Owners of small and midsize businesses are “marketed” to all the time. But to catch their attention, your content can’t simply be blog posts cranked out by a writer. You won’t win their time or trust—nor their business—unless your content is exceptional.
Exceptional content is a must because it builds trust in your brand by showcasing your expertise and experience and ultimately generates demand for what you sell. When it comes to content for SMBs, good simply isn’t good enough.
So, how do you stand out from the sea of “good enough” SMB content marketing and make yours everything it needs to be? Here are four best practices for producing exceptional SMB content:
Understand the SMB owner mindset
So much SMB content is created without truly understanding what SMBs need—as well as not understanding what they already know. How an owner views the world and evaluates opportunities is different from the way that someone at a large company does. We’ll be talking more about SMB behaviors and mindset in an upcoming post, but it’s essential to find the approaches, topics and themes that will resonate with this audience—and realize that SMB owners have a unique vantage point.
So, where do you go for insights about topics your SMB customers and prospects will care about? Your salesforce and other customer-facing staff can be a great resource. They talk with SMB owners regularly and can tell you the top issues those owners face, particular as it relates to your company’s product or service. If your salesforce doesn’t go in-depth with SMBs, see #3 below.
Another great source is working with writers and editors who regularly take the pulse of SMBs and understand the current challenges and issues they care about, along with the tone that resonates with this finicky audience. They also know the subject matter experts that have the insights SMBs need (again, see #3 below).
Change their POV
Unless your content somehow alters the way SMB owners view the topic at hand, it’s likely to be ignored or even negatively impact your brand. Too much content put out by brands simply rehashes the same topics and tips without moving the needle.
How can you determine if your content will change their POV? Ask yourself (and your content creators) these two questions:
- What is SMB owners’ current POV on the topic?
- How does your content change their POV?
Many SMBs don’t know what they don’t know and are struggling to deal with rapid change in many facets of their businesses. You can provide them with “a-ha moments” by revealing useful information and insights that intersect with what your company provides.
As an example, a financial company might explain the true cost of offering customers a 2% early-payment discount (it is approximately a 36% APR), while a tech company might look at the nuances of using SMS text messaging to communicate with customers—and how to do it effectively.
Leverage the best SMEs
Another way to ensure your content doesn’t fall flat is working with the best subject matter experts (or SMEs). Who are they? They are the top people in their field—and yet often not the most well known. They are people who work with business owners every day and help them excel. That means they are true experts, not just people eager for exposure (or the ones with the most followers).
Feature your customers
Your SMB customers are likely a fantastic source of real-world insights and stories. They can share the challenges and rewards of running their business and detail their experiences—all while talking about how your products helped them. Don’t overlook their value to your brand.
These “peer-to-peer” stories are what SMB owners appreciate most because they realize many other business owners face the same challenges, risks and opportunities that they do—and want to hear first-hand how they’re dealing with them. (Moreover, the SMB customers you feature in your content will appreciate the exposure.)
Producing content is becoming more important, given how SMBs buy today. They often turn to companies that provide them with useful, timely and valuable information, because those companies have won their trust. But if your SMB content isn’t exceptional, not only could it fail to win them over—it could backfire and tarnish your brand.
At RSL Media, we keep the pulse of SMBs, from small companies to the lower middle market. (I personally speak with dozens of owners each month.) We have also cultivated a deep bench of subject matter experts across a vast range of industries and topic areas that owners of SMBs care about, from finance to technology to marketing to sales. Finally, we know how to strategically produce a content program that doesn’t just engage readers, but ultimately delivers revenue.
Let us know if we can help you be exceptional.
Get insights and tips for marketing to small and midsize businesses from the people who speak SMB.