Do Small Businesses Need to Do Content Marketing?


Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Business | Posted on 04-01-2015

Helping Heart Centered BusinessesIn my current online circles, I’ve been running into a lot of small, heart-centered business owners who are confused about how to market their offerings online. While I left my old SEO world in 2013 in part because I felt that most people finally knew all of the marketing wisdom I had to share, I now see that I was wrong. Yes, true professionals in the SEO space got it. And yes, many of the companies I had been working with who’d been marketing online for many years also got it. But it never occurred to me that there were still so many smaller and/or newer businesses coming online every day who had no clue. And sadly, there is still a lot of bad and outright wrong information everywhere.

So once again, I find myself drawn to helping them. (Who knew you can’t erase 18+ years of website marketing knowledge!)

In that spirit, yesterday I received the following comment and question:

To be honest, I’ve been pretty slow to catch on with social media. I know content marketing is a new buzz word today but as a one person team, I haven’t yet been able to prioritize marketing. I’ve been running pilots and refining the my program. I was wondering when and if I start to invest energy into content marketing, does it make sense to try to get pieces published by sites with high traffic like the Huffington Post rather than one’s own blog?

The question seems to be common one among many of my new friends, so I thought it would be valuable to share my answer here:

Getting published on high traffic sites is of course great exposure, but it’s not something one can just do because one wants to! If the Huffington Post published any and every article that anyone wanted published there, the quality of their site overall would go way down and they would no longer be a high trafficked site. They are what they are because they are highly selective with what articles they’ll publish. On the other hand, if you find other websites that will publish pretty much anyone’s content, they’re probably not a site you want to be published on. Most likely, the quality of content on a site like that would be poor and you certainly wouldn’t want to be associated with it.

Therefore when starting out, publishing awesome blog posts that come from your heart, your knowledge and your experience on your own blog, generally makes the most sense. Once people start to find it, read it and agree that it truly is awesome content, others may ask you if they can repost some of yours on their websites, or if you’d write a great article or two for them. Over time, when it’s obvious that your content is such that people love it, share it, and repost it, THEN a place like the Huffington Post might be interested in you writing a column for them. But even then, you probably need to be an author of a book or something (just guessing at that part).

​In the end, whether or not you decide to write great blog content, and whether or not you wish to market that content to those who might be interested, will depend on a few things:

  • Do you have plenty of interesting stuff to write about?​
  • Are you able to express yourself clearly and succinctly in writing?
  • Do you have the time available to write as well as get the word out about what you’ve written?

If you’re not the best writer in the world, that’s okay as you can hire great writers to get your message out. You’d still want to be the one to decide what topics you want to post, and need to express it to your writer in a way that they can put it into writing for you. This can also help if you don’t have enough time to write your own posts. You can also hire someone to do the social media marketing aspect of getting the word out, if it’s not something you have the time or inclination to do.

But before you even consider doing any of the above, you need to answer this question:

  • What is your reasoning for wanting to get into content marketing?

If it’s just because you’ve heard it’s the thing to do these days, you probably won’t get very far with it.

I’ve seen that for those having trouble getting clients and/or program participants, and/or newsletter subscribers, then writing great blog posts and letting people online know they exist can be very helpful in increasing their exposure. This in turn can bring in more clients, etc. But it’s important to note that it’s a long term solution which generally takes a lot of time to really kick in. You’d want to give it at least a year before expecting any humongous results. That said, I would imagine within a few months, presuming you were truly creating great content, and have figured out how to get the word out to those who are interested, you should start to see an uptick in low hanging fruit options, such as newsletter sign ups. And newsletter sign-ups are a great door opener for gaining more clients somewhere down the line. (See how small conversions can lead to larger ones.)

I hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below! And for more useful advice, don’t forget to sign-up for my free newsletter. – Jill

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CONTACT JILL WHALEN to learn how she may help you be the best you can be.

Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

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For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

Jill's blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she's learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many "viral" articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.

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Nice one, Jill. Great to have your incisive thinking focused on this and pretty useful stuff for a lot of new or existing businesses; your healthy lifestyle is obviously having benefits for your mental acuity, too!


Hi Jill! Delighted to see you back in the online marketing “space” 🙂

I’d like to add that even if you are not a great writer, there are other formats you can consider: video, radio, podcasting and slide shows for instance. These can all be incorporated into or comprise your entire blog/posts!

And, one format can always be turned into others – you can read your article and post a link to the audio right with the written article. Or turn a video into a slide show. Or have a podcast transcribed. These are great ways to reach people who prefer to learn in different ways – and also give you the possibility of evergreen content that can be released later – you don’t always have to be writing something new!

Just my $0.02 😉

Terri Z

I had seen your post previously about leaving SEO. I have to say after 20 years I totally get where you are coming from on that, but I am so happy to see your statements about the mis-conceptions and bad info being used still today. I see it all the time with small businesses adhering to old outdated ideas and practices. Some of which is not all bad but this is 2015 and Google is at it’s best for knowing who has the best content to offer and there gonna just get better. Bottom line is the industry will always need voices like yours because I think a percentage of small business owners are always going to struggle with content and SEO as a whole.