Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Amazing Content For Small Businesses: What Does It Really Look Like?
It's easy to get discouraged when every example of quality content is produced by professionals paid big bucks by brands. Columnist Julie Joyce urges you not to despair and shines a light on a fantastic piece of small-business-produced content.
We’re often told to create amazing content because it will naturally benefit us and bring us social shares, new customers, increased visibility, links and more. However, much of the amazing content that gets noticed and mentioned in analyses is from big brands that have the money and resources to hire a pro.
While that’s definitely helpful for anyone who wants to learn more, sometimes it’s nice to look at content that’s created by someone who isn’t a professional content creator and who made it simply to create something useful, rather than for a sales or rankings-driven motive.
Content At Its Best
Let’s take a look at a local small business article that, in my opinion, is everything it should be.
I found this piece when I was looking for a nice swimming hole near Boone for my own vacation, and since I’m a jaded marketer who understands that the top results aren’t always the most relevant, I didn’t even click on this article first. Lesson learned.
This article ranks number one for “swimming holes Boone” and “swimming holes Blowing Rock,” and probably many other searches that I haven’t tried. It also offers the total package, with text, images and a map.
Each swimming hole brief links to its own page that again has text, images and a map with more specific information about each hole.
So in creating content about this one awesome topic, the real estate agent has been able to create 11 awesome articles. It’s also evergreen content that can be updated if anything changes (like new routes to each swimming hole). And look down at the last comment, and you’ll see that someone is asking if the author could create something else about the area.
“Would you be willing to write one about the top 10 places to tube and canoe without having to go through a company like Wahoo’s [a local outfitter]?”
It’s pretty cool when a reader helps you generate more content ideas isn’t it? I’d say that’s pretty amazing, speaking as someone who is always trying to come up with new ideas for my own content.
How This Article Came About
I looked up the author of this article and found that he works for the company, Boone Real Estate, and is the owner’s son, so I thought I’d reach out and ask a few questions to get a better understanding of how this article came to be.
Here is a quick summary:
- The article was created mainly as a way to put together information that the creator was giving people anyway. As a native of the area and a realtor, it just made sense for him to create something and give out the URL rather than continue to talk people through where to go.
- Matt (the creator) did this all on his own, over the course of a few months. There was no keyword research or intense marketing analysis done for the piece; again, it was just done because he knew it was useful information.
- Matt did realize the branding potential for a piece like this and was keen on having the company’s brand associated with outdoor living and community helpfulness.
- He did not expect that it would drive sales and send them tons of potential home buyers, but he did realize that down the line, someone who’d seen the piece and decided to buy a house in Boone might remember the site and contact them. (I love it when people don’t think of immediate rewards.)
This is the kind of authentic content that I think really works well. As I said, it wasn’t created to specifically and immediately have a benefit to the business. It was created to help people.
As you can probably tell, I really did love this article. It’s genuine, and I think that comes across very well. I really love the fact that it was produced by someone associated with the business. I’m not making that statement to say that you shouldn’t hire professional content creators, because in many cases, you probably should.
I say it because not everyone can do that. I say it because I think that with enough passion for what they’re writing about, most people can convey what they want to convey.
A Fantastic Blueprint For Local Businesses
If you’re in the position of not being able to hire someone to help with content, I think this article is a great blueprint. Here are the elements to look for when exploring topics for your own business:
- It uses text and images. I like to see words on a page. It’s easier for me to read step-by-step directions on how to get somewhere than it is to read a map. I do like to see photos of places, of course, but I am still mostly drawn to words. I like that this covers all the bases with text, photos and maps.
- It’s an evergreen topic, as I said earlier. Unless something drastic changes, these swimming holes are going to be around years from now.
- It’s expandable. I could see a follow-up piece featuring videos of each swimming hole. I could see a piece where Boone residents talk about lesser-known swimming holes. And don’t forget that comment asking for a follow-up on tubing and canoeing.
I really do think that creating useful content is something that isn’t beyond the grasp of most people. As I said, I’m not saying you shouldn’t hire a professional. I’m simply pointing out that with the right mindset, most business owners really do have the tools to put something out there that’s beneficial to their own branding and community reputation and also to their current and potential audiences.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.