Can Content Writers Be the Covid-19 Antidote for Small Businesses?
The world economy is restless over faster recovery from the catastrophic effects of Covid-19. The Small and Medium Businesses that are severely affected by the abrupt closure of the economy are sparing no methods unemployed to cope with the post-lockdown stagnation. However, despite numerous attempts (including the successful ones by some big names), the small businesses have still continued to adopt a slower trend in recovery. As a result, a huge number of lay-offs, greater budget constraints, and huge losses in revenue are being borne by them which can further equate to prolonged economic damage. Hence, in critical times as such, it is essential to revisit the instruments that have historically been acclaimed for building successful businesses from scratch. And today, when the world is inclining towards greater digital dependency as a response to both advanced technological abilities, and to the pandemic; Content Marketing and therefore content writers can probably be the non-mainstream antidote they have all been looking for to get things back on track.
With the universal adoption of remote working (aka teleworking) among businesses; and the increased online leisure (shopping, streaming, news, gaming and more) among the general populace, Content Marketing can safely be termed as the most powerful and relevant instrument in tackling the economic adversities induced by Covid-19. Only upon exploiting the online channels and producing content to increase customer-base can a business self-reliantly get back on its feet without going about liquidation and other repercussive mainstream methods.The math here is doing something to steeply increase your customers. And what else can be your choice other than the automatic lead generators known as the content writers, who come at the lowest possible investments. However, the most relishing part in generating customers with the help of content writers is that you do not go to your potential customers but they find their ways to you. Interesting, right? Let us have a glance at the composition of this antidote, and demystify why content is a viable and effective choice of action in these unprecedented times for the SMEs.
But Why Content Writers Exactly?
Gone are the days when starting/sustaining a business online was only buying a domain name away. Severe competition among businesses in the online arena, has only been proliferating ever since the inception of commerce on the internet. Today’s businesses are structured on a huge amount of information under their names. This information constitutes highly relevant and useful blogs, articles, videos, social media campaigns, e-books, brochures, case studies, newsletters, whitepapers and press-releases that make their business effortlessly visible on the internet while also adding to their ever-increasing credibility.
Fast forwarding into the Covid-19 situation and the three months long socio-economic lockdown, large enterprises and conglomerates are still able to quickly fill the gaps in their performance because of their previous investments in content, while the SMEs and small Startups are left struggling against the tide. Setting all these in comparison with the least affected sectors like that of online News (with millions of published articles and multimedia) or entertainment (offering content in the form of short videos, web series, memes, interviews, documentaries, tutorials, etc.), it becomes even more viable to let content have a free hand in raising a business to its previous highs and even exceed them. Still not convinced? Have you ever seen an online News platform struggle for ranking on Search-engines?
While these are few of the reasons why a business needs content writers, let us un-shroud some more and discuss what else lay in store for the SMEs.
The Wonders of Content Writing (with examples)
(In continuation..) Therefore, the conventional challenges have rendered the SMEs stranded, doubled by the on-going world health and economic crisis. Interestingly, content production as an approach to Marketing, has also been a victim of the same conventional order. In other words, despite its effectiveness in the 21st century’s digitally revolutionized world, which solely runs on content, it is still underrated.
According to a renowned CPA firm in Noida, India, content marketing is the source of 80-90% of their clients. This is a huge ratio that a single marketing strategy can own. And the most surprising part is that it is automatic. Yes, this CPA firm generates huge revenues, of which 80-90% is not even directly approached, or is a result of an outbound communication. This is indeed an effect that only content writers can produce. Only content writers can organically generate new customers while adding more credibility that none other channel can. When a potential customer goes over your content on the internet which is not for pitching but is ‘just an unadulterated honest piece of information’, they decide on contacting you to get a solution to their problem because they would know you have the best chance of resolving it.
Another example is a Noida-based ecommerce that grew to their [two-decades old] competitor’s search-engine ranking level in just six months. Huge, right? According to their marketing manager, it was only made possible by their content marketing team. With their designers, social media handlers, SEO experts, and specialized writers’ consistent efforts, their growth projections shot through the roof of their statistical structure of estimates. Before their adoption of a full-fledged content marketing approach, they were relying on direct sales and marketing strategies that earned them a little more than just peanuts. With the help of content marketing’s most reliable tool, i.e. the search engine optimization, their ecommerce was able to compete head-to-head with their counterparts and often gained the upper hand.
These two quick case studies have sufficient takeaways in favor of content writers, and why they are the Covid-19 antidote for small businesses.
How do Content Writers make it happen?
Hurray! We made it to this part. Time to discuss how content writers do it. This would be just an attempt to know what it takes for a content writer to help an organization multiply their revenues and add that credibility that millions of dollars of advertisement can not earn.
Content, content writers, and content marketing, has undoubtedly been the major part of Digital Marketing. In fact, all the artifices of making a business effortlessly visible on the internet has to do with content writers. It would not even be an overestimation to call content writing the one real marketing approach that has the potential to generate the largest number of organic leads, that too for a consistently long period. But how do they do it exactly? Let us briefly explore.
To create the right piece of content and disseminate it in the public domain for informative and entertainment purposes, in the form of blogs, articles, videos, infographs, ebooks, news, case studies, etc., and indirectly generate prospective customer’s interest in your products, is content marketing. And it takes a number of steps to be followed in doing it correctly. Let us have a rough overview of the process, below, and then gradually jump on the shortcomings and the conclusions part.
Step #1 | Research & Development
Research tops the list when it comes to recognizing the most significant process in content writing and marketing. Research does not solely consist exploring the depth of topics on which content is to be written. In fact, that only constitutes 25% of Research and Development (R&D). Majority of R&D involves gathering intelligence. Yes, that is right. Did you think business was not a war?
The intelligence, or the R&D part of content writing has four chambers.
- Market Intelligence - The art of identifying the audience, their purchasing behavior and their pains, and framing a kind of content they would like to read/watch or listen to. This tool, outside content writing, is popularly utilized for developing relevant products and making changes to existing ones.
- Keywords Research - Determining the right keywords with the use of various tools and techniques. Some think of it as part of Search engine optimization, but trust me it is not yet.
- Keyword Planning - Keyword planning is forecasting how a set of keywords may perform in present and future. Part of SEO? Yet not.
- Topic Research - Then comes the topic research that constitutes an in-depth exploration of the subject, so as to acquire enough information to create an overarching and valuable content.
The importance of Research and gathering Intelligence is evident in every successful decision that a good business makes, and it must also find a place in every content production process, aimed for business growth.
Step #2 | Search Engine Optimization
Here comes the most awaited, and rightfully popular step in content writing/marketing. Search-engine Optimization a.k.a SEO is probably the most exploited tactical instrument in Digital/Content Marketing. SEO is the art and science of ranking a business on Google. We could count-in YouTube, Bing and DuckDuckGo but let’s keep it to one. Note: Yes, YouTube is also a search engine and invites optimization. There are roughly a few things that the best content writers keep in mind while framing content. These are the following:
- Keyword Research and Planning - In SEO, keyword research and planning takes one step further in determining the efficacy of a set of words that has the highest possibility to leverage an audience. In the upgraded version of keyword research, considerations beyond technicalities are made which often comes from experience in the field. An example can be, choosing a less competitive keyword in order to minimize the risks of being dumped anywhere but on the first page of search results.
- Usage - Next step is inevitably the writing round, where all the keywords are naturally placed. The importance of the primary keyword(s) to be placed in the title, first paragraph, all the headings (if possible), while still constituting only 1% of the entire piece of content, does not need a new emphasis. If there is something that needs more emphasis, it is probably the use of a longer than 2-3 worded primary keyword. Or, the use of enough rich media into the content, if it is a blog/article.
- Language and Style- The simple the better. Using active voice more than passive. Keeping it to the point. Keeping it low-key on vocabulary unless you are writing a piece for a News company, or an academician. Moreover, people nowadays have shorter-than-ever attention spans. Therefore, either your content should be a necessity for the readers, or it should be simple enough to be given a longer attention. The tone/style of writing also plays a huge role in Search-engine Optimization. Content writers should readily be able to distinguish between B2B and B2C style of writing. However, if you have got your intelligence part done correctly, this would not be an issue.
- Meta Data - Meta data plays a designated role in SEO. It makes sure your information is correctly categorized and ‘subtitled’ in the search-engine’s language. In other words, since it is the ‘data of data’, it helps search engines get more accurate with your content. This is done at the HTML level. If you are a WordPress user and do not understand what I am talking about, you should not bother either for there are excellent tools available to help you get this part done.
- Links - Using a lot of references or links to credit other websites for their information. This helps them build credibility. What is our benefit? SEO demands external links for letting search engines establish a network of information on a particular subject, and your business should ensure to get counted-in. Also, when you generate valuable content, and get linked on some other website, credibility is built for your business as well.
Step #3 | Social Media
Another excellent channel that can further your business’s market penetration, and help your business get through the stagnation if content writers are on your side. Social media is the tool utilizing which numerous companies have gotten into the day-to-day lives of their customers. By posting short, crisp, interesting, and out-of-the-box content on Social media like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more, they acquire more subscribers. As a result, businesses enable themselves to communicate messages much more effectively than ever, that too, to a population much larger than they usually reach out to, through other channels including advertising, sending newsletters, and doing cold things altogether.
Posting good content on social media also helps a business build an image among the customers, and it is crucial, especially when it is B2C.
Step #4 | Sustenance
The process of competition is forever. Therefore, the game does not get over once the content writers are finished building a business’s online visibility. They have to keep on producing content as long as a business intends to sustain and dominate the market. Similarly, numerous instances may rise when your dominance is challenged or overthrown by your competitors. At that point of time as well, the content writers can manage the situation, however, only by ramping up their production. There are numerous content writing firms that can help you have that issue of insufficiency of content, resolved.
Conclusion and the Drawbacks of Content Writers
Every system or tool has its own set of advantages and shortcomings, therefore, content writers can not be an exception. Following are the issues that may annoy a business sometimes.
- Content writing takes its time to generate visible results.
- Content writing is an art converted into a marketing tool. Content writers are then under that equation, artists made into corporate/marketing professionals. Sometimes it gets difficult to channel them, unless you have “enforcers” to keep them on track.
- Good content writers are scarcely available. It takes a huge amount of time and efforts to find, hire and manage content writers.
- Although there is a trend of hiring freelance content writers because some mistakenly believe word count (and not good content) is all that matters. However, it is a well known fact too why many fail to create the magic they thought they are creating. Moreover, as I say it, sub-standard content can have opposite effects, and instead of lifting a business, it can kill it. Therefore, always maintain caution from ‘low cost’ and sub-standard content. My further opinion is to invest in content writing more since it is helping you cut the expenditure on advertising. You would not need advertising if you have the right writers.
- Content writers sometimes find hard time in aligning their content with the marketers’ perspective. Although this can majorly be the result of inexperience, it is highly non negotiable for a business, especially when it is trying to extricate itself from the clutches of Covid-19 induced economic stagnation.
As a conclusion, it is only advisable that the content should always address and embody knowledge, utility, entertainment, novelty, marketer/founder’s vision, and highest possible level of optimization. Once these elements are there in the content, a content writer or marketer is free to experiment and add their own findings to create something even better that no one has seen before. And with its help, recover from the economic horrors of pandemics such as the Covid-19, and also others that have all the possibility to spread in future because this is how nature works. Our job is to stay prepared, both as businesses and as individuals.