Because the small and midsize business (SMB) market is highly sought after and notoriously hard to reach, it is extremely important for marketers to hone the quality of their SMB content. It has to be top-notch every time. Even a small slip-up can quickly send your customers or prospects elsewhere.
SMB buyers crave content that can help them. They are often jacks of all trades, masters of few, and are facing an ever-evolving business environment. On the other hand, they are constantly time-starved and have hundreds of companies and media outlets vying for their attention.
Given this, you would think that marketers would ensure that their SMB content is second to none. I see a lot of content for SMBs and I can tell you, sadly, that way too much content produced for SMBs is subpar. One of the biggest problems I see is the lack of real experts writing or contributing to the content. The risks are high: at best, you will lose the reader to another site, perhaps a competitor. At worst you are damaging your brand, which will no longer be seen as a trusted resource.
As sales expert Jack Daly says, selling is the transfer of trust. No trust, no sale. And there is no quicker way to lose trust with an SMB owner or employee than having incorrect or common sense (read: lame) information in your content. Too many people who are contributing to SMB content are not top experts or even experts at all. You can ask them all the questions that you want, but at best you will get widely known information that can easily turn off the SMB buyer.
The first step to ensuring that your SMB content is great is to make the choice of featuring true experts that can deliver high-value insights. In some cases, these are not “talking heads” or influencers, but rather are people who work with SMBs every day.
The next step is finding and connecting with these experts. This step includes identifying them and establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.
Finally, you want to ensure that you are getting the best content that you can from the experts. We have found that top experts have no problem sharing their best insights but you often need to prompt them. Questions like, “What is it that you wish your clients were doing that they aren’t doing now?” and “What is the biggest issue your clients are facing right now?” are good open-ended questions that typically lead to great content (of course, a great editor already knows how to do this).
This process can be difficult and is very time-consuming. We (RSL Media) have hundreds of experts that we have worked with over the years. But it took a huge amount of effort to get there. We talked with 5 to 10 experts for every 1 that we decided to work and build relationships with. We also created processes to make it easy for these experts to work with us–it’s the least we can do, since we end up pushing them for their best stuff.
It is never too late to start building a foundation for your content on proven and trusted expertise. Taking it a step further, make sure their ideas and solutions go beyond the obvious. Impress a business owner and you are on your way to building trust and a loyal customer for years to come.