t have to be a fancy layout, either. Scour Twitter for relevant, funny or interesting tweets about your industry from well-known people, and link to some content created by industry analysts that will resonate with your audience. Add some recent statistics or other data in big, bold letters to capture attention.
You can interview anyone for a quickie blog post or even a video if you’ve got the equipment. It doesn’t have to be a regular customer: interview a local celebrity that happens to use your business or one of your suppliers for some industry insight. You can even interview your own staff so that locals can really get to know your company — and when they see that staff member in person, it’ll be like meeting a celebrity!
With the rate at which businesses are expected to produce content, it can be difficult to strike a balance between really good content and an appropriate budget. Small businesses often run into that problem — after several months of weekly (and for some, twice-weekly) content, the money and ideas run out. But with a little creativity and an open mind, small businesses can beat out even the biggest brands — and become king of their own content.