It’s a common misconception that only the bigger brands with bigger bucks to spend can reap the benefits of content marketing. Of course, it’s true that a larger budget certainly never hurts when you’re trying to get your company’s brand on the radar of prospective customers. However, with bigger brands, experimenting with and implementing new ideas can be a time-consuming business, often taking a painfully long time to filter through the multiple chains of command to come to fruition. Smaller companies are actually able to bypass these hoops and make faster, more focused decisions. In fact, with the right processes in place, they are able to write, optimise, approve and share a piece of content on a variety of channels – all within the space of a day.

But this is just one of the reasons that SMEs should take the content bull by the horns and ensure they’re not giving up in the face of big brand competition. Here’s a little more food for thought that might just persuade you that content marketing is the right fit for your SME.

SMEs can work the local angle

Instead of fretting about the way those bigger brands are reeling in the followers and executing campaigns at the national level, consider how the SME can strike at the local level, creating personalised content that scores much higher in the search engine rankings for local key words. Small businesses that have done their research will have an understanding of and involvement in the local community, which builds trust amongst customers. Why not consider partnering up with other local businesses on campaigns? Look for local businesses that target people within your niche to work with. You’ll boost your budget and make more connections too; leaving any competitors trying to fly solo out in the cold.

Engagement is king

Always remember that the key to content marketing success lies in engagement. The success of a well-crafted piece of content depends on how much it resonates with customers, and this does not necessarily depend on how many followers a business has. A small but engaged following trumps the larger numbers any day of the week.

SMEs often have the power to be more individual-focused in their social media efforts due to the fact they can handle the influx of comments from customers. Encourage reviews, questions, comments and concerns when you share a piece of content and, for god’s sake, make sure you reply promptly to foster those connections. Bear in mind, 53% of customers expect a response from a brand on Twitter within a one hour time window – a speedy response will make your brand stand out.

Furthermore, personalisation is the buzzword of the moment and small businesses can offer personalised responses, tailoring content to suit individuals and offering more than the scripted responses some bigger brands offer. With 94% of executives in agreement that delivering personalised content is critical, engaging with consumers to understand their desires, needs and pain-points can only benefit your business.

Advertising costs can be lower

If you’re an SME that’s looking to target local customers, you can target your social promotion to focus on people within a certain radius of your business in order to save pennies on advertising outside of your customer base.

In fact, why not rope in some of your loyal customers to act as ambassadors and deliver some user-generated content that can attract new people to your business? Small business owners tend to have a more personal relationship with their customers – use that connection to encourage those you do business with to post about their experiences with you or review products and services. According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust organic user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising. The savvy SME can harness those personal relationships to their advantage.

Whilst content marketing and SMEs can go hand-in-hand when approached in the right way, this doesn’t take away from the fact that a smaller business might lack the manpower to give a content strategy its due. That’s why sometimes it makes sense to hand the reins over to the professionals…

Ben Hollom

April 12, 2017