Small Business Ideas for creative content marketingContent marketing may be the way of the future, but beyond the buzzwords, what does that mean in practical terms for small businesses?

It’s not enough to just have any content. A business needs to choose the right content, and for small businesses, that may be even more of a challenge simply because they may not have access to the expertise that a big company does.

However, big business doesn’t always equal content marketing success, and small businesses may actually have a number of advantages including their flexibility and a likelihood of being part of local communities.

They can harness content strategies that play on their strengths. In this modern age, there are an abundance of both practical and technological tools out there to help you. Here are a few tips to guide you.

Make Sure the Basics are in Place

This seems obvious, but a survey of small business web pages in one’s own community will tell a different tale. Customers expect to be able to go online and see at a glance what services a business offers, what the prices are likely to be like, what’s on the menu, where the business is located and any other relevant information.

The best content on the web is unlikely to convince potential customers if they can’t get their basic questions answered with a quick perusal of the website.

Use Multimedia

Content is not just about writing posts on a blog. Photographs, videos, infographics and podcasts are all interesting ways to deliver content in addition to more familiar social network channels such as Pinterest.

Small businesses should think about ways multimedia content can benefit them. Sole operators can deliver free short webinars or online courses that deal with the work they do.

Small companies can use photos and videos to show the kind of work their employees do in the community. Such touches will make potential customers feel more connected with the business in a way that is not possible with big corporate businesses. Another useful tactic is to publish your business mission statement.

Be Personal

This is particularly helpful for sole operator businesses. Content that describes how the owner of the business or an employee of the business approached a problem simultaneously delivers valuable content to the customer and gives the business a personal face.

Call on Community

One challenge for small businesses is finding the time to create content; one solution is to have others create the content. But how is this done on a budget? Small businesses can offer space for non-competitors to write content in return for a connection. Encouraging customers to do video reviews of or testimonials for a product or service is another way to generate content.

Businesses can run a contest that offer a prize for the most creative submission and publish runners-up on the site. With a forum, almost all content is user-generated.

Finally, a small business can react to customer feedback from social media almost instantly; for example, a local bakery can ask customers what the week’s special pastry should be while a bookstore can take daily or weekly recommendations from followers online and feature them in the store.

Much can be learned from the content marketing strategies of big businesses, but small businesses can play to their own strengths for equal success.

Read more: Small Business Marketing: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know