You’ve probably heard it before: content is king. We know that text ranks better than any other form of content on Google. And yet, only 12% of companies feel successful in their efforts to strategically manage content, according to a recent report. Don’t let your startup be one of them.
Content is a relatively low-cost marketing tool to produce and, especially if you’re just starting in your business, good quality content will help you develop your brand, showcase your knowledge, and establish yourself as the expert voice in your field.
Content marketing builds customer l
From the customer experience perspective, great content helps enhance customer loyalty. Putting your efforts in coming up with a content strategy that is clear and well-designed will have even more advantages:
First, you’ll be giving something useful to your potential customers. In practice, this means that your customers will go to your website to find content about things they want to know more about. If you’re publishing content that resonates with your audience, they’ll keep coming back to your website for more.
It’s worth noting that startups have their size as an advantage compared to bigger, more established companies. While large companies might have plenty of resources, they can be slow at making decisions and might struggle with deciding how or what content to share. When it comes to companies, startups can lead other companies. With a smaller, dynamic company like a startup, you can make decisions and move quickly to design an effective content strategy.
Second, successful content marketing will not only increase your brand awareness but will also improve your site SEO, encourage customer engagement, and create more sales. Great content can increase your organic traffic and improve your search engine rankings.
What Is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is how you manage any of the content your startup has created and own. It can come in any shape, from blog posts or videos to infographics. A well-defined content strategy is part of your general marketing plan, showcasing what your company is about and why what you do matters. The goal of your startup content strategy is to attract an audience and ultimately, drive profitable customer action.
But why is a clear content strategy so difficult to produce? Content marketing requires a defined strategy because unlike other marketing tools like paid advertising, it’s focused on the medium and long term. Don’t expect to see results in a month. “Be in it for the long haul,” writes marketing guru Neil Patel. “You won’t see incredible results from content marketing quickly. It’ll probably take around two years to get consistent results from Google. But if you commit to it for a while, you’ll experience great things.”
With that in mind, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results.
Why your startup needs a Content Strategy
Startups have an advantage when it comes to content that bigger, companies don’t have. “As a smaller company, you’re more agile and tend to be able to make decisions and build a strategy quickly. You’re probably also better placed to develop a consistent schedule and build a relationship with your audience outside of corporate anonymity,” writes Matthew Howells-Barby from HubSpot.
Another advantage of good content is that it’s “evergreen” — even months after you’ve published your content, it won’t get old, so readers can come back to it anytime. Evergreen content also saves you time because you won’t need to write new content from scratch, a simple update will do. If you’re able to produce some good articles, it’ll attract traffic well beyond the date it was published.
Create a killer content strategy to grow your startup
The first thing to take into account when you work on designing a clear content strategy for your startup is to establish responsibilities. Who will be in charge of developing and implementing it? If you or someone on your team is already a writing pro, then great! If not, you might consider some training or even hiring a freelance content writer.
How to avoid wasting time and money
Creating great content doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, but for that to be true you need to make sure you’re being efficient with how you use your time. The number one rule to keep in mind while you’re developing your content strategy is that more does not mean better.
Content marketing is about quality over quantity. In fact, creating a large number of articles around the same underperforming content will put you further from your goal and will often lead to poor results—not to mention the money you’ll have lost in creating underperforming content.
“If your content isn’t getting plenty of positive engagement from your audience and supporting a specific business goal, it’s not working,” writes Veronica Camara for UX Planet.
To avoid wasting time and money, make sure you have a strategy in place.
How to Create the Perfect Content Strategy for your Startup
Define your goals: Cooking with whatever is in the fridge can be a fun experiment, but usually, the best results come when you know who you’re cooking for and the ingredients you’ll need. Setting your goals in your business works similarly. They’ll keep you moving forward toward your long term vision. As you set your goals, be as specific as you can: Why do you want to produce content and set up a content marketing plan?
Conduct research: Content is not produced in a vacuum, it’s put out there in the world for a specific audience—your readers and potential customers. To produce a solid content strategy, you’ll need to keep your audience at the forefront of what you do. That includes asking them directly, via forms or social media, what topics they’d be interested in knowing more about.
Make sure you have a clear idea of who is your content for. Look at what your audience needs, what content already exists on the topic, and what potential content ideas exist based on what’s missing. Stay away from topics that are simply trends, because these tend to become outdated after a while.
Analyze your current content: Quite possibly your website is already populated with information, and you might even have a blog. Auditing your current content to see what’s working and what’s not will help you when setting new goals. You can also look at your competition to see what topics resonate with their audience, and figure out which ones they haven’t covered yet. That gap in the market between what people are interested in but don’t exist yet is exactly what you want to cover.
Define your type of content: Some of the most popular content formats are blog posts, case studies, templates, and infographics. Do you have incredible know-how on a certain topic? Then an e-book might be a great way to share what you know.
Brainstorm topic ideas: Ditch the notion that brainstorming is a matter of sitting around a table with your colleagues and extraordinary ideas will pop up miraculously. Don’t waste time trying to randomly come up with ideas. Instead, use data and research to find topics that you know will resonate with your audience.
Plan: Use a content calendar to manage all the great content you’ve created and to make sure it comes out at the right time. It doesn’t need to be expensive — you can create a simple and free content calendar using Google Calendar.
Measuring Your Strategy’s Success
Measuring your efforts is a crucial issue for content marketers, albeit measuring ROI on content can be a challenge. There’s no single way to to do it. Instead, try to focus on what is that makes sense for you based on your goals.
Traffic is a good place to start but make sure you pair it with a metric that tracks the quality of the traffic you are getting. For example, if you see thorough questions to your articles in the comments, that might be a good indicator that your readers are enjoying what you do.
Generally speaking, evaluating the success of your campaign on a content-by-content basis isn’t a great idea: it’ll prevent you from seeing the big picture of what works and what doesn’t. For example, if your goal is to increase your startup’s brand awareness, you might want to measure things like backlinks earned or even new talent attracted instead of sales generated.
If you’re a startup, content marketing will be your most important ally when it comes to growth. A clear content strategy is crucial to make sure your goals and the content your produce are aligned. It might take some time for your content strategy to produce tangible results, but if you’re in it for the long term, you’ll see your time and efforts pay back in the form of higher brand awareness, as well as improvement of your site’s SEO.
Producing evergreen content will help, because it doesn’t depend on trendy topics, which become relevant only for a limited amount of time. Instead, an update once in a while will ensure that it’s always fresh and relevant.
Use your strengths as a startup, like the ability to move fast and make decisions, to ensure your content is always resonating with your audience. Break the habit of creating more, and instead create better. You don’t need to spend a lot of money designing a content strategy—it’s all about creating high-quality content that your audience will enjoy.