Making the Most of Content for Small Business

Scott Rogerson

Search engine algorithms no longer go by keywords alone. You need content on your site that's engaging, authoritative, and fresh. Finding the right mix of content, and balancing the need for content with available hours can be difficult for small businesses. Yet content is such an important part of driving traffic to your site and showcasing your skills and knowledge that ignoring it would be a mistake. In this post, we'll break down how a small business owner with limited time can make the most of their content strategy.

The Many Roles of Content

The first thing to understand is the role that content plays on your website. Or, more accurately, the roles it plays. You should think of each piece of content as serving one of three main goals. Each of these goals serves a purpose to the health of your site, and approaching content in this way make it much easier to plan out your posting schedule.

  1. Hero — Your hero content is made up of the big pieces that you write. These form the tent poles of your website and are designed to be relatively evergreen, in-depth pieces that visitors can discover and get something out of long after it's written.
  2. Hub — A step-down from hero content, hub content is your more regular postings. Although the posting are coming regularly, they aren't coming so fast that you run out of things to say, or time to say them in. This means that your hub content is still capable of bringing meaningful information to your visitors written in your brand's voice.
  3. Hygiene — Hygiene content is the content that keeps your page fresh. It's the most frequently updated content, and often the least evergreen of your content. The goal of hygiene content is to drive people to your site. Of course, it should still be interesting, otherwise you'll leave your new visitors with a bad impression.

Where Curated Content Fits In

In order for a content marketing strategy to be effective, you need to have a steady stream of hygiene content. However, creating this content all on your own is difficult for a small business. Since hygiene content is all about bringing visitors in and keeping them engaged, it doesn't matter if it's in our voice. This makes your hygiene content the perfect place for curated content. Now, your content is serving its hygiene role, but it's also bringing with it the benefits of content curation.

"There's an interesting quote we're hearing it over and over again. We do a lot around social selling use cases, employee advocacy use cases, and we've heard, 'I don't care where the article comes from or where the content comes from as long as it's good.'" - Scott Rogerson, CEO UpContent

The Ideal Curation Strategy

If you just slap an RSS feed from popular related blogs onto yours, you aren't getting the benefits of curated content. We'll go into greater detail about those benefits later, but for now let's discuss the idea content curation strategy. With these tips in place, your content curation will look more like a museum exhibit than a flea market.

  • Post Only Relevant Articles — One of the biggest problems with only throwing up an RSS feed is that not everything the other blog posts will be of interest to your visitors or relevant to your field of work. The first step of content curation, then, is to actually curate the content. Be selective about what is posted and where.
  • Add Your Own Perspective — The other big problem with an RSS feed alone is that you're only promoting the owner of the feed. Curated content should instead be used as a launching board for your own thoughts. This doesn't mean you write an entire article; that would defeat the purpose of content curation! Rather, a few sentences explaining why you are sharing the piece will help your visitors understand its content and your personality better.
  • Validate Your Authority — Google likes pages that link to authoritative sites because it wants its users to find search results that will also be authoritative. But search engines aren't alone in that. If you say something frequently on your site and are able to link to other people who are saying similar things, it helps to bolster your own credibility in your field.
  • Invite Other Employees to Help — Consider which of your employees would make good candidates to help select content. Certainly the owner and any communications staff you have are key choices. But so are customer success or support staff, who have a close relationship with your customers and know the type of content they would enjoy or benefit from.

The Benefits of Content Curation

Now let's take a deep look at why you'd want to use content curation. Some of the major benefits have already been given, but only by understanding the full breadth of what content curation offers can you make the most use of it.

  • Lets Writers Focus on Important Topics — The writers you have on your team want to be able to write things they are going to be passionate about. Hygiene content, due to the frequency with which its required, doesn't always fill that need. Unless you have a full-time writing staff, the people doing the writing for your will get burned out and lose motivation if they must create all the content themselves.
  • Drives New Traffic to the Website — The rise of content marketing means that you need to have meaningful content on your site that's updated frequently if you are going to do well in the SEO game. Content curation allows you to put enough material on your site to keep visitors coming in even when you aren't producing content yourself by giving search engines more SEO worthy content to index.
  • Keeps Existing Readers Interested — The biggest point of branding is to make your brand memorable. You don't want people to forget that you exist. The additional content that curation allows you to put up will keep your existing visitors coming back to the site, which in turn keeps your business fresh in their mind.
  • Showcases the Value of Your Brand — If you're following the content curation best practices we listed above, then you're also adding a little bit of personalization to the content you post. This is the perfect opportunity to show visitors to your site that you are engaged in your industry, are staying abreast of the latest developments, and have important thoughts to share on those developments.
  • Reflects the Health of Your Business — How often have you visited a site only to discover that none of the content had been updated in a while? When that happens, it likely gave you the impression that the company isn't very active. If the last update was a very long time ago, visitors may even wonder if the company is still in business. Keeping fresh content placed on the site is a way of letting visitors know that you are still very much an active part of your industry.

The Added Benefits of UpContent

Manual content curation certainly brings you many benefits, but it can still be a time-consuming task, and doing things manually doesn't always provide the best results. UpContent is a content curation service, and is therefore designed from the ground up to make finding and posting content on your site something you can do easily from a single location rather than spending hours searching the internet.

  1. Save Time and Money — Content curation saves you money in several ways. The extra SEO you'll get from a good content strategy will bring in more organic traffic and reduce your advertising budget. It will allow you to post very frequently without having to pay a writer to create the content for you or take time out of your day to do it yourself. All of this is amplified with UpContent, which makes finding curated content easier.
  2. Automated Workflows - UpContent already saves you a fair amount of time by centralizing your content curation into a singular interface, but its automated workflows wil further save you time. The best results will come with some human input into what gets posted, but UpContent's automation tools will let you decide how much work humans put into your content strategy.
  3. Find More Obscure Content — The longest part of manual content curation is finding interesting things to post. The problem is that a lot of the stuff you find will be the type of stuff that everyone else is sharing or news that everyone else has heard. Finding lesser known, and more interesting, content requires more time out of your day. Unless you use a service like UpContent that puts all that information in front of you with an easy-to-use interface.
  4. Shutterstock Integration - A good picture to match your posts is also an important part of modern content creation. But getting the rights to use images can be tedious and confusing. Sometimes, photographers have been known to revoke rights after an image has been used, causing undue headache all around. That's why UpContent integrated Shutterstock, so you can quickly find an image that matches both the content you'll be sharing and your own brand personality.

Watch the whole conversation

This piece was inspired by a conversation UpContent CEO, Scott Rogerson had with expert relationship marketer, Bridget Willard.

Image Credit: "Evening Read" by ShardsOfBlue is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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