Small businesses have 101 content marketing hurdles to overcome. Limited time and budget, fierce competition, uncertainty about how to measure results…the list goes on. One thing that doesn’t have to be a challenge, though, is deciding what type of content marketing to invest in.
What it can feel like when it comes time to create content.
And that’s because we’re sharing 22 excellent small business content marketing ideas and helping you determine which types are a fit for your business.
22 content marketing ideas for small businesses
Let’s dig into some effective channels for content marketing and tried-and-true content types worth considering for your strategy.
1. Use your Google Business Profile as a resource
Google Business Profile is a great resource for distributing (and creating) content. You can:
- Share business updates and news (you can do this easily through Google Business Posts!)
- Post visual content (e.g. photos of your products, team, location, etc. to generate interest in the business)
- Direct profile visitors to content you’ve created such as your latest blog posts, case studies, white papers, etc.
An example of a Google Business Profile Post update
Pro tip: Encourage customers and others who’ve had positive experiences with your business to leave reviews. You can then incorporate those reviews into other content to make it that much more powerful.
2. Use social media as content inspiration
The social media platforms your audience is most active on are a goldmine for content marketing ideas. So pay attention to:
- Which of your posts get the most engagement so you can create more like them or create more in-depth content on topics that perform well
- Emerging trends (inside and outside of your industry)
- The types of social media content your competitors are creating and having success promoting
Plus, you can always poll and chat with your audience to find out what content they’d be most interested in seeing.
3. Invest in creating video content
Videos can be used for explainers, teasers, testimonials, demos, ads and sales, customer service, and more. And they’re only become easier and less expensive to create, according to Wyzowl’s 2022 State of Video Marketing report. Even better, video marketing gets a high return on investment with:
- 87% of marketers saying it’s helped them increase traffic
- 94% of marketers reporting that it helps users understand a product or service better
- 86% of marketers saying video has helped with lead generation
- 81% of marketers indicating that it’s driven sales directly
Whether you have a dedicated channel for videos such as Youtube or integrate video within other content, it can be a powerful tool for small business content marketing.
Related: Get YouTube video ideas to try.
4. Start a podcast
“Podcasts have the advantage of being extremely personal, as they are sent directly to your audience’s ears,” said Jay Bats, Co-Founder of ContentBASE. “They also enable you to reach listeners as they go about their regular lives, like in the car or while exercising. The costs of producing a podcast are likewise relatively low. It’s less scary than video and has a higher probability of engaging your customers.”
A few examples of small business podcasts on Apple Podcasts
For the cost of a decent microphone and as little as 15 to 30 minutes a week, you can enjoy the benefits of this type of marketing. So, if video sounds intimidating, a podcast may indeed be a better option.
5. Create case studies
Especially in crowded industries, case studies are a powerful tool for standing out from the crowd. They don’t just detail how your products or services have helped solve real-world problems. They provide an opportunity to showcase your unique capabilities, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and earn the trust of potential customers as a result.
A case study example from MailChimp
P.S. While traditional case studies work, you can also do live case studies, sharing updates as you have them.
6. Create interactive content
Traditional text, audio, and video content aren’t dead. However, interactive content—quizzes, polls, calculators, maps, sliders, and so on—has its benefits.
For one thing, it’s eye-catching and exciting. For another, because it’s engaging, it’s also more memorable, shareable, and more likely to generate word-of-mouth hype surrounding your business.
A piece of content that comes to mind for me is Contra’s 2021 State of Independence report. While there’s nothing wrong with the usual stats page or PDF report, scroll through this report and you’ll see the difference interactivity makes.
Related: Want more interactive content? Check out these interactive search advertising benchmarks!
7. Create infographics
Visuals in general are an effective way to make text more eye-catching and easier to read. But infographics, in particular, make it easy to distill complex or in-depth information in a clear, concise, visually-exciting way.
And remember that many people skim content (especially long-form pieces). So, providing infographics gives them the TL;DR, helping them make sense of the main points quickly.
The bonus is that, because they’re so attractive and packed with value, infographics are great for racking up social shares. As a result, they can increase the reach of your brand significantly.
8. Do email marketing
- The way for continuous nurturing of potential and existing customers, allowing for one-on-one communication
- Audience segmentation possible so you can reach the right people with the right message and, therefore, get better results from that message
- Measuring results simple so you can progressively optimize your email campaigns and their performance
Plus, since it’s an owned channel, it’s more futureproof than unowned channels like social media that aren’t within your control.
9. Answer FAQs
The lowest risk way to get a return on your investment in content marketing? Answer what people are asking. Your audience already has confirmed interest in the topic, which is a sign that related content may perform well. From there, all you have to do is answer those questions in a way that’s clearer, more comprehensive, and more engaging than competitors.
The experience of Rozz Kernez, Chief Digital Marketing Consultant at Full Color Cleaners, illustrates this well. Ross said, “One of my clients—a hand-made natural skincare business—invited their customers on social media every week to submit their skin and beauty problems to be answered by the face of the brand who’s a beauty expert. Customers would submit their questions and they would be answered in the weekly article.
It was a great idea for two reasons. First, it got their customers and fans actively involved with the brand. Second, the questions posed and answered were then used in their sales pages to ‘pre-frame’ potential objections.”
You can also feature this content on a FAQ page on your website.
10. Dispel industry myths
There’s misinformation in every industry, so there’s also an opportunity in every industry to stand out. By dispelling industry myths—especially if not doing so would negatively impact your audience—you can earn the trust of potential customers, and maintain the respect of existing ones.
11. Take people behind the curtain
Many larger companies lack the transparency and down-to-earth, human element that small businesses have. That—coupled with the fact that many people are naturally curious, especially about brands they like—makes behind-the-scenes content effective.
Could you do a day-in-the-life video with your team? Give a sneak peek on social media while you set up for a special event? Show how you make a product or carry out a service?
12. Introduce yourself and your team
Just like people want to know what happens behind the scenes, they also like to know who is behind the scenes. So, although it might feel uncomfortable to put yourself out there at first, let people get to know you and your team. It will make you more memorable and them more likely to buy from and recommend you.
13. Make unlikely connections
Steve Jobs is quoted as saying, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
You’ll find this to be true if you think about common topics or problems in your industry. Ask yourself, “What isn’t being talked about? What hasn’t been tried?” You’ll likely stumble upon ideas and solutions that are related but unexplored.
Alternatively, you can take seemingly unrelated ideas or topics, analyze similarities and differences, and come up with fresh angles and ways of presenting your content.
Someone thought to combine The Bachelor with data, so anything’s possible.
14. Accept guest posts or be a guest poster
Both writing guest posts on others’ blogs and accepting guest posts for yours get your business on the radars of more potential customers. So does the increasingly popular tactic of doing or allowing social media or email newsletter takeovers.
In any case, this type of arrangement is a great way to build relationships that could lead to even bigger, more impactful co-marketing opportunities.
This business owner wrote a guest post for LOCALiQ!
15. Do original research
Never mind the fact that most content is just a mediocre regurgitation of other content. Much of it is also outdated, making it hard for your potential audience to make informed decisions.
So doing original research—conducting a customer feedback survey, for example—can differentiate your marketing from everyone else’s. And it can make you a trusted source of information in your industry. More trust equals more future customers and better customer retention.
LOCALiQ created these search advertising benchmarks from internal data.
16. Interview thought leaders
What are the benefits of interviewing experts and, specifically, the most innovative individuals in your industry? For one thing, on top of the expertise you share with your audience, expert insights make your content 10x more valuable. For another, your business is seen as more credible and trustworthy by way of thought leaders’ good reputations and the trust they’ve already earned among their followers.
17. Partner with influencers and affiliates
Personal branding, influencer marketplaces, and affiliate marketplaces are all on the rise. It’s easier than ever to find influential people who:
- Have engaged audiences that overlap with yours
- Are creating content (perhaps in your niche) that consistently performs well
If you can get those individuals or brands to incorporate your message into their content and promote it to their audiences, you can increase your reach, credibility, and sales in one motion.
18. Repurpose and redistribute content
Especially if you have limited time and resources, you need to squeeze every bit of value out of each piece of content you create for your content marketing. That means repurposing content—recycling it in different formats—to reach more of your audience more effectively, and in less time.
Redistributing content is also essential. Don’t just promote your content once or for a limited time after it’s published. There will always be people who haven’t seen it, forgot about it, didn’t take action on it the first time, etc. So promote it forever.
19. Curate and comment on content
Curation and sharing your expert opinion on the content you curate has several benefits. It eases your audience’s struggle to find reliable content on industry topics. It relieves the pressure and expense that comes with creating all content from scratch. And it can help to build relationships with other content creators. When you share their work, they’re likely to return the favor, and this can help to increase your content’s reach.
You can easily curate and share content from a newsletter.
20. Comment on the latest news
Why comment on the latest industry happenings or news that impacts your industry? Of course, it shows that you’re up-to-date on the latest developments. But more, more importantly, it highlights that you have the strategic capability to navigate the changing industry landscape and continue meeting customer needs. Ultimately, this builds trust with your audience, in addition to making your content more attention-grabbing.
21. Do UGC campaigns
User-generated content—UGC for short—is a powerful tool for small businesses especially–as well as a great content marketing idea. It’s relatively inexpensive to produce because it’s created by customers and fans of your company, and can then be repurposed and redistributed. It feels more authentic and endearing to potential customers than a company trying to them convince them of how great it is.
In fact, according to TINT’s State of User-Generated Content report, six in 10 marketers feel that their audience engages more with UGC. So if you’re aiming to promote more interaction between yourself and your audience, encouraging customers to leave reviews or talk about their positive experiences with your company is smart.
22. Create product-led content
If you have a product-based business, product-led content can be a cost-effective way to acquire and retain customers. And to deliver enjoyable, memorable user experiences worth telling others about.
This kind of content puts your product front and center:
- Without being too salesy (depending on how close members of your audience are to becoming customers)
- While making clear how your product helps to resolve your audience’s core problem or helps them achieve a common goal
How to identify the right content marketing ideas
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to market your small business. And you can come up with even more ideas by watching trends, reviewing your analytics, and doing audience research. But that still leaves a question. How can you increase your chances of picking marketing tactics that will be effective for your business?
It can be overwhelming to even know where to start with choosing content marketing tactics. To make it less so, keep these things in mind:
- Identify your goals. Only once you have a clear idea of your objectives, can you piece together what types of content marketing could help you achieve them.
- Consider your audience. You can set all the goals and choose all the tactics you want. But if they don’t line up with who your audience is, what they’re interested in, what their goals are, and so on, you’ll be dead in the water.
- Evaluate your resources and capabilities. As far as time, budget, expertise, and other resources go, do you have what it will take to create the kind of content you’re considering? And, more importantly, to create it consistently? Start with the tactics you can answer “yes” for.
- Test and adapt. If something doesn’t work as well as you’d hope, tweak your approach. If it still doesn’t work, try something else. Even the best marketers go through this process, so don’t feel as if you have to create a flawless content marketing strategy on the first try.
Get started with content marketing for your small business today
Now, how about a little challenge? Why not use this list of content marketing ideas and the tips we shared to start whittling down your options. I’ll bet you could settle on at least a few ideas to investigate further in just 30 minutes or less. Give it a try and let us know how it goes on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!
Here are those 22 content marketing ideas for small businesses to try:
- Google Business Profile
- Social media
- Case studies
- Interactive content
- Answer FAQs
- Dispel industry myths
- Take people behind the curtain
- Introduce yourself and your team
- Make unlikely connections
- Accept guest posts or be a guest poster
- Do original research
- Interview thought leaders
- Partner with influencers and affiliates
- Repurpose and redistribute content
- Curate and comment on content
- Comment on the latest news
- Do user-generated content campaigns
- Create product-led content
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