For startups, looking at marketing from the top-down can be intimidating. After all, you probably don’t have much of a budget – and even if you do, you can’t afford the same strategies and techniques the larger companies are implementing. There is some good news, though. You don’t have to have a large budget or extensive resources to invest in quality content marketing; you simply need a sound plan.
Why startup content marketing matters
The beauty of content marketing in today’s digital landscape is that any company of any size can get involved. You can take a grassroots approach, or you can spend thousands of dollars on professionally crafted content. The possibilities are virtually limitless. Consider these statistics:
- 93 percent of all B2B marketers are currently using content marketing.
- 41 percent of marketers believe driving sales is the number one goal of content marketing.
- For B2C companies, the top content marketing goals are customer loyalty/retention (88 percent), engagement (88 percent), brand awareness (87 percent), and sales (77 percent).
- On average, companies spend one-fourth of their total marketing budget on content marketing.
- 54 percent of corporate marketers believe quality content is one of the most effective SEO tactics available.
There are hundreds of other statistics that speak to the value of content marketing, but these four should give you a pretty clear idea of why content is important. After all, if it’s valuable to established brands, it should be important to yours, too.
4 tips for optimizing your startup content marketing efforts
For most startup owners, the importance and significance of content marketing is understood. The tricky part is implementing a strategy or campaign that properly leverages quality content for maximum results. In an effort to answer pressing questions and simplify the process, keep the following tips and techniques in mind.
1. Tell Your Startup Story
Everybody loves a good startup story. Our capitalistic society thrives on free enterprise, creativity, innovation, and people absolutely love reading about small businesses and/or unlikely success stories. Do you have one of these stories that you could share with your readers to help humanize your brand and draw people in?
Here’s the trick: You want to make sure your story doesn’t come off as a PR ploy or overt advertisement for your brand. The goal is to share a genuine story that resonates with people in a natural way. This means you should not hire an outside writer to craft your startup story. You need to do it yourself. Really hone in on the following key points:
- Your personal history
- The ‘Ah ha!’ moment
- The incorporation of the business
- The early days
- The first taste of success
- Relevant pivots or shifts
- Long term goals and vision
If, after writing your story, you aren’t confident about the flow, grammar, or word choice, have someone edit it for veracity. However, it’s important that the words are yours. Only you know your startup story, and only you can effectively tell it.
2. Hire the Right People
While you do need to write your brand story, that doesn’t mean you have to personally handle every aspect of your content marketing plan. You can hire writers, editors, and marketers to facilitate this process. Just make sure you’re hiring the right people.
The good news is that startups are finally able to hire good talent. “For years when startups weren’t cool, most top graduates went into finance, consulting and other big company jobs,” recalls Jason Freedman, entrepreneur and co-founder of 42 Floors. “Finally, our sector is on top and these young people that want to come and join us. That’s awesome!”
But what do you look for in content marketing hires? There are a number of things to consider, but you’ll want to look for a pretty specific skillset. First off, a content marketing strategist needs to have business experience, writing skills, and an understanding of modern digital strategies. These are the ‘non-negotiables.’
Other things to consider include previous experiences – have they worked with content marketing specifically, or do they have a different marketing background – a willingness to be flexible, and the ability to innovate. The latter is key, as content marketing requires you to think on the fly and act swiftly.
3. Carefully Define Keywords
There’s a difference between keyword stuffing and keyword utilization. The former is a dead, unproductive practice, while the latter is of the utmost importance. Whenever you’re crafting content, you need to be focused on using specific keywords that have been identified as relevant to your brand.
You can find relevant keywords by using resources like Google’s Keyword Planner tool or WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool. There are other alternatives, but these are two of the best ones. Each allows you to enter a specific keyword that’s relevant to your industry, products, services, or brands, and will then provide you with additional suggestions and metrics regarding their current usage.
4. Develop Relationships with Bloggers
While a lot of content marketing takes place on your own website, blog, and domains, you also need to invest a considerable amount of effort into accruing reputable backlinks that point search engines and their users back to your site. One of the most effective methods of doing this involves developing relationships with bloggers.
Start by making a list of all the reputable blogs and websites in your industry. Next, spend time reading the content on these blogs, familiarizing yourself with the language they use and subjects they prefer. Then, make yourself known by commenting on posts and engaging with the different writers and bloggers you’re targeting. Be patient throughout this process and understand that it takes time and energy to develop relationships that will yield positive results.
Finally, after making contact with these bloggers, ask if they have any need or interest in letting you guest blog on their site. If so, they should give you a profile, backlinks to your website, and the ability to include a couple blurbs about your startup. Depending on the site or blog, this can be extremely valuable space for your content.
Putting it All Together
While this article is by no means an all-inclusive look at how to master content marketing, they are extremely valuable. When used in conjunction with other ideas and strategies, these tips can help startups and established companies alike achieve deeper market penetration, SEO rankings, and brand recognition. What are you waiting for? Invest in content marketing today!
And if you’d like to know how you can start blogging consistently in 30 minutes a day or less, read our eBook!