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Is content marketing relevant for small businesses?

Despite having links back to 4200 BC, the term “content marketing” was only coined in 1996 by John F. Oppendahl at a roundtable discussion during the American Society for Newspaper Editors’ conference. And since then, it’s been a growing feature of the marketing landscape.


But, should small businesses give it the time of day?


As a small business, you can’t waste your time on fads that will drain your resources. So, in this blog post, we’ll take a look at what content marketing is and whether it’s relevant for small businesses.


A man sat at a desk with headphones on speaking into a microphone whilst looking at a computer screen.

What is content marketing?


The term “content marketing” is quite self-explanatory. It’s using content as part of your marketing. However, a more dictionary-style definition we’ve used before is “the creation and sharing of material that aims to create interest in a brand, product or service without explicitly promoting it”. The key point is that there’s no direct sales pitch included. It’s about using content as a vehicle to build a long-term relationship with the customer.


Is content marketing relevant for small businesses?


As with most of marketing, there is no right answer. For each business, the answer to this question will be different. And that’s down to context, which only you will know best.


So, below, we will look at the pros and cons of content marketing for small businesses. Then, you can use that information to make an informed decision.



Builds relationships


Due to economies of scale, the big boys are going to win based on price nine times out of ten. So small businesses need to give the customer other reasons to choose them.


One of the key ways to do that is to build relationships with them.


If you produce content that brings value to your audience, whether that’s because it educates, entertains, inspires, or engages them in a different way, you will slowly build a connection with them.


This connection is part of what is called brand equity. This is essentially the ability of a brand to charge more than a generic equivalent. For example, people pay more for a pair of trainers if they are made by Nike than they would if they weren’t, even if they were identical in every other way.


So, by using content to build relationships, and as a result brand equity, you can avoid price wars with big corporations.


Endless opportunities


Maybe endless is a slight exaggeration. But content marketing offers so many opportunities to engage your audience.


If you are product, service or even price-focused, there is a limit to how many times you can say the same thing. Also, you’ll be too fixated on the end goal of making a sale.


On the other hand, if you focus on content, there are so many different ways to engage your audience.


There are two challenges you need to overcome to unlock these “endless” opportunities, though.


  1. Forget about selling – whilst this is in your mind, you’ll limit the scope of what you can create.

  2. Look beyond the obvious – sometimes brands get stuck doing the same thing over and over. Look at what you and your competitors are already doing and think about how you could tweak that to make it even better.


Another point to note here is that the many opportunities content marketing provides are not limited to new ideas, it also relates to repurposing those ideas.


For example, if you were to deliver a webinar, you could record it. Then the recording could be reworked into shorter clips for socials. The webinar could also be transcribed for a blog. The key points of which could be shared in a newsletter with a link to the blog. These key points could be made into graphics and used as part of a carousel on social media. The list goes on and on.




Good content can last a lifetime.


Yes, some content will be time-sensitive. But much of it won’t be. Which means it can be used time and time again. And even if you don’t use it again, it might be discovered many years later.


This means that the impact of the content you create is compounding. Everything you create today could still play a role several years down the line if done correctly.


For example, you might create a “how-to” blog which shares the solution for fixing a commonly occurring issue that relates to your industry. Years later, someone could have that same issue and discover your brand even though you’ve not touched that blog since.


Two men sat at a desk with open notebooks and a laptop. They are looking at a booklet which one man has opened.





One of the biggest challenges small businesses have is that there isn’t enough time in the day to complete all the tasks on the to-do list.


So, adding a bunch of content that needs to be crafted bespoke for the brand to that list might not be the best idea. Especially, when you consider that to get the most out of your content, you will want to repurpose it too.


Now there are tools out there that can help you (Yes, we’re talking about AI). However, we believe that content marketing always performs better if it’s crafted specifically for the business in question with the input of the people who know it best.


It’s also worth noting here that content marketing is a long-term play. It’s unlikely to deliver remarkable short-term results, so you have to be prepared to wait.




Depending on what you want to create, content marketing can be quite resource-intensive. For example, getting a member of the team to write a monthly blog is going to cost less than producing a weekly podcast which is recorded, filmed and edited by an external team.


As we mentioned earlier, there are so many opportunities when it comes to content marketing. But executing on them all is a tough task, especially when it comes to money.


As a small business, we understand that you will continuously be making decisions about how best to allocate resources. And, at the end of the day, delivering your product or service at the highest quality possible is your priority. Not making a podcast.




Consistency can be interpreted in two ways. There’s consistency in terms of quality and consistency in terms of frequency of output. Both of which are massively impacted by the two points raised above.


Obviously, you’ll want the quality of your content to reflect positively on your brand. So, if you don’t have the time and resources to do that, it might not be a good idea.


Also, if you’re producing something that is time-sensitive or promised as a regular feature (e.g. monthly newsletter), you have to make sure you’re able to meet that commitment. Because, again, if you don’t, it will reflect badly on the brand. In many cases, it is better not to have committed than to commit and fail to deliver.


Wrapping up


We believe that content marketing has a positive role to play in businesses of all sizes. But as we’ve explored in that last section, there are things to consider before investing in it.


Ultimately, the decision about whether it is relevant for your small business is a decision only you can make.


If you’re interested in learning more about the concept, we have lots of other blogs on the topic, including a post which dives deeper into what content marketing is and how other brands have used it.


If you’re considering utilising content marketing for your business, but not sure where to start with it all, please do reach out to us. We’d be happy to have a chat over a coffee and provide some pointers with no obligation to sign up for anything long-term.


Until next time, thanks for reading.


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