Bredin Report: The Difference Between Good and Great SMB Content

The Five Secrets of Great SMB Content

What do SMBs want in content from their vendors? Or, to put it another way, how can you make your content stand out in an increasingly crowded content marketing environment?

To find out, Bredin recently surveyed 500 U.S. SMB principals. Here are the top five attributes SMBs say they look for in your content:

1. Quality

A consistently important aspect of content to SMBs – 68% rate it very important, including 72% of companies with 100 to 500 employees – is content quality. While the term “quality” is somewhat subjective, it generally implies that the content provides practical, actionable advice to help SMBs solve a business problem.

2. Comprehensibility

Quality content also implies that it is understandable. 66% of SMBs rate “easy to understand” as a very important content attribute. While this is also a subjective term – what’s easy to understand for one SMB may be quite different for another – making sure that your content is free of jargon, does not assume a high level of familiarity with the topic, and uses straightforward terminology will boost its ease of absorbtion, and thus its value.

3. Relevance

65% of SMBs (and 78% of companies with fewer than 20 employees) rate ‘the topics are relevant to me’ as a very important content attribute. The litmus test for whether you are focused on reader concerns is to ask if your topics address “what the target reader may be walking around thinking about.” This means don’t write about the power of your technology or the features of your product; do write about the employee productivity gains, or cost savings delivered through them. Put another way, write about pain points and how you can help.

4. Industry focus

61% of SMBs overall (and 66% of companies with 100 to 500 employees) rate ‘written for companies in my industry’ as a very important content attribute. SMBs strongly identify with their industry; your content will perform best when it is tailored to the specific concerns of these industries.

5. Freshness

Rounding out the top five content criteria for SMBs is ‘freshness,’ i.e. how often your content is updated. 61% of SMBs rate ‘freshness’ very important. You don’t need to update your resource center (or blog, or YouTube channel, etc.) content daily for it to be fresh; you just need to ensure that there is new content to reward return visitors for their loyalty to your content. Assess your average site visitor return frequency to determine how often you need to post new content, but as a general rule, a few new articles or blog posts per week is plenty.

Wondering what SMBs find least important in content? The amount of content you provide. Less is more – SMBs vastly prefer quality over quantity. The second-least-important aspect of content? Who the sponsor is. While SMBs do look to you to provide content on topics within your brand domain – i.e. financial management advice from banks, or tech advice from hardware and software companies – they place much more of a premium on the quality of your content than its author or sponsor.

Want to learn more? Contact Bredin to learn more about how your content can work harder to engage, convert and retain SMB customers.

About Alice Bredin

Alice is America's foremost small business expert, with over 20 years of experience in the small business market. She has provided highly practical, actionable advice to countless entrepreneurs through her books, syndicated newspaper column, radio commentary and advice on small business forums on AOL, the Microsoft Network and elsewhere. Her unique insight into the needs of this audience has made her an invaluable resource to leading SMB marketers.