Does Your Small Business' Content Have Legs?

There's no doubt that content is a crucial component of your business. How can you make sure you're getting the most out of your strategy?

BY: BRENT BARNHART ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 06, 2013
Does Your Small Business' Content Have Legs?

We love to share content.

I mean, we as a society. The “social network” didn't get it's name by accident. Considering how much content gets shared online in a matter of seconds, it's no secret that we've evolved as both consumers and producers of content. The numbers don't lie:

1. 41,000 posts on Facebook are made every second (and 1.8 million “Likes” per minute)
2. 278,000 tweets per minute
3. 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute

These are big numbers, sure. But what does it mean for small businesses?

In an on-going quest for a stronger web presence and more followers, businesses want their content to be read and shared on a regular basis. Most SMBs have enough trouble as it is simply producing content, let alone making sure that's it's being shared on a larger scale.

Ask yourself; is your business' content worth sharing?

Not every piece of content is going to be a blockbuster story; however, with some attention to detail and a bit of creativity, you can greatly increase your chances of getting shared across the social channels.

You are the News

We strive to be what people want to read about. This is easier said than done, especially when your business is in a less-than-thrilling field (think: carpet cleaning). True, not all businesses have the luxury of being a groundbreaking tech start-up or Internet sensation. In fact, most businesses lack such a luxury and therefore hit a brick wall when it comes to content. Regardless, it's our responsibility to get our content shared despite of our industry, as we all have niches and a potential audience somewhere (either big or small).

How do you become "news" to your readers? By being topical. One of the easiest ways to do so is by producing topical content through newsjacking.

Newsjacking is a process in which a business or brand piggybacks their content off a topical or current event. For example, immediately following the MTV Video Music Awards, it was difficult not to bump into a site that wasn't somehow talking about Justin Timberlake or Miley Cyrus. From branding blogs to marketing advice and politics, a flurry of celebrity-related articles came through in an attempt to capitalize on the buzz of the VMAs. Opportunities for newsjacking may seem few and far between; however, awareness of current events or something as simple as a trending topic on Twitter may provide ideas for worthwhile newsjacking.

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the concept of having something "new" or "newsworthy" is daunting. Completely understandable. Sometimes creating "news" yourself involves putting a new spin on a seemingly ordinary topic. If you've made a significant discovery or have insight you choose to share with your followers, do so by all means. It may not seem as exciting as newsjacking, but oftentimes the most important buzz is that which we create for ourselves.

Regardless of how you decide to produce topical content, ensure that you're giving readers what they want. You should be aware of what your audience and industry are all about, so put such followers first and foremost when you craft your content.

Go Green

We put a lot of time and resources into our content, both human and financial. Shouldn't we get the most out of it?

This is where evergreen content comes into play.

Evergreen content represents content that is essentially timeless. Such content could have been written five years ago but still remains relevant today. Almost the antithesis of newsjacked content, evergreen content has a long shelf-life and usually offers unique insight or value to its readers. Producing such content isn't always easy, yet allows for opportunities to be repackaged and shared over and over again. Common examples of evergreen content include how-to guides, lists or purely informational or historical pieces.

What makes a piece of content "evergreen?"

  • Evergreen content does not rely on dates or references to current, topical events (elections, celebrities, cutting-edge technology)
  • Evergreen content can be shared again and again without being updated
  • Evergreen content relies on research and substance rather than "breaking news"

Evergreen content is also powerful from an SEO perspective and represents a prime way to develop lasting, keyword rich content for your industry. While such content may not "pop" as much as something topical, evergreen pieces should supplement your content strategy as you attempt to establish your business and its search marketing efforts.

Is Your Content Easy to Digest?

Content itself is important. The format of your content is arguably just as important, especially if you're looking for shares.

Your content needs to catch the eye of its readers. It needs to be easy to read and share, plain and simple. Let's get a bit meta here and consider how each piece of content should:

  • Be broken up by headlines, lists or bullets (like this one!)
  • Include a title that piques the interest of the reader (ask questions, be controversial)
  • Feature some sort of image or visual (catch their eye)

All of the above may not seem so obvious when it comes to shares, but each helps encourage sharing on a more subconscious level.

Speaking of sharing, also consider how your content may be shared across different social sites. For example, you're going to consider different snippets or blurbs for Facebook versus Twitter. Meanwhile, content for Tumblr or Pinterest would be better suited as an image or infographic. Not all content is created equally and this should be taken into consideration whenever you're producing.

The Bottom Line

Developing lasting, share-friendly content may seem daunting; however, adapting to the social nature of the modern is crucial for today's small businesses. Don't let your content get left behind. Instead, take the steps to make your content conducive to sharing and learn over time what content works and what doesn't.

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a freelance content writer specializing in topics such as Internet marketing and content marketing for small businesses. His goal is to help business owners find their voices online and improve their content strategies. You can reach Brent or find out more at brentwrites.com.

Full Biography