If you’re looking for the best content marketing for startups guide, I wrote this post with you in mind.
Are you an aspiring entrepreneur who dreams to own a billion-dollar company one day?
Well, you are not alone. The success of companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and many others has inspired thousands of people across the globe to dream big, and there’s nothing wrong in that.
People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or even Mark Zuckerberg – they were just like you and me; ordinary men. But they had a genius idea and a vision and looked how far they have reached.
So far, the 21st century has been a great time for the startup culture where some exceptional people have made our lives easier with the use of technology. If you are a digital entrepreneur or wish to be one someday, this might be the best time for you to show the world what you got.
But have you thought how exactly you are going to do that? Well, this is where content marketing comes into the picture. Content market is a crucial part of overall digital marketing, and in today’s world, its significance is undeniable.
Content marketing is taking the world by a storm, and now it has become a necessity for most of the companies regardless of what bandwidth they have. In a report published in Contently, 72% of B2C content marketers are producing more content than the last year, and it is only going to increase here on.
The report also described that 56% of business have no strategy for content marketing. However, CEOs are prioritizing content marketing with SEO and social media to engage new customers.
In fact, both B2B and B2C startups and similar enterprises are starting to realize the importance of generating rich, original and keyword optimized content.
So what exactly is content marketing?
Before we go on discussing the impact of content marketing on the startup culture or how a digital entrepreneur can employ content marketing for his business, it is crucial to know what content marketing is all about.
Basically, content marketing is a marketing strategy which operates around the creation and distribution of content that has value to your business. The primary objective of content marketing is to drive the conversion (from prospect to lead or lead to customer). Content is the real MVP. The more engaging content you promote, the more conversion you get.
Why is content marketing important these days?
Honestly speaking, people have grown immune to the conventional marketing strategies. The cold calls and spam messaging do not work today. Just take a look at yourself.
How often do you watch a whole advertising on YouTube if there’s a chance to skip that in 4 seconds? Do you really read the information on a website banner that is dedicated entirely to advertising? Now it seems pretty clear why adblockers are so popular these days.
On a day-to-day life, we all ignore ads. It’s not that they are boring most of the time, but the real reason people don’t care about the ads anymore is that they have grown tired of it.
Consumers have become smart, and bombarding their TV screens or favorite social media platforms with ads is not enough to convince them, especially when they are trying to watch something else.
It is clear that traditional ads aren’t the ideal way to sell products in today’s market.
This is where content marketing comes in. As mentioned before, the objective of content marketing is to generate and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to drive conversion. Now stress on the word “relevant”. You are serving the audience with some information that concerns them, instead of just asking them to buy your product for no reason at all.
In order to be a leader in your target market, you have to make some smart moves. Content marketing is the right place to show how smart you are. Well, for a fact, personalization can help improve your sales figures by 19%, which most of the marketers (more than 70%) know. However, only 19% of that population ever uses such strategy.
We all know the soft drink company Coca-Cola. You must have come across one of their campaigns which made quite a stir in the marketing world. This Share A Coke campaign was a worldwide phenomenon and it was an incredible marketing move.
They did nothing extraordinary, but they personalized their product. They just did the following things.
At first, they started with some of the most common names in the world, eg. Mike, John, Kathy, Sam, etc.
They put those names on the side of the bottle.
They expanded their campaign, once the popularity grew.
They also came up with holiday editions.
Just think for a moment why they did it. Well, they gave the customers a sense of ownership. When people found their name on the bottle, they felt more attached to it.
The idea was simple, but the execution was absolutely brilliant. The same reason why the NikeID campaign is going on for such a long period. This generates a feeling of ownership among the customers. They are not just buying a product, but they are owning it.
In 2017, most of the successful marketing campaigns are focused on content, which is the ideal choice for any marketer given the circumstances.
If you are going to invest on Facebook ads, better link it with an interesting blog, article or video clip which your target audience would like to read or watch. There is a reason why click-baits are so popular these days.
Social media sites can also be a great platform for marketing campaigns. A number of businesses have used social media platforms like Facebook for their marketing campaigns and have gotten amazing results in return.
Take the Oreo’s Facebook marketing for an instance. Oreo has always been a great example when it comes to setting up a creative marketing campaign. Their Facebook campaign in 2013 was no exception. In that campaign, they ran 100 posts in 100 days campaign, where they created their own versions of popular news stories with Oreos. Like the following one where they have talked the release of one of the most anticipated film of the year, The Dark Knight Rises.
So what was so great about this campaigning?
Firstly, it dealt with a hot topic, which almost every youngster was talking about.
While discussing the movie, people talked about the post.
It was easy to the eyes and it made people smile.
It was not just about selling cookies; it went beyond that.
Current affairs can be utilized to create a buzz in the market. Think about the things that are going on, and how you can incorporate that into your content marketing strategy. It doesn’t always have to be a controversial story; even the simplest of the stories can be translated in an interesting way which can put your brand in the limelight.
It does not matter whether you run a large business or a small one. Any business can set up a successful content marketing campaign.
There’s only one thing that you should remember: the best kind of content isn’t the one that has all the information in the world, but it is the one that provides the particular information that solves the reader’s problem. In digital marketing, it is to guide the customers into believing that your business is the solution to their particular problem.
For a business, whether it’s a startup or an established enterprise, it is important to get traffic. Paid ads can help you get the traffic, but that won’t be ideal for your business if you are bootstrapping or struggling to raise funds. Having a giant competitor also makes things difficult for the startups. The pay-per-click ads may get people to visit your site, but doesn’t really help conversion process.
On the flipside, the ROI for content marketing is quite higher than the ROI of paid ads. According to some research, for every dollar, content marketing generates three times more leads than the paid ads. So technically, content marketing is cheaper and more effective than paid ads. In fact, a rich content can benefit your company’s SEO as well.
The role of SEO professionals in content marketing
Studies have shown that quality content can help improve your search ranking. As a startup, having a good SEO is crucial for your company’s image and growth. Using well-written blogs to position yourself as a credible solution provider in your field can help you build a good reputation in a more general way.
It’s not that your SEO is the only thing that will get benefitted for well-written content. Content can help the overall growth of your business as well.
Your social media page never faces any dearth of content. You can pitch an influencer to come on board with an influencer. You can also get paid by linking your content to a paid Ad. In fact, you can build you email list by utilizing your content. For instance, you can ask the readers to subscribe to the newsletter for blog updates.
Content strategy: How do you execute it?
However, there are several downsides to this strategy as well. Firstly, it takes some considerable amount of time, effort and humongous amount of planning. You may not find any immediate results. But if you plan to stick around for long, this is the ideal strategy to invest on.
Remember, if your content is great and it delivers the reader something that he/she values, it is going to pay off for sure. Here’s how you should approach your content strategy.
Start by planning the strategy
You need to be clear about what you want to achieve through content marketing. As mentioned earlier, content can be used to initiate conversions, increase the sign-ups and also to improve the site’s SEO. So have a clear goal and build your strategy around it.
Do your research
It is important to understand the credibility of your product/service. You need to figure out what are the issues your target audience faces every day, and how your product or service is going to help them.
Assumptions won’t help you build an effective marketing strategy, so go out and conduct a survey and use the feedbacks to create a detailed buyer persona. You also need to gather information about the channels your target audience use on a regular basis.
Without the information about the channels, it will be hard for any marketer to decide where to put the promotional content. If your market changes with time (which happens with startups), be prepared to modify your content strategy accordingly.
Study your competitors
If you want to beat them in the market, you need to know what they are posting on their social media pages. Not just that, you need to know what they not producing.
Having a different USP is not enough to make your identity in the market. You can work on a content strategy that will address the customer’s problems with a fresh viewpoint.
Understand the buyer’s journey and address each of the stages with effective content
In the first stage, your potential customer may across your site through search engine results. Having a lighter content like infographics, videos or small light-hearted blogs that provide necessary information or offer entertainment can be ideal to drive the traffic to your site.
Next, you can provide your audience with more targeted content that talks about specific problems that your business can solve.
Here you need to be little descriptive. Using long blogs or ebooks can be a great way to engage your audience. In the next step, when it comes to decision-making, you can write about how your business can help them solve the problem.
This is the right way to place the content. Although you need to further engage the audience with similar content even after the conversion is done, in order to retain their loyalty.
See which existing pieces of content are doing well in the market
You need to look out for all the blogs, articles, infographics, and videos that are creating a buzz in your target market. You can take inspirations from them. Not necessarily you should copy the existing content, but you can study it and write with a fresh perspective on the same topic. Or have a detailed discussion of a blog that only touched the surface of a particular topic.
For an effective content marketing, you need to plan a promotion process
Creating quality content won’t be effective unless it is promoted at the right place. So plan accordingly and use the media which will be ideal for promotion. Owned, earned and paid – all forms of media should be used to promote your content. Be very particular about the content though. All the effort will go in vain if no one is reading what you are promoting.
Also, you need to understand which media would be better to promote your product or service. The social media platforms have a huge number of audiences, so it is important to take that into consideration.
Content creation is the most crucial part of your content strategy
So you need to very cautious about its quality. While creating a piece of content takes adequate time. Rushed content often fails to make the impact. Also bring in some variation every time you are creating something new. Your audience may find it monotonous if you are serving them with the same kind of content every time.
SEOs play a crucial role in the content marketing process
Always keep the keywords in mind while producing a particular content. Give strong headlines. Most people won’t care to read the article if the headline is poorly written.
Apart from that, provide the readers with authentic data. If your content does not provide a solution to their problem or offer a solution that is ineffective, you may lose your credibility. And lastly, measure the results. It will allow you to know if your strategy has any flaw.
Monitor the progress
Once you have executed your plan, you have to wait and monitor how your strategy is working on the target market. If it shows some negative results, you will have to make some improvements in the existing strategy.
For instance, if the traffic seems to come from one particular channel, it could mean all the other channels are not properly optimized for it’s the only channel that your target audience uses. You can start by creating different content for the different medium.
What works for your Facebook campaigns, may not work for your Twitter campaign.
In a nutshell, content marketing can be much easier if you have a plan for every step. As a startup, your business may not be as popular as the industry leaders, but with a proper content strategy and right kind of execution, you can give them a tough fight in the field.
The life of an entrepreneur is full of challenges, but with some hard work and proper planning, you may also become one of the veterans in the field.
Author – Ambarly Jensen is associated with My Assignment Help in USA for the past three years and currently, she is living in Chicago. She is an MBA graduate from UIC College of Business Administration, Chicago, who has worked in the marketing teams of various startup projects in the past.