Most effective startups hit the ground running with their content marketing efforts. If you own a startup and want to generate a lot of buzz, build up a base of interested buyers and, take the world by storm, you're going to need to focus on content marketing way before day one.
It's easy to assume that kick-starting a content marketing campaign involves a lot of work, and it's partly true. However, by following these six tips, you'll be on your way before you know it.
Define Your Audience
While setting up your startup, you should have conducted plenty of market research to determine the types of people who are most likely to want what you have to offer. Take the information that you have already gathered about your target audience and refine it further by creating unique buyer personas for the various different types of people who you will be targeting.
Going forward, use these personas to craft content that is as effective and engaging as possible.
Establish a Strategy
As eager as you may be to get started with your content marketing efforts, there's no point in proceeding without establishing a clearly defined strategy first. Now that you have defined your buyer personas, you can safely do so.
Your strategy should clearly outline various details of how you will engage in content marketing. Address questions like how often you'll publish, where you'll publish, what types of content you'll use, and who will you be creating said content.
The key is to commit yourself to using the strategy rather than just writing it out on the first day. Making it easy to amend will go a long way as well, because you will almost certainly have to tweak it again and again as time goes by.
Choose Content Creators
As a startup, you probably aren't in the position to spend huge amounts of money on content. However, making sure that you allocate decent amounts of your marketing budget for it will go a long way in helping you set up right the first time.
If possible, assign someone on your team to produce content for you. With any luck, you already have a proficient writer and marketer on board. Ideally, they should be well-versed regarding SEO and online marketing too.
Otherwise, hit up crowdsourcing sites to find reliable writers. One way to keep costs low is by choosing cheaper writers and then editing their work to suit your standards.
To keep your content flowing along, it helps to come up with a huge list of topics right off the bat. At first, brainstorming ideas will seem easy. Before too long, though, you'll get writer's block worse than ever.
Use sites like Reddit and Quora to see what people are curious about when it comes to your particular niche or industry. Speaking of niches, go ahead and get specific about certain topics to generate more ideas. In fact, in-depth pieces that cover specific aspects of a subject tend to do quite well.
For each topic that you come up with, define the platform on which it will be published. Go one step further by defining when it will be published. With all of this work out of the way, executing your strategy will be a snap.
To truly stand out, you must be intentional about not fitting in. Do something beneficial to your audience and remarkably different from what’s common that you get everyone talking about it. One way to take an unconventional approach is to develop an interactive content format for your audience.
A good example is the homepage of Neil Patel’s blog, QuickSprout. Once you input your URL into it and grant it Google Analytics permission, it pulls data from your website, analyzes it and gives you insights on making your better content.
Another good example is the homepage of HowMuchCostAnApp. It leads you through a step-by-step, “if-this-then-that” process that helps you decide what specific features you want in a mobile app and how much it would cost.
In both cases, the content is interactive, benefits the audience and is unconventional.
Choose a Platform
Your first instinct may be to spread your content across as many social media platforms as possible. However, this is a good way to waste a lot of time and money. Instead, turn to the market research that you've conducted to determine where your ideal customers tend to spend time online.
Do they generally favor Facebook, or are they more often found on Twitter? If you run a B2B startup, don't forget about LinkedIn as a platform for your content. Use analytics to see which platforms seem to work well and which don't.
Continually adjust your strategy accordingly until you have narrowed things down to the most effective platforms and channels for your audience.
Publish, Promote, Refine
With all of the groundwork out of the way, you're ready to start publishing content. Of course, publishing it–even on the ideal platform–is merely the first step. You must actively promote it too, or it will disappear into the ether.
Therefore, get serious about your social media game. Establish and get active on the platforms that matter the most to your target audience. Don't just promote brand-new content, either. Over time, pull up old pieces of content and promote them again. It's amazing how much mileage you can get out of a single, well-crafted piece of content.
Finally, use analytics every step of the way to continually refine and optimize your content and your overall strategy. Remember that content marketing is, by necessity, always a work in progress.