If you’re a small business owner, you know two things to be true: you need more customers, and marketing is expensive.
Just a few years ago, it was totally possible to attract more customers to your business with a post or two on Facebook.
Today, it takes a lot more.
Fortunately, content marketing is still one of the most cost-effective methods for promoting your small business. And today, I’m going to show you 9 great content marketing examples for small businesses.
Let’s take a look!
1. Eric Cressey: Use your blog to attract customers and build relationships
Let’s start off strong! And by that I mean: it’s time for content cardio.
Unlike other fitness coaches who focus on social media #fitnessgoals, Eric Cressey started a highly-specific blog that offers in-depth fitness guides.
This is pretty smart because of two reasons:
- Search engines like Google prefer long-form content: top 10 search engine results usually contain around 2,000 words
- If you showcase your expertise through in-depth content, your leads will be more likely to trust you, and buy from you
One thing that’s working out particularly well for Cressey is the fact that he leverages his expertise, and talks about his own experiences.
This is the main difference between blogs that attract customers, and blogs that don’t do the trick: regular blogs talk about general best practices.
Great blogs talk about the practices you know to be effective.
How to create a great blog for your small business
The first step is to find the topics your (potential) customers are interested in.
You can ask for their feedback directly, or you can simply conduct keyword research. It’s going to show you how often customers search for topics, as well as the wording they use to find answers.
Then, outline your article. The more comprehensive it is, the better!
If your prospects find all the answers they need on your blog, they won’t return to the SERPs (search engine results pages). This is going to make them happy, as well as show search engines that your pages are great.
Make sure you use your own references and case studies, if you have them. If not, anecdotes and stories will work just as well.
From there, you have two options:
- Write the article yourself
- Hire someone to do it for you
Personally, I prefer the second option.
You’ve already got so much on your plate and fortunately, content writing doesn't have to be that expensive.
If you sign up for ContentFly, you’ll get 4,000 words every month for just $250.
This covers your basic content marketing and SEO needs.
And since you’ll get a writer who specializes in your niche, your content will establish your authority. You can easily upload your own content outline, explain the specifics, and you’ll get your article in a few days!
2. Monetate: Stand out from the crowd with your content
When I first landed on Monetate’s website, I looked like a deer in front of the headlights. I had no clue what was going on.
But then I read their blog and felt that: “Ohh, so that’s what’s up!” moment.
Monetate actually deals in big data, business intelligence, and personalization at scale. They’re not your garden variety small business - they’re not small anymore, anyway.
However, their content marketing works great for SMBs.
Instead of other companies who really like using big words, Monetate clearly and easily explains what they do, and how it benefits their customers.
They often explain big concepts in a clear and humorous way through their blog articles.
How to find your brand voice
If you’re a small business, you’ve got to find a smart way to stand out in the market.
Sometimes, the easiest way to do it is by crafting a unique brand voice, or simply using your own.
Have a penchant for humor?
Leverage it, and come up with crafty ways to explain concepts your customers are interested in.
If you’re not sure how to get started, check out this brand archetype quiz.
Brand archetypes are the really fun part of your (content) marketing. By envisioning your business as a person that behaves in a certain way, you can create guidelines (from visuals, to content formats and styles) that will help your leads and customers relate to your business on a personal level.
The ultimate goal has always been to become your customer’s best friend, and using brand archetypes is a great way to get there.
3. TechWyse: Repurpose your content to reach more customers
One of the key misconceptions I’ve noticed people have is that producing one piece of content means calling it a day.
But, just as TechWyse found out after publishing an immensely helpful website launch checklist, you can easily repurpose your content to reach even more people.
After seeing that leads and customers really liked the article, they didn’t stop at the blog post. Instead, they turned their article into a SlideShare presentation (they always rank well in SERPs):
Suddenly, they could also reach people who’d rather check out SlideShare presentations than read articles.
And since they already had the information at hand, it didn’t take them long to repurpose their content and create two marketing materials out of one.
Here’s the thing: you don’t have to work hard. You just have to work smart. And if you want a serious content marketing boost, create in-depth articles, and then turn them into different materials.
How to repurpose content
Let’s say you get your ContentFly article and publish it to your blog.
Yeah, you’ll definitely get plenty of hits from search engines.
But what if there are new leads out there who use social media more than Google Search?
What if some of them are visual types who get their information from Pinterest?
You repurpose what you have, creating extra value:
Turn blog posts into infographics with Canva.
From there, you can share them on social media such as:
You’ll get plenty of templates, and Canva is free to use (without watermarks).
You can also turn your article into a video with Lumen5.
Another free online tool that helps you repurpose your content, Lumen5 is a video editor that can automatically turn your written content into a video. Thank you, AI!
From there, it’s simple to upload it to YouTube, TikTok, Vimeo, or social media.
You can even create explainer videos!
Other things you can do with the content you already have (especially if it’s comprehensive) include:
- Create Twitter threads with the most important takeaways
- Create quizzes and worksheets
- Create SlideShare presentations, just like TechWyse
- Repost your answers to Quora and Reddit
- Turn it into a podcast
- Create an eBook or a case study (great for lead generation as a lead magnet, too!)
- Mentioned plenty of statistics? Create a separate social media post or infographic for them
Of course, there’s always the option of turning your in-depth article into dozens of social media posts, with each post covering a specific section from your article.
All in all, repurposing content is one of my favorite content marketing tips.
If you’re a small business owner, you should make the most out of the content you already have - especially if it’s already working great and your leads love it.
4. Strolleria: Make your content marketing and your sales funnel work together
Content plays a really important part in your sales funnel:
l First-time visitors can get the answers they were looking for
l Leads can get specific advice through lead magnets that help them with their unique needs
l Repeat customers can get even more value out of your products with detailed case studies and how-to guides
All in all, there’s a content type for every stage of the funnel!
But what I personally liked the most about Strolleria, baby stroller providers, is the fact that they invite their visitors to turn into leads by taking a quiz, and then receiving personalized recommendations.
Pay attention how Strolleria targets different types of prospects:
- Top of the funnel prospects (people aware of their problems and looking for solutions) - Social media and blog posts explaining everything new parents need to know about strollers
- Middle of the funnel prospects (leads still on the fence) - Personalized recommendations after taking the quiz
- Bottom of the funnel prospects (leads who are picking the best product) - Product comparisons, stroller buying guides, and more
Coincidentally, your bottom of the funnel prospects are going to be the easiest ones to convert because they’re already looking for products like yours.
So all you have to do is offer them enough reasons to choose you over your competitors.
Content marketing funnel template
Let’s keep it simple, okay? Content marketing really doesn’t have to be hard.
Here’s how you’re going to attract and convert prospects in different sales funnel stages:
1. Attract first-time visitors by creating blog posts that correspond to frequently asked questions.
Think about it: what might someone who needs your service/product look up on Google?
If you’re not sure, use Answer The Public.
For example, since we do content marketing, I plugged that term into Answer The Public and here’s what I got:
You’ll get hundreds of suggestions, and I’m not exaggerating. Answer The Public generates all the common questions.
Then you can simply group them into contextually appropriate topics, and create in-depth articles.
Once searchers land on your page and find all the information they need, they’ll be more likely to fill out your lead gen form, and move on to buy from you.
2. Attract middle-of-the-funnel prospects and move leads off the fence by creating:
- Case studies for specific types of customers
- Email marketing materials
- How-to guides and educational resources
This way, it’s much easier for specific customers to know what they can expect, and how we can help them with their own goals.
3. If you want to attract people who are already looking for a solution like yours, you’ll need content such as:
- Comparison reviews
- Buyer’s guides
It’d be awesome if you can also get them to sign up for your mailing list (offer a lead magnet). It gives you another (affordable) shot at reaching them if they don’t convert during their first visit.
From there, you can easily send them more resources, case studies, and testimonials proving how you’re going to give them the most bang for their buck!
At the end of the day, if you organize your content marketing to cover all three types of customers, you’ll be golden!
5. Movoto: Create (actually) interesting content
Have you ever wondered how to wrap your house in bacon? Or maybe got to calculating how much Hogwarts would be worth in the current real estate market?
Maybe you haven’t, but Movoto, a real estate company, has.
And they used their premises to actually create content that answers questions such as:
- Post: How much would Barbie’s Malibu house cost?
- Infographic: How to wrap your house in bacon
- Quiz: Which Breaking Bad house should you live in?
They went viral. Several times.
It’s no wonder; people like interesting takes on normally stuffy or mundane topics.
Who’d have thought that an industry like real estate could be this fun?
But once you make it so, you can bet your content marketing will generate plenty of leads for you, especially if you use those funny posts to educate your audience (e.g. Motovo actually explained what factors into the value of a property).
How to create interesting content
Have you ever used a metaphor or an analogy to explain what you do, to kids or grown-ups?
For example, I often tell my nephews that I write stories for business people.
It makes for an interesting way to explain what I do since kids know content only in the form of stories and cartoons. And it’s not that far off; content often includes storytelling.
So after you’ve found your metaphor, run wild with it.
Maybe you offer email marketing services. Why not create social media posts in which you rewrite famous letters?
Are you a doctor? Answer the questions about the issues Doctor House of House MD diagnosed, and which coincide with your specialty.
For example, the SparkNotes team often create content around traditional characters, and how they would behave in the modern world.
(Hint: Hamlet is still a crybaby.)
Napkin Finance explains core finance concepts on actual napkins.
Keep an open mind and childlike curiosity about you when you’re coming up with these ideas. If all else fails, find the nearest kid in your family and ask them how they’d explain what you do.
Sometimes they really know better. ;)
6. Old World Inn: Use message boards to promote your business
When we think of content, we normally think of blog posts and videos. But content is a lot more, including replies to your prospects’ questions.
For example, Old World Inn, a Napa Valley B&B, often use TripAdvisor message boards to connect with their potential customers.
They respond to questions that aren’t strictly related to Napa Valley accommodations. However, once customers spot them in the message boards, they’ll be more likely to click through as the owners have already given leads a reason to trust them.
How to promote your business on sites like Quora and Reddit
I already mentioned repurposing your longer content as message board replies. But you can also check them periodically, and write comprehensive answers that show your subject authority.
Where can you do that?
Firstly, you can use Reddit.
It’s a public forum organized into communities (subreddits) for specific interests. For example, you’ll see small business owners, gamers, people who like to sew, and more.
The key is not to promote yourself from the get-go. Instead, be as helpful as possible, and answer questions.
And if it’s appropriate, you can link to a longer blog post where you explain the answer in greater depth.
Secondly, you can use Quora.
Quora is often prominent in search engine results pages when you look up a question.
So if your lead looks up a question related to your industry, you can bet that Quora will pop up in there.
And if they click through, they should see you right there in the replies, explaining everything with anecdotes, hard proof, and a little style.
IndieHackers is the perfect place if you offer any kind of services or products related to business growth.
It’s a community of entrepreneurs and early-stage startup founders (although there are some who’ve reached $1mil+ in monthly revenue already), and it’s organized into topic groups:
- Community building
You can easily follow all the groups you care about and, with enough participation, you’ll soon become a recognizable member of the community. Everyone’s also very helpful and they don’t mind self-promotion.
Similarly, you can use Facebook Groups, or LinkedIn Groups if you’re in B2B.
Depending on your industry, you probably have other message boards at your disposal. The more specific and active they are, the better.
If all else fails, you’ll definitely find something for yourself on Reddit, Quora, and Facebook/LinkedIn Groups.
Finally, you can also “mine” these message boards and social media for new content ideas, as well as audience research.
Your customers know exactly what they need, so keep a finger on that pulse point by participating and regularly checking out relevant threads.
7. Glossier: The magic of user-generated content
Release some of the content marketing pressure by sourcing content from your customers, i.e. using user-generated content (UGC).
For example, Glossier social media managers use their customers’ tweets, images, and other forms of content to boost their social media presence.
Yes, they’re definitely a big brand so getting UGC isn’t a problem, but you can get there, too!
How to get user-generated content
This is where having a properly-segmented mailing list really helps. You can easily single out loyal customers who will be more than willing to help you out.
If you have a product, getting UGC is pretty easy.
Ask your customers to drop a review, or take a photo of your product. Make sure you also have a specific hashtag that your customers can use to post content related to your brand.
Some brick and mortar businesses have also found that adding a notice helped them generate more UGC:
Of course, your user-generated content should primarily be about your customers, and how your products help them feel better.
You can even launch a contest or a giveaway to help you get more UGC.
If you’re offering services... well, in that case, it might be best to post smiling photos of your customers, subtly hinting in captions how your service factored into their happiness.
For example, if you own a real estate business, you’d likely post UGC of happy families settling into their new homes.
You can also share testimonials, or interview your customers. Interviews work great for blogs, but you can grab quotes from longer pieces, and then feature them on your social media, as well.
Finally, UGC doesn’t just relieve you of the pressure to constantly create content for social media. It also engages and offers social proof to potential customers.
Don’t trust me - trust the data: 84% of people trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations.
8. Superdrug: Newsjack a popular topic and get a visibility boost
In 2015, Superdrug, a health and beauty company, launched a campaign: “Perceptions of Perfection Across Borders,” in which they asked Photoshop whizzes to photoshop the image of a woman to fit their country’s beauty standards.
Around that time, the world was waking up to the idea that there’s no such thing as a perfect body, so confidence and body image were pretty popular topics.
Superdrug simply hopped on the bandwagon with their content campaign.
In marketing, this practice is called newsjacking: you find a popular topic, and offer your two cents on it.
Newsjacking has two benefits:
- You’re getting publicity (and leads) by covering a trending topic while your competitors are sleeping
- You’re showing your customers that you are keeping up with trends (even if they’re not related to your industry)
It’s also a great way to improve your search engine rankings quickly and effectively, even if you don’t have a lot of backlinks.
How to newsjack and get leads with your content
First, know your topic:
Is the topic even interesting to your potential customers?
For example, there’s not much sense in covering an economics update if your target audience are gamers (unless you’re going to be creative about it).
Then, make sure you check that topic with Google Trends to see if there’s a buzz around it.
Secondly, know your timing:
As the infographic above illustrates, you have to strike the iron while it’s hot.
Normally, this means you have to be quicker than your competitors, and more creative than them.
I’ll be honest: creating content for newsjacking can be exhausting. But if you do it creatively, you don’t even have to spend a lot of time. Alternatively, you could cover a new concept in depth by hiring a ContentFly writer to write your article for you.
You’ll get it super fast, so you’ll be ahead of the game.
Thirdly, establish thought authority, especially if the topic is your area of expertise.
For example, if you’re a SEO, it makes sense to cover Google algorithm updates. And if you want to show that you’ve been in the game for a long time and you know your stuff, you can reference your experience.
9. Zendesk: Stand out in the SERPs
Zendesk is so sure of their product’s value that, once they noticed people were looking for alternatives to their product, they decided to create a page targeting “Zendesk alternative.”
Presenting: Zendesk Alternative!
Their kooky little page became one of the first few results in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for the “Zendesk alternative” keyword soon enough. They’re at spot #3 even today.
They actually presented themselves as an alt rock band with lyrics such as:
Now, I’m not saying you should present your business as a band. But your content can stand out in the SERPs.
How to make searchers actually click
First things first: you need great content. But you can take care of that with ContentFly.
The second thing is optimizing your content.
Look up your target keywords and pay attention to prominent results, including Featured Snippets. What kind of results are you seeing?
For example, if you’re seeing a lot of listicles, you’re going to need a listicle even more comprehensive than the one currently featured as a Featured Snippet.
Similarly, if you're targeting keywords about statistics and data, format your content into tables.
You can also optimize for “People Also Ask” sections by answering frequently asked questions clearly in your content. Make your heading the question, and offer your answer in the next paragraph.
Finally, there’s this little trick that not many businesses are using: Schema and structured data.
Schema markup is a set of specific codes for all kinds of businesses and different types of content. They're used to explain your content to search engine bots. And once bots pick up what you're putting down, they're going to make sure searchers do the same.
All you have to do is visit the Schema website, find the right industry, and take a lot at the codes that might describe your content and your business.
Then, you can simply add them to your content with a plug-in (or ask your resident tech whiz to help you out).
If you use Schema, you’ll be signaling to Google what your content really is.
Consequently, your pages in the search engine results will be more prominent; they’ll be displayed as images, videos, include ratings, work hours, and a lot more!
One of the most popular Schema examples are definitely recipes. If you're posting recipes, you can pick from codes such as "Ingredients," "Cooking time," images, and more.
Are you ready for some content magic?
I know, when you’re a small business owner, you can’t easily compete with the bigwigs.
But you don’t even have to.
All it takes is a little elbow grease, and a few tricks up your sleeve.
You’ve got this!
(And your friends at ContentFly have got your back.)