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Three Types Of Content That Every Small Business Needs

Updated: 3 days ago

Just as important as having great products and services, having great content is equally important for a small business. Content is how you connect with your consumers and community in digital spaces. Knowing what kind of content to put out for your business is not always clear. Like anything in business, it is learned. Join us as we go though the three categories: Passive Content, Outbound Content and Inbound Content. These are essential for small businesses.


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Passive Content


Passive content is exactly what it sounds like. It's content that does the work for your business even when you have clocked out. In the digital space, things are happening on a 24 hour schedule. While you may not be actively working on content for your business, passive content is working on your business. While often forgotten by many small businesses, this is the content that everyone who encounters your business is going to see first and remember the most. These are structural pieces when building your business. This category includes the following kinds of passive content:


  • Website Copy - This is the material on your website. It's how you speak to your audience and it sets the tone for how someone should perceive your business.

  • Tag Lines - These are short, memorable descriptions that clearly communicate your brand's message. Often you will see a single line in the body of a business' social media bio, under their business name on a business card, or used by a third party when sharing a business. Some businesses opt for a slogan. To give you a example, you may have heard of Sleep Country Canada. While they are no longer a small business, their once small business is a big business in Canada these days. Many suggest the catchy slogan ''Why by a mattress anywhere else?'' is widely attributed to much of their brand recognition. Highlighting why a simple tagline can be exceptionally beneficial to a small business.

  • Business Story - People want to do business with people. This has always been a consistent theme though business in history. So adding your business' about us or your brand origin story, on your website and other places helps consumers get to know you and adds a more personalized experience for your consumer when engaging with you business.

  • Mission/Values - In the digital space, consumers are able to connect with businesses who align with their personal value systems. They want to know who they are supporting and what that business stands for. Your mission and values offer consumers extra information about you that will often be a deciding factor when considering whether they support your business or choose a different one. This is particularly important for businesses that offer consumables like food, skincare, makeup, etc.


Outbound Content


To best understand outbound content, it's important to note that it is usually called "outbound marketing". This is a traditional form of marketing in which businesses initiate conversations with potential consumers through various channels, such as cold calls, emails, and advertisements. This approach contrasts with inbound content (we will talk about that in the next section) which draws in consumers through targeted content and engagement. When pertaining to a small business, there is specific outbound content that can be used. Depending on the kind of business you have, some of these outbound content suggestions may not be appropriate for your business or are no longer useful for most industries. For example, we have opted to leave cold calling out of this list as it does not apply to the digital space and only a select number of businesses would benefit from that specific kind of outbound content.


  • Email - As a small business owner, if you have not yet started then now is the time to start collecting consumer email addresses. Emails are the phone numbers of the digital age. As we mentioned before, cold calling is rarely used and that is because phone communications have decreased. People don't want you to call them in the 2020's, they want you to email them. As a small business, this is essential. If you do not have a website that collects emails for you (like Shopify, Wix, Sqarespace, etc.) you can collect emails yourself in an Excel spreadsheet or Google Docs. When you do in-person events, you can ask consumers for their emails. An email is the most direct form of communication. If you are having a sale or attending an event, sending out a newsletter or update to your already existing consumer base helps you stay in touch and keep them in the loop. The best way to preserve your relationships with your consumers is by not sending them emails for marketing, events, or community updates more than once a month. Studies show that business who send emails to their contact lists weekly are 48% more likely to have unsubscribes and spam functions reported against their business. We would suggest emailing no more than once a month, and ideally on a quarterly basis.

  • Website Copy Product/Service Listings - They say that saying nothing is saying something. That's very true, and so is that good website copy can say the right things. Very few people will ever purchase goods or services without knowing what it is and how it's going to benefit them. Website copy is how you connect with consumers though your website. When it's done well, it can engage a potential consumer and turn them into a customer. It can be informational and can help your website rank better in search algorithms. Every product or service on your website should have website listing copy and it should never be blank. Here's what it should include:

    • The name of the product/service - use the same wording as your listing heading.

    • What it does, how it works and what it's intended for.

    • A brief and clever paragraph that's in keeping with your brand identity. Here are a few examples of what a great product or service listing should look like:


  • Calls To Action - What is a call to action, or "CTA"? If you are not familiar with the term, it can be ambiguous. Luckily, a call to action can be whatever you'd like it to be. Essentially, a CTA can increase the chances that a consumer or audience member performs a specific task. Using an effective CTA can help motivate and guide consumers. Here are some other reasons a CTA is an important tool for small businesses in their outgoing content (blogs, social media, emails, etc.):

    • Increases company revenue: Often, businesses use a CTA to promote an item or service, which generates more sales and increases the company's revenue.

    • Builds your audience and expands your base: By getting web traffic from new users clicking on buttons to its landing page, a company may increase its consumer base and reach a new audience.

    • Continues interaction: Placing a CTA at the bottom of a webpage or social media post can encourage a visitor to continue interacting with the company and prevent them from leaving prematurely.

    • Converts prospects into consumers: Using a CTA can help move prospective consumers through the sales funnel, leading them to make a purchase.

Inbound Content


Inbound content is exactly what you are reading right now; this blog. By utilizing our blog here at Ontario Small Business Community ONSBC Blog | ONSBC (ontariosmallbusinesscommunity.com) we are creating and offering inbound content to our community. Essentially, inbound content is what you give your community, consumers, or audience that engages them. For some businesses, it's blog updates on their respective industry. For some, it's DIY and how-to videos. For educators, it's eBooks or informative content. And for some businesses, it's videos of them showing their process. There are a few different kinds of inbound content. All of them serve the same function; to give to your base, increase your engagement, and build trust. We will go over the kinds of inbound content below:


  • Blogs - While not for every kind of business, for some it can be very effective. There are creators and businesses across the world who have used blogs as a way to engage with their communities and grow them. Not all websites offer a blog function and they may require an extension or app (this is true for Shopify, the world's most popular e-commerce provider). If you are a business owner that enjoys writing or has expertise in a particular industry, blogs may be a good choice for you.

  • Social Media - This is the most popular of all inbound content. It's probably something you are already using. If you are not, you may want to consider starting to use it. It's a free way to market, share your small business, and connect. Social media is the most widely accepted and engaged with type of marketing or content on the internet for a reason. That reason is that it's accessible for both businesses and users. The fact that it's free means that anyone and everyone can take part. All small businesses need to be actively using social media for their business, regardless of the industry. It's the one way to connect all the kinds of content we have discussed through one common channel. In the digital space, social media is not optional. It is expected and essential.

  • Videos, Podcasts & eBooks - These are the lesser expected of inbound content. This category is usually relegated to service providers, but not always. They help establish authority with consumers, showing them that they can trust in the providers as they are confident enough to share their knowledge and expertise. This is why we will often see personal trainers sharing though videos, and educators or heath & wellness professionals sharing though eBooks. As your small business grows, you may want to explore this type of content.


To wrap things up, the first two categories - Passive Content & Outbound Content - are about you and your small business. The third - Inbound Content - is about your audience or consumer. Of course, all of these types are important to the growth of your small business. The first two are structural activities that build a foundation on which you can build upwards. The last is like adding levels to your already strong foundation and scaling up. When all three are implemented, success is surely to be had. The most successful businesses have a combination of all three types of content for no other reason than passive content (branding)

and outbound content (awareness) cannot thrive without inbound content (trust).


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