Let’s face it, the Coronavirus Crisis of 2020 has been rubbish, with business being difficult for most businesses and many businesses calling it a day. However, in the UK a number of businesses have received Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) and we’re increasingly seeing business owners and marketers asking us if they should be spending that funding on content marketing.
Because of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Crisis, the Government announced there would be support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The Government’s support takes the form of two grant funding schemes in 2020-2021.
The scheme is designed to help businesses who have been struggling due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG), businesses in England that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for either £10,000 or £25,000 depending on the rateable value.
And this state aid has been making its way into the bank accounts of businesses throughout the country, but many of those businesses aren’t actually struggling from the effects of COVID-19 lockdown. Of course, the lockdown is bound to have had some impact but for a lot of businesses rather than asking themselves how they can use the grant funding to survive, they’re asking themselves how can they capitalise from the additional money they now have.
Marketing is an obvious first port of call for a lot of businesses when it comes to spending the Small Business Grant Funding. That may be because marketing had previously been paused before the lockdown or perhaps there was no marketing being done before the lockdown. It also may provide an opportunity to do a kind of marketing that’s not been done before.
We’re getting a number of enquiries about different things businesses want to spend their funding on, everything from SEO and PPC through to a new website. But it’s our focus as an SEO and content marketing agency that got me thinking about whether you should really spend you Small Business Grant Funding on carrying out content marketing.
It may seem like a good idea to commit that £10,000 towards content marketing and we always say we can create some kind of marketing campaign for any amount of budget. But £10k for content marketing isn’t a huge budget. In some industries it may be enough to put the foundations in place, for example, we charge around £120 for blog posts to be created and uploaded. That means that you could have around 80 articles. That may sound like a lot and it is a lot, but in order to get cut-through in many industries, where businesses have been creating content for years, 80 articles aren’t going to cut it. We’ve carried out research in the past that demonstrates most businesses need to create something like 300 – 800 pieces of content on their website before they really begin to dominate their sector. Those figures depend on the number of content pieces competitors are creating and have created in the past as well as the level of complexity of legislation and the changes that are related to that.
Also, even if you do create that volume of content, content marketing is still a medium-term strategy with long term benefits. You’re not going to get an immediate benefit. Now that might be attractive because you’ve got some money that you didn’t have before, but it’s essential to go into this with your eyes open. The grant funding is there to support business and it may be more appropriate to carry out a direct response marketing approach.
Even if you do think content marketing is the right type of marketing to invest your business grant funding you should also be aware that you will probably need to invest more than £10,000 in the long run in order to create the most effective campaign.
Whatever you do intend to spend the Small Business Grant Fund or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund on, the most important thing is to use it to ensure the long term viability of your business and to secure the position of your employees. If marketing factors into that then great, however, it shouldn’t necessarily be your first consideration.