Small to midsize businesses and startups are strategically poised to take advantage of content marketing. Successful content marketing hinges on uniqueness, and independent companies should have an abundance of originality at their disposal.
By nature, small businesses have less red tape and bureaucracy. They are nimble, agile and ripe for maneuvering past a huge corporate B2B competitor that may take months to rally approvals.
In addition, while big companies have larger budgets, they tend to lack the quirkiness, attitude and dogged spirit of independently owned, small companies and start-ups.
There’s an age-old moniker that says “it’s not about where you start, but where you finish.” This doesn’t necessarily hold true in marketing, where how a company starts is important, and starting small can be a distinct advantage. A company that is small in size, but possesses a unique culture, history and traditions has a foundation to build great brands and great content.
Below are some interesting small-medium sized companies that have taken on Goliath with successful content marketing campaigns that captured the companies’ unique ideas.
This is a great example of content marketing at work for a small company. The personal finance start-up was founded in 2006 and turned into a $170 million acquisition for Intuit in 2009. As a small business, Mint.com couldn’t easily compete with big national banks using a business-as-usual approach. With limited resources, expensive television ads were not an option. So, founder Aaron Patzer, used an alternative method. He created his own blog posts, slide shows, videos and infographics to establish himself as an expert in personal finance, and turn the company website into a must-read for consumers.
This thought leadership made Patzer’s star rise, but more importantly, it established credibility for a young company as it took on established financial institutions. By delivering relevant, useable and engaging information for his target audience, Patzer showed that Mint.com was not only a great tool for consumers, but also a place full of valuable information..
Furnace FMG is small, Virginia-based vinyl record pressing plant that used content marketing to take social media marketing by storm. Furnace takes its B2B consumers behind the scenes to actually see how the company creates create the final records. Customers are exposed to the factory operations via Furnace’s YouTube Channel, while the company earns credibility and attracts fans and new clients by sharing some of its recent pressings – titles like Eric Clapton’s “From the Cradle” and Phish’s “Fuego” — on Facebook.
Demonstrating the production process for a manufactured item and showcasing recently produced product via a conversational channel like Facebook are two simple, easy ways to demonstrate a company’s identity.
Showcasing your products via social media makes the images share-able, and also provides instant feedback on what consumers feel is cool.
Creativity and resourcefulness extends to small-midsize companies in other industries as well, such as the finance industry. The accounting firm WithumSmith+Brown created a flash mob video to ramp up excitement and enthusiasm during the intro to its annual meeting.
The video was such a success that the company later decided to post it on YouTube. It received more than 60,000 views and became a powerful tool for recruiting, distancing WithumSmith+Brown from the stereotype of the boring accounting firm by showing prospective employees a vivid, exciting workplace. YouTube feedback further reflected the company as an innovative and great place to work. Comments included:
“This is not your father’s accounting firm!”
“I’m an accounting student now. If you guys are hiring next year, I’m totally applying for a job with you guys!”
“Who say’s [sic] accountants have to be boring?”
The three examples above all showcase small companies that took different approaches to content marketing. Many top companies, such as Birchbox, Warby Parker, Sephora and Magnolia, have used content marketing to drive their rags-to-riche stories as they grow from small start-ups to multi-million dollars companies.
Small and medium-size businesses can turn themselves into thought-leaders in their space, if they make sure to:
1. Showcase the company’s expertise and talent
2. Highlight products via interesting social media promotions
3. Draw attention to the unique internal culture
When building content marketing strategies, small- and medium-sized businesses need to remember that they can be powerful despite facing off against proverbial Goliaths.