Content marketing is a must for a lot of businesses. It can even help businesses that might not appear to be very interesting on the surface. In fact, that’s exactly the type of business that SPROUT Content specializes in helping.
You can learn more about SPROUT Content and its offerings in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Providing inbound marketing services for businesses in “unglamorous” industries.
CCO Debbie Williams told Small Business Trends, “We help a range of clients in different verticals, from start-ups to enterprise-level companies. But our sweet spot is working with small-to-mid-size businesses in typically “unglamorous” industries” that are often stuck behind the scenes and are ready to shine in the forefront.”
Creating high-performance content.
Williams says, “Many other agencies in the industry outsource content development to freelancers or use impersonal writing agencies that don’t really know the clients or their strategy. Our whole team has a content writing background at the core. Even our business development manager has a MA in writing. While the strategy and distribution are essential, the actual content is the customer-facing voice of your company and should not be treated as an after thought.”
How the Business Got Started
After finding a gap in the market.
Williams says, “We planted the seeds for the agency in 2009. At the time, we were working with web design agencies to deliver SEO site content, but knew there was more potential for great writing than being project or freelance focused. We met Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, at a meetup in Atlanta and started using his matchmaking service called Junta42 to find companies looking for good content. The term content marketing was just becoming a hot topic, and through our work with Joe we identified a great need in the market for truly excellent content based on strategy and that delivered results. We followed our instincts that the industry was going in that direction and started SPROUT Content as a content marketing agency.”
Hiring a business development manager.
Williams says, “In 2013, we took the risk to hire a business development manager. We risked spending the funds on a “non billable” employee, but in time it certainly paid off. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.”
Williams explains, “We should have taken the risk to hire sooner, especially someone in business development. Having help in that area was transformative for us, and it allowed us to focus on client growth and results instead of trying to do it all.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Williams says, “As a service business, our “product” is our talent, team and the work we deliver for clients. Extra funds would allow us to hire for some more specialty niche positions that would free up everyone’s time, and develop even more comprehensive service offerings in certain areas.”
Williams says, “Our team is remote from 3 locations and in 3 timezones. We are in CO, FL (central) and NC. We communicate all day via a messaging tool and work in an agile marketing process, so we talk every morning for a team meeting.”
“Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program
Images: SPROUT Content; Top Image: From top left (dark hair blue blouse): Dechay Watts, Co-Founder/Chief Strategy Officer; Debbie Williams, Co-Founder/Chief Content Officer; Chris Hawkins, Business Development Manager; Side left front (brown hair white/black plaid blouse) Jennifer Lux, Inbound Marketing Manager; Bottom row left: (black top, dark hair) Molly Bruno, Inbound Marketing Manager, Meredith Guarco, Inbound Marketing Manager, Justin Lambert, Content Specialist
The target market is interesting. I think this is a good market because these are the people who don’t know how content can work for them.
Justin P Lambert
You’re totally right. The seemingly “unglamorous” or boring industries are underserved. But when they learn how incredibly well inbound and content marketing can work for their businesses, it’s amazing how the stories flow. Thanks for your comment!
I think that they have chosen a really good niche. These people need the most help for they cannot even imagine how they can promote their site in this age where people are attracted to interesting titles and niches.
This goes to show that you should not always aim for a bigger market. If you aim for a smaller market and your services are specialized, then you can make it.