Many small businesses are already using some form of content marketing to promote themselves—74% as of a January survey of US small businesses by BusinessBolts.com. It’s a tactic that must be paying off, because three-quarters of small businesses also said they planned to do more content marketing this year than last—and just 4% said they had no plans to do any content marketing at all.
Articles and blog posts were the type of content most favored by small businesses—74% have promoted their business using articles, and 64% through blog posts. Slightly under half were publishing social media content and about two out of five used email newsletters.
Small businesses spent an average of 6.9% of their annual marketing budgets on content marketing last year, according to a November study conducted by Ad-ology Research.
Ad-ology found that US small businesses were spending a greater share of their budgets on content marketing than on social media advertising. This suggests that small businesses may be more focused on using social sites to publish owned content rather than paying for advertising on the networks—a trend at some larger businesses as well.
But small businesses in particular seem to rely on content marketing because it can be extremely cost effective. A majority of the small businesses surveyed by BusinessBolts.com estimated they spent less than $100 on content marketing per month; just 11% spent more than $500.
Content that is narrative and shareable appears to be a particular small business focus for the coming year, according to the study. More than half of respondents cited articles, social media content, blog posts and video as likely to play a larger role in 2013. Less emphasized were more informative or instructional content such as tutorials, infographics and white papers.