Every now and then, there are news about competing offerings from the big contenders – such as between Amazon, Apple, and Google. What does it mean for businesses big and small?

Everyone of us has used Google Maps in one way or another, whether simply as end-users browsing online web content or on our mobile phones, or as developers embedding map calls in web properties or mobile apps. But there is more than just Google Maps. Apple recently launched their own maps in their new iOS, and now, Amazon has their own maps too.

I applaud all these efforts from the big contenders – they are good for consumers like us, and increase possibilities for app and web developers like us as well.

The big contenders on the web, social media, and mobile arenas, are not simply replicating functionality for the sake of it. It is simple. It is about control, and ultimately, the potential to monetize something you own.

If you own something, you have the freedom to use it however you want it. If you own something, you also have the freedom to lease it out, or to sell it altogether. The same paradigm applies to why these big contenders, used here as an analogy, would have a functionality that someone else already has, recreated.

Therefore, what does it mean for other businesses, including smaller businesses such as ours? Plenty.

Every now and then, we come face to face with a client who would question, “Why should we create our own content, or run our own web properties? Why don’t we simply post some content on social media sites?”

The same reason applies. The social media platforms are not owned by these clients, and the rules of engagement can change anytime, and more often than not, the rules have changed, and often not necessarily for the better for the clients.

Therefore, owning one’s own content become necessary, albeit requiring much more work from the clients, and from agencies like ours. There is no immediate returns to creating and developing content for clients, since building content requires time, research, resources, and patience. For some enlightened clients, they recognize that engaging their end customers require such hard work and effort, and will invariably endear their brands, products and services to their end customers. The results are not immediate like the direct sale of a product, but are slowly built up through goodwill, trust, confidence, and sharing.

Here are some suggestions for content that a business can create:

Textual content. The most resource-friendly way to start is with a text blog, coupled with social media. Have internal employees write useful textual content, or work with an outsourced agency, to put out editorially sound, and readable blogs. As the blogs become more developed, images and other multimedia resources can be included.

Video content. Video is not as easy to start as a text blog, but are much more compelling to end-users than lines and lines of text. With interesting videos, end-users will visit, and revisit your online presence, and will share the video content with others, and even share and post to social media, invariably increasing your outreach for you in a most viral way. Video can be simple videos from smartphones of your designated employees, or properly put together videos through a dedicated video and news production team.

Interactive content. The simplest interactive content are polls and questionnaires, where some commercial platforms even provide analytics you can use. If you are more ambitious, work with an outsourced agency to put together interactive games, simulations, puzzles, and even mobile and web apps that put your interactive content onto desktop, tablet and even mobile devices. Interactive content demand commitment and resources, but are very engaging when done right, and will excite, attract end-users and can go very viral.

Remember that big contenders were once small. Remember that every fruition requires hard work and committed resources, and don’t come easy or free.