Good content marketing is king for small businesses
When it comes to having quality content, Google’s most recent update, Penguin, is a game-changer.
“Twenty years ago companies would go and advertise and pay big money to be in the Yellow Pages,” says says DJ Kennedy, CEO of Toronto-based Internet marketing company TechWyse.
“This is the new Yellow Pages and if you want your company to get found, you have to be putting up compelling content regularly — that’s what is going to get you noticed and (differentiate) you from competitors,” he says.
Businesses have taken note. According to a survey by Unisphere Research, 48 per cent of marketers spend 10 to 50 per cent of their marketing budget on content creation.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Prior to Penguin, small business owners could get by with a few testimonials and some background info. Now higher search rankings lie in creating strong blogs and a steady flow of valuable content through social media, Kennedy says. Companies with ripped off or spammy content and links that go nowhere risk being pulled from the results altogether.
By combining well-written content, useful videos and social media, small businesses can cheaply build the link infrastructure that will drive traffic to their page and improve their rankings in the process.
“If you’re a cleaning company, it’s very easy to shoot a five minute video on a weekly basis then load it up on YouTube and run a Facebook sponsored post to promote it,” says Kennedy.
While mobile technology has made it simple to quickly upload fresh, relevant content, some brands — like online fashion retailer eLUXE — have taken it a step further by building out sophisticated editorial strategies.
eLUXE’s magazine The Luxe Life has a team of writers and editors to ensure the content is relevant to consumers.
“When we have the ability to include products from eLUXE and it’s complimentary, we do,” says Kat Peterson, publisher and vice president of business development for both sites. “But we don’t force it.”
The company started the magazine after noticing a continuous stream of emails from customers looking for lifestyle or fashion advice, and it’s paid off, garnering eLUXE’s websites over a million unique views.
“It’s a lot harder to convert someone to shop then it is to read, but because we have an audience of shoppers it’s a really easy conversion,” says Peterson, who had previously worked at Flare and Chatelaine. “If you don’t feel your customers will benefit from that or they haven’t reached out looking for more information then it may be for naught.”
The cost of outsourcing original content ranges from a couple hundred dollars a month for a few blog posts to $5000 for full service social media community building and blogging.
“You could hire an entry level employee to do it or for a similar price hire a company with a team,” adds Kennedy. “These are new ways to build trust and recognition in your industry without doing the hard sell.”