ContentsecretsauceThrough content marketing, many businesses are opening their doors and lifting up the dark curtains, giving the world a bird’s eye view inside the operations of their organization. These transparent brands are sharing their passions and personal manifestos, introducing their employees and revealing how their products are made. Businesses are embracing transparency not as a trend but as an ethos. They are clear in their purpose and vision, have a distinct personality, and communicate like real people, not in buzzwords, jargon or marketing speak.

An Opportunity for Businesses of All Sizes

Big brands like Stonyfield Farm, Aveda and even McDonald’s are literally revealing their secret sauce, and people love them for it! In fact, McDonald’s Canada (why not the U.S. site hmmmm?) encourages consumers to ask ANY question and they will answer it right on their website!  From “How is it that a McDonald’s burger does not rot?” to “Do you use kangaroo meat in your food?” The McDonald’s Canada website is as authentic as it gets.

But megabrands aren’t the only ones embracing the transparency that content marketing offers. Small and mid-size businesses have the greatest opportunity to utilize content marketing and reveal the heart and soul of their company to build meaningful relationships with their customers.

For example, our client Expo Logic took what they’ve learned over 30 years of event management experience to compile their Top 10 Tips for Planning a Large Conference. They also have a blog filled with examples, case studies and posts from their founder with real world advice for conference planning.   Chicago-based AnimalSense, a dog training school, has a helpful blog filled with answers to “canine conundrums” from a team of training experts that any dog owner would find useful. They are empowering people to help train their dogs at home and offering valuable advice, even though they offer lots of training classes.

The Fear of Revealing Too Much

The fear of “oversharing” is a rampant concern among small and mid-size businesses that are new to embracing content marketing. We recently spoke with a client about a few blog post ideas to get more in-depth about the custom services they offer.  Right away, the founder of the company balked at the idea for fear of “giving away their secrets” to competitors.  He didn’t want any other companies in his industry to see what they are doing, give them ideas and take away clients.

He just didn’t understand that the opposite would be true. Showing all the great things the company does would promote their expertise and original innovations and establish them as the leader in their field.  As it is, they are one of the only companies in their industry creating original content and educating people about a service industry most people know nothing about.  So not only are they content pioneers in their market, they could be the dominant rulers of custom services in their field.

As Marcus Sheridan of the Sales Lion says, “If your customers have questions, it’s your duty to answer them…with utter transparency. Why not be brutally transparent with your approach to business? Why not be the voice of your industry? Why not address issues that no one else has the bravery or guts to talk about? And why not earn the trust of all those around you in the process?”

We couldn’t agree more, Marcus.

If you are a small business owner who is afraid of revealing “too much” think again.  The content you create is your stage, giving you a platform to share your expertise and knowledge to the world, becoming a resource that people will look to as a trusted authority and someone they want to do business with.  If you’re new to content marketing and want to learn more, download our free guide Content Marketing 101 to start creating content that will grow your business for the long term.