Content marketing is a cost-effective strategy for startups to gain visibility, build their reputation and increase brand awareness. Most startups are working on limited budgets but are strong on ingenuity, passion and enthusiasm. Content marketing is more than an industry buzz word: it’s a highly creative way to drive targeted traffic to your website and increase your online visibility to people and search engines.
What is a content strategy?
Your content strategy is a plan for delivering new content and promoting that content to your target audience. The more specific and detailed your content strategy is, the easier it will be to actually deliver that content as planned. It can be easy to ‘wing it’ when you’re starting out and full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm. A content strategy is critical when you’re deep in the trenches of building your business and getting new marketing content out is another task on your long to-do list.
Your content strategy should include info about the following:
- Who is your target persona or ideal client: who are you trying to attract to your website? Many businesses have more than one ideal client, so create a persona for each client type you’re trying to attract, and prioritize them in terms of business potential.
- What is your angle: What will your content talk about; does your startup provide a service, solve a problem or entertain? Your content can inform or entertain your audience and make them want to return to your site for more of the same. Your content strategy should explain what topics will attract your ideal client to your site.
- Where does your ideal client live online: where will you post new content? Your startup might post new content on your blog, on YouTube, on LinkedIn Pulse, on a Podcast or other content sites where your target audience goes for information or entertainment.
- Which social media channels are best to promote your content? What channels do members of your target audience use to socialize, share and gather information? You can’t be everywhere at once so pick two or three social media sites to promote your content and engage with your target audience, then add or change those channels if necessary in the future.
- When should you share new content: A blog post might be weekly or even monthly; while a YouTube video could be daily or weekly. Your client persona research should tell you how often your ideal client expects new content.
What 5 industry Experts Say About Developing a Content Strategy for Your Startup
Does Your Startup Need a Content Strategy?
Does your small business startup have an unlimited marketing budget? Probably not. That’s where content marketing comes in to play: creating interesting yet strategic content and promoting that content so it is found by search engines and people is a small business’s opportunity to compete with their biggest competitors. Marketers say ‘content is king’ for a reason; but the truth is quality content is king, and sadly most content is not high quality.
Content marketing costs a whopping 62% less than traditional marketing! Television ads, radio ads, newspaper, billboards, direct mail… they all cost substantially more than a regular marketing strategy that’s based on content.
And, shockingly, per dollar spent, content marketing generates roughly 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing!
Create Quality Content for Humans, Not Algorithms
Technical SEO is usually as important as content strategy; however, that doesn’t mean you should spend half of your time on technical SEO. It just means that you should think like a human and focus your content on humans, and not on appeasing Google’s algorithm. In fact, Google’s algorithm is designed to think like a human, and human’s link to and share awesome and useful content.
How Much Do I Need to Spend on Content Marketing?
Content marketing is available at all budgets. You can outsource your content to a marketing firm for $ to $$$$, or you can write and promote your own content without spending any money. That’s not to say content writing is free: you must invest time and energy to create high quality content that people want to read and share.
Sweat equity is the best equity.
I want you to do content marketing, without having to blow 190% of your marketing budget. Here’s what you do:
- Start a blog.
Cost: Free or basically free
How Frequently Should I Post?
Both people and search engines are more likely to return to your site if you post new content on a regular basis. You may be able to post daily, or weekly or even every other week. Consistency is key to attracting an audience to your website and keeping them coming back.
Search engine algorithms crawl your website regularly and are likely to rank you higher if you regularly add new content to your site – and one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add new content to your website is posting a blog.
I would recommend that you mitigate the risk. Here’s how:
Start with a regular publishing schedule of about 2 to 3 posts per week. Streamline the content creation and promotion process and concentrate on building an audience.
As much as marketers like to break down the success of content methodically, the truth is that it isn’t an exact science. If you put out more content, then you also give yourself more chances to go viral.
Leverage Key Industry Influencers
A major way to growth hack your content is to get seen by key people in your industry or target audience. People listen to the recommendations of other people. So, if an influencer – someone your ideal customer listens to for recommendations and advice – retweets your post or agrees to be interviewed for your blog or mentions your product, that recommendation can have more results than paid advertising.
Mention, quote, include, and reference influencers. I see this advice a lot actually. This, sort of like, “Oh, you know, if someone’s influential in this sphere, yeah, you should talk about them and mention them, and you know, potentially cite articles of theirs because then, they might see you and share it, and those kinds of things. That can be wise but even better advice is segment your influencers, right? They’re sort of what I’d call hyper-influential influencers; people who get things, you know, talking about them many, many times a day. And therefore, your blog mentioning them or saying nice things about them is nice, it’s meaningful, but it may not attract their attention nearly as well as if you choose those mid-range or early-stage influencers. Those folks are tremendously excited to be mentioned even once somewhere; and they are much likely, much more likely to become proponents and advocates of the content you produced if you’re mentioning them. This can be a very, very powerful tip. I like going after the not big influencers, but niche influencers. I think that’s a much more powerful way to do this.
By following these five pieces of strategic advice, startups can develop a content strategy that will have them poised for growth, without breaking their already limited bank. How has your startup used content marketing? Let us know in the comments below.
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