At the start of 2018 in the UK, there were 5.5 million private sector businesses. Of these, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) accounted for 99.99% of the total number and 47% of the turnover.
There are certainly lots of them, but being a small business owner in the UK is no easy task. In the battle to stay afloat, content can fall by the wayside. Firms can feel they have neither the budget nor time to invest. Content, if it’s done at all, turns into something bolted on the end of operations rather than a foundation for the whole process.
But SMEs could be missing out on a big opportunity. Content is a vital weapon in the arsenal of any business hoping to engage existing consumers and reach out for new ones.
Means and ends
SMEs have different goals from large firms, changing quickly as the company goes through stages of growth and consolidation. A content strategy that is flexible in deployment and output is essential.
Working with a small business offers content marketers the opportunity to embed themselves as essential at an early stage in the life of a company.
Small businesses are dynamic. As they grow, their strategies do too. Putting smart content at the centre early on means its importance will only grow over time – with benefits for content marketers and firms alike.
Small businesses can yield large gains. Let’s zoom in on a few key areas where the influence of content can make a difference.
Producing competition-beating content for an SME is one thing, but making sure the right people are seeing it is a different kettle of fish.
This survey by Social Media Examiner shows that 93% of small businesses have an active presence on Facebook. This might seem like a job well done but delve a little deeper and the importance of audience tailoring comes to the fore.
LinkedIn, for instance, is used by just over half of all small businesses, but is the go-to social channel for the highly engaged B2B market. Snapchat was the favoured platform of just 7% of respondents, but is disproportionately favoured by younger audiences.
It’s all about quality of reach over quantity. If you know who you’re trying to target, you can take your content reach to the next level with the click of a button. SMEs often don’t have time to think about their social strategies, but it can be a quick win.
Having established where your audience is, it’s possible to craft a much more specific profile of who they actually are. Doing so can ensure you’re generating the right content in the short term and give you a better idea of who you should be reaching out to in future.
Are you selling to CEOs or engaging with executives? Looking to persuade a reluctant buyer or a cutting-edge investor? Is the customer aiming for a quick fix or longer term ROI? All questions to ask when crafting content for small businesses still working out their target demographic.
Content can also be used to amplify the existing advantages of how small firms operate. SMEs’ proximity to clients is unrivalled, so use it. Unlike their conglomerate rivals, SMEs can create strategies based on interactivity and spin this into user-generated content.
Good technological habits
The mere mention of ‘technology’ and ‘investing’ sounds expensive. AI, VR and other high-tech bombast can be a tough financial burden for SMEs.
But technology needn’t be so scary and content marketers can use it to their advantage when working with small businesses. The key is to think of it as a mindset to enter into rather than a Goliath to conquer.
How many big firms get insight wrong simply because they’ve become stuck in their ways? Analytics is as crucial a piece of technology as any in the world of content. Content marketers working with an SME can lead the way in establishing its importance for tech-forward firms.
Wake up and SMEll the content
There’s a very simple point here – however big or small your business, putting content at the core has untold advantages. As pointed out by Progressive Content’s very own Dan Davey, this is as much about how employees communicate with each other as how firms communicate with their shareholders.
Establishing the importance of top quality content from an early stage needn’t be expensive but should be a priority for small and medium enterprises.
Tom Lawrence, Insight Manager, Progressive Content