Content helps small businesses stand out. Here’s how

By Brittany Taylor

Fact: Content marketing helps small businesses compete with the big guys. Here's how.

Sep. 26, 2015

Big businesses come with big budgets—big budgets that small businesses like yours and mine don’t have. Are they using content marketing? Heck, yeah. In fact, 90% of companies are doing some kind of content marketing today.

I know what you’re thinking.

Part of you probably cringes at that statistic. I bet you’re wondering why you should even bother contributing to the noise. It’s a valid question. It’s one I have sometimes, too. Why bother with blogs and e-books and newsletters, you ask.

Let’s return to the big businesses for a minute. Those big businesses with their big, fat budgets are spending significant money on branded content. But they’re spending even more money on traditional marketing strategies. They have cash to fund TV spots, billboards, and magazine spread. They are sending out direct mailings. They’re papering your town with posts and sponsoring your favorite podcasts. Next to their explosion of paper products and promotional plastic pens, small businesses’ capabilities seem…insignificant.

You can compete with big business. How?

With content marketing, that’s how. I know it seems counterintuitive, but hear me out.

Without content marketing, you’re up against big businesses’ advertising budgets. And on a national or global scale, you have no chance of competing, not in the real world.

But we don’t just live in the real world. Fortunately for business owners like us, we live in a digital world, and that world allows us to connect with zillions of people instantaneously.

Wait a second! What about digital advertising?

Yes, lots of money can still buy lots of ads on the internet, but digital advertising continues to throw all of us marketers and business owners for a loop. No sooner do we come up with a new technology than other, cleverer people figure out how to block it. We, as consumers, know where not to click and what banners to ignore, and in doing so, we’re kind of sabotaging our own advertising endeavors.

Let’s forget about advertising, then, and turn our attention to the opportunity that just walked through the door: content marketing.

In the time it has taken us to go full circle from content marketing to advertising and back again, 5,000 new posts have been published. That number shouldn’t make your fingers twitch towards that “delete blog” button.

Oh contraire! While all of these posts do create an overwhelming white noise if you pull back and look at them as an enormous, all-encompassing group, none of them are really affecting your efforts—well, so long as you’re creating good content.

Good content rises to the top. People share it. People read it. People remember it. And, oh, it is good to be remembered.

There’s one thing big biz can’t do

Oh, and those big businesses? They can produce all the content their budgets can afford. They can place banner ads and pop-ups and sponsorships, but they can’t coerce people to read their posts or like their updates or engage with their campaigns. They can’t buy search engine rankings. They can’t shove their material in front of millions of people at one time, Super Bowl ad-style, and force them to watch a 30-second spot.

The captive audience online is much harder to pin down. And there, in that particular challenge, you and big business are on the same playing field.

Take advantage of your even playing field

Good content is good content—it doesn’t matter where it comes from. I like reading a good story whether it comes from Coca-Cola or from my local butchery.

The key to publishing good content is creating content you would want to consume yourself. It might not be a blog post or an e-book. Maybe it’s a video or an infographic or a picture on Instagram.

Whatever it is, make it good.

Good enough to share with your friends.

Good enough to tell your date about over happy hour.

Good enough for Grandma to show off to her mahjong friends.

Here’s the content rule I want to leave you with: Only produce content that you’re proud of, that represents you and your business, and that contributes to your goals.

Got big competition? Consider content marketing one way to even the playing field (and captivate your target audience). | via