Writers and small to medium business (SMBs) may encounter difficulties when communicating about online content. Both writers and SMB proprietors function in different industries with specific vernacular and techniques. This frustrating disconnect undermines productivity for small businesses seeking to hire writers for content marketing, and the writer may be left cold trying to unpack a business idea.
But a template could guide both the business and the writer with a standard way to communicate.
What the template includes:
Not a template for a webpage, a SMB identity template contains topics with guiding prompts to promote communication between SMBs and writers.
Topics and guiding questions:
“Who” represents the intended market. Who are the consumers? Market research is typically done by SMBs as the business develops. Detailed guidance for market research can be found at US Small Business Administration.
The “What” field includes a sentence or two about products or services offered. Also, the SMB lists web links to reliable sites, the SMB site, and some searchable terms. Having links and terms that the SMB trusts streamlines writers’ research, and ensures the data gleaned is accurate, and the business can include data in the “what” field without doing descriptive writing (unless the proprietor wants to write, or already has relevant content).
“When” is the timeline for goods or services delivered (which can be a selling point if the business promises to and meets a certain speed). What is the pace of the business?
“Where” is the geographic location of the clients (also an aspect of the market). “Where” also relates to the location of the business. If the SMB is a brick and mortar business like a restaurant, geographical factors are critical (“location, location, location”). “Where” also denotes locations on the web—social media, blogs, or other sites where target markets spend time.
“Why” is the mission, purpose, and philosophy of the SMB. US Small Business Administration guides businesses in composing mission statements. Also note that it is possible to hire writers to draft mission statements.
“How” is the action of the SMB with potential customers and the response. There may be many different “how’s” as a business grows, uses new strategies, and learns what works or does not. Each “how” is a potential topic for the content writer. Though none of the ideas in the SMB identity template are static, “how” may be most dynamic as SMBs develop.
For the SMB identity template, each item is listed with the guiding prompts to elicit input from the SMB. There is space for responses.
Written content is relevant when it fits SMBs’ profiles and needs. An informed writer can achieve relevant content writing for a business he or she does not intimately know. Using SMB identity templates promises increased productivity since sharing information is standardized and content is gained through guiding questions. And in the end, templates may promote new growth for the SMB since guiding questions help focus SMB development.
Meg C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.