Content marketing for SMEsContent may be king, but for a great many SMEs out there, the idea of tackling a digital content marketing campaign can seem like too much of a daunting task, one considered the sole domain of larger enterprises and major brands.

Whilst it may be true that leaping straight in without a second glance can waste a lot of time and money without much return for your business, a carefully planned content marketing campaign can prove a highly cost-effective strategy for SMEs.

After all, the aims of content marketing are threefold:

  1. Show potential customers what you have to offer.
  2. Generate leads for sales.
  3. Build brand awareness and gain trust so that more people want to purchase from you.

And this remains true no matter the size of your business. You are still an expert in your particular field – share this knowledge to attract customers.

The benefits of content marketing for SMEs

A well thought-out content marketing campaign has the potential for unlimited reach and knocks down many of the common barriers that can get in the way of making sales. It builds your reputation as an authority in your field, allowing you to build a relationship with customers by leaving the hard-sell at the door – instead of pushing your services, you are offering valuable information and answers in an arena where the customer feels in control.

You can also implement your campaign, as well as measure the results, in real-time – key for many SMEs that react to opportunities as and when they appear. If results are not going to plan, you can seek feedback, try a new tactic or even drop elements of your campaign altogether.

Additionally, creating online content is more budget-friendly than TV or radio advertising and has more of a reach than printed media marketing. In fact, an article posted on The Marketing Mentor towards the end of last year revealed that “content marketing costs around 62% less than traditional forms of marketing and generates about three times as many leads”.

The reality is that content marketing is the present as well as the future, regardless the size of your business.

Top tips to kick-start your campaign

1. Know your customers

Sounds simple right? But you’d be surprised how many businesses leap straight into creating content without paying serious attention to what it is their customers actually want to read about. Build a clear profile of your audience. Consider the questions they might have – you can be the authority that provides the answers. Find the topics that push their buttons and you’re well on the way to creating targeted, valuable content.

2. Grab and hold the reader’s attention

The first battle involves enticing readers to click on your headline. Lose this one and you’re likely to lose the war – what’s the point in creating winning content if nobody clicks to read it? Try a commanding adjective such as “How to…” or try a good, old-fashioned list post such as “10 ways to…”

Of course, if step one is a clickable headline, step two is a catchy opening line. Step three is the following line… you get the picture. Each line needs to be designed to keep the reader on track – keep paragraphs short, sentences concise and content skimmable.

3. Create a content plan

An effective content marketing campaign needs to be structured and focused – this may potentially provide something of a challenge for SMEs that are used to reacting to opportunities as they crop up.

To keep your campaign tight, create a calendar to schedule and plan your posts, taking into account seasonality. Content needs to be timely in order to be useful.

4. Promote your content

Your content is on point, now you just need people to see it. Social media platforms play a central role in an effective content marketing campaign. You don’t necessarily need to hit every single one, guns blazing – instead choose the most relevant for your business, whether that is Facebook, Twitter, joining a LinkedIn networking group or combing a few.

Use social media to engage with your audience and discover what other topics interest them. This is your chance to show the human side of your business too and connect with potential customers or clients as you build relationships and gain credibility in the marketplace.

5. Talk to professionals

If the hurdles of launching a content marketing campaign seem insurmountable due to concerns over writing capabilities or a lack of awareness of social media, don’t just dismiss it. Outsourcing to professionals can help free up your team for bigger and better things i.e. the running of your business. Safe in the knowledge that your content marketing campaign is in capable hands.

Ben Hollom

August 18, 2015