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Producing high-quality content for SMEs presents three significant challenges: resources, expertise, and visibility.

Blaise Hope is the CEO and Founder of Origin Hope, a leading global content outsourcer. Through its proprietary training, certification, Generative AI, ML and other evolving technologies, it is the first company in the world to offer: any content in any format, at any speed and in any language, 40-95% cheaper than anything else on the market.

For the vast majority of businesses lacking big budgets or established brand names, creating market-leading content is a consistent problem. Although the rise of generative AI and other tools like ChatGPT and comprehensive content outsourcing options shows the future has promise, there are still fundamental problems SMEs must tackle.

Successful content marketing does not appear in a vacuum. It happens when brands identify a niche that works for them, matches their values, helps set clear objectives, and delivers something their audience wants.

The challenge for SMEs is to define a content goal and maintain the necessary activity to achieve it.

How to plan effectively

Plan predictably, plan together, and plan according to a defined mission that everybody understands and meets your objectives.

Start from where you are and where you want to be: What is your ideal content plan if cost was not an object? What extra budget can you commit without batting an eye? What is the overall objective you want to achieve? What are tangible targets or milestones you can set along the way, however small, by which you can measure progress?

In other words: “start where you are, with what you have, for what you have, is plenty.” 

As you define goals – like “grow brand awareness through an online community” – make your team set out clear targets: “Reach 100 members”, for instance.

To reach those targets, start with small budgets, testing what works but making sure the company puts work out consistently over an extended period of time. Force your team to gather data and test in fields or ways they think won’t work. If you find something that performs surprisingly well that others have dismissed, you are well on your way to finding a niche you can own.

Confusion over short-term objectives and overall strategic thinking, combined with a fear of testing content that may not work, is a death knell for content marketing efforts, however well-funded. That is why most SMEs end up with content output that starts strong, stops, stutters, goes offline and then – after a while – starts again.

Consistent content output matters more than anything else, so make sure you use what time you have to keep activity going. The goal – which must be well understood by the marketing team and the executive team – is to avoid silence in a digital world. Consumers are far more forgiving of an authentic mistake than periods of silence and forced, episodic outbursts.

Lack of resources is not the problem; resource management is

Resources are the most obvious issue facing SMEs, but resource management is crucial for solving problems in the long term.

Poor resource management involves mismanaging time, energy, equipment, people, focus, morale, and company reputation. Investing in equipment, like a camera or powerful computer for video processing, is pointless without consistent use. It also means having the people to use that equipment as well as putting the time and effort into making sure they have something to produce. And then ensuring they have somewhere to publish it, and a way to distribute it consistently across social platforms – which themselves have to be created, cultivated, grown and maintained, posting regularly so that the work the equipment goes into does not appear out of context to audiences or algorithms. All of this is high-risk unless you already know you will get a return on your investment.

To invest safely requires a consistent, successful build-up of activity informed by experimentation. This way, investments are targeted, useful, and maximised when they are eventually deployed.

Although platforms for freelancers can help, passing work in-house or cycling through freelancers is rarely as effective as businesses believe. Freelancers can be unpredictable, and the strain on those producing as an extra duty virtually guarantees that in-house production will fail.

There is nothing more powerful than a blend of technology and human knowledge, but each must inform the other to be effective, and that means putting in the work beforehand. Getting that done requires an investment of focus, energy and, critically, time. That time must come from the right people and be used effectively.

Time is the most valuable yet riskiest resource. Wasting it, using it ineffectively, or running out affects budget, equipment productivity, and for people, it hurts morale and motivation. If you are getting pulled off projects to help with content production this will eventually drag on your work and sap your energy, hurting your relationship getting content out and with content itself. It also hurts the relationship between marketing and management such that the safest bet is to “call a pause to reassess”.

Never pause. It is always a bad decision and undoes any progress you may have made.

Expertise makes people stand out; a lack of it hides in plain sight

Lack of expertise can lead to content failures at SMEs, from senior management bickering over wording to marketing assistants struggling with new platforms.

Lack of expertise destroys ongoing efforts, poisons future ones, and creates division within the company. You have to keep marketing’s morale up and the best way to do that is to let them find your niche with a simple, clear mission and the freedom to execute it over time. Then, you need to keep the unqualified from sticking their noses in.

Simple, clear strategies get buy-in, especially when communicated to the whole company. Encourage engagement with marketing objectives and remove boundaries that prevent people from revealing their skills – especially fear of ridicule or failure. This nurtures in-house expertise, letting teams naturally lean into their strengths and pinpoint areas for improvement.

We live in an age where we are surrounded by content and that will increase as technology and content itself evolves. Find your niche, be consistent and produce good content – that will separate you from the overwhelming majority who fail on one of those counts.

Read more:
Overcoming content challenges for SMEs: tips for resource management and expertise

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