Content Marketing Tips: Things Every Early-stage Startup Founder Must Know.
CONTENT MARKETING TIPS
So you have taken a leap of faith. That’s great! Starting a business alongside your studies or quitting your job to pursue your dream is a bold decision.
To make any brand success there are two essential factors:
- An amazing product and service
- Good marketing
A valuable product & fulfilling service – that ball is always in your court!
But, good marketing can be learnt with proper guidance.
“Nothing kills a bad company faster than good marketing”
Here is what Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak advised in his interview with CNBC.
In the initial stage, managing money can be gruelling. You might be the single-engine pulling the train. So, how advisable is it to invest in advertising & marketing?
Well, that’s good news! You don’t need to spend much when getting started with content marketing.
In this article, we will discuss the free & cheap content marketing ways for startups.
So, what is our agenda?
|● What is content marketing?
● The content reflects your brand image. Decide how you want to portray yourself.
● Is there any such thing as “the right time” for content marketing?
● How to decide the type of content & channel for a startup?
● Which channels can you leverage for free?
● Some effective channels for marketing your content.
● Types of Content Marketing [ Real-time Examples! ]
● Bonus! 20 Quick Content Marketing Tips for Startups.
What is Content Marketing?
Everything you read online is content.
News app notifications, Instagram live, your favourite podcast, Netflix series that you binge-watch, Tik-Tok videos, even this blog – all this is content.
Promoting your product, service, company or yourself using such content is Content Marketing.
It is the process of
- putting the right content
- in the right place
- at the right time
- in front of the right audience.
When these four factors blend well, you get maximum results.
Important of Content Marketing
So, why is content marketing in a boom these days?
- Content earns trust!
Imagine you saw a sponsored story on Instagram about a free eBook. You swiped up and went to the website.
The website is blank. There is only a basic form asking your email address.
Would you enter it?
Now, imagine the same website but with a logo, a few paragraphs, reviews, and some graphics here and there. And, then, there is the form.
This time, you would not think twice before filling it.
Don’t forget the Instagram story. The content spoke to you and “motivated you” to swipe up. If the content bad, you would not have taken that action.
So, this is what content does. It earns trust.
Imagine, if Swiggy website only had the search bar and nothing else.
- Content sells!
The content that converts your visitors into customers is called “Sales Copy”. Writing such sales copies is called “Copywriting”.
The SALE doesn’t only mean product purchase.
For bloggers, more visitors = more sales.
For YouTubers, more viewers & subscribers = more sales.
A sales copy tries to pursue reader, viewer or listener to take some action.
The action can be anything –
- buying a product
- reaching you about your service
- subscribing to your email list
- downloading a free book
- following you on your social media
- Watching your video or reading your blog
- Content makes customers spend more time on your website.
Did you realise how much time you have spent here reading this article?
The longer a customer stays on your website, more will Google trust you. [ And, more likely is he to make the purchase! ]
The onsite content doesn’t have to be business pages always. It can be blogs, infographics, videos, etc.
It also gives you other benefits such as improved domain authority and SEO. But, that story for another time!
- Higher Referral Traffic
Using referral links, Google tracks the traffic to your site from somewhere outside Google.
For example, if you click on this link, you will reach another website. But, you haven’t reached there from Google search results.
This is called “Referral Traffic” and the link is called a “Backlink”.
Guest blogging and affiliate marketing are two of the most powerful ways to create strong backlinks.
Ever saw the spam links in YouTube comments? These people try to create backlinks by spamming other people’s content.
[ Note that YouTube comments are a form of content in itself! It is user-generated. ]
- Improved customer relationships
When you post on social media, you open a direct communication channel between your company and customers. This helps companies to know what their customers are feeling.
When a company replies to a customer comment, he gets to see the human [ not a bot!] behind the profile.
There are many other benefits of content marketing. And, if you noticed, everything that we discussed until now is either free or cheap.
The content reflects your brand image. Decide how you want to portray yourself.
Every brand has a specific image. This works similar to real life.
We all have that one friend who is solemn and sincere in what he does. You won’t find this guy at a party.
We have another friend, who is a kook. He will crack jokes and will hit every party in the town.
But, both of them are equally close to you. They are equally trustworthy and dependable.
The case with brand images is the same!
There are 2 factors to consider before you write the brand content:
FACTOR 1 – How you want people to look at you
FACTOR 2 – Your Target Audience
The right time to start Content Marketing
Is there any such thing as “the right time” for content marketing?
This question has been debated over a lot. Many people recommend starting from the zero stage. Some people say that you have to build your credibility first.
Let us find the midway!
Have you watched The Big Bang Theory?
Remember the scene where Penny starts selling Penny Blossoms in Season 2, Episode 18?
Penny makes Penny Blossoms out of fun, sells them and earns some petty amount. Sheldon helps her turn it into a business. Leonard designs a website for her & includes the facility of “one-day rush”.
The second-order that she receives was “1000 Penny Blossoms to be delivered in a day” – Highly Unpredictable!
It’s called “Demand Spike”.
I won’t tell you what happens later in BBT.
But, I want you to remember what Sheldon says –
“Before we set up a marketing and distribution infrastructure, we should finish optimizing the manufacturing process.”
Quality content has incredible potential for Inbound Marketing.
Therefore, before marketing your content, ensure that if there is a demand spike in the initial months, you will be able to cope up.
As soon as you start marketing your content, hire help!
- If it is a service-based company, ensure that you have enough technical support to answer customer queries.
- If you are a freelancer, set ground rules for filtering the clients.
- In case of a blog, post at least 30-40 blogs. Otherwise, your readers will bounce off, thinking you are a newbie.
- As soon as you start making money, hire a content marketing team & generate more quality inbound leads.
Every startup is unique. There is no cookie-cutter solution to find the right time for content marketing.
Start writing consistently from the beginning. But, keep it limited.
Here are some steps to follow until you have a full-fledged content marketing team:
- Pen down your Startup’s mission.
- Create a buyer’s persona.
- Identify the favourite channel of the target audience.
- Set SMART content marketing goals.
- Start utilizing the channel.
- Slowly move to the buyers’ second-favourite channel.
- Leverage cross-platform promotion.
- Repurpose the successful content.
- Guest blog and guest post.
- Repeat and be consistent.
For example, if you are a content marketer,
- To assist companies to grow through content marketing.
- David, the buyer, is 30 years old and owns a startup. He needs content for blogs and social media.
- He is most active on Linkedin.
- How many/much followers, leads, engagement & earning I want in 30 days.
- Post valuable content on Linkedin.
- After 3.5 months and 25 clients, move slowly to Instagram.
- Promote new Linkedin posts through Instagram stories.
- Use successful posts from Linkedin & convert them into Instagram carousels.
- Start guest blogging.
- Repeat for Facebook and be consistent.
Content marketing is not something that can be started at any fixed point. It is a process that should start with low amplitude and increase gradually.
How to decide the right type of content & channel for a startup?
Choosing what type of content to use depends on multiple factors.
- Where is your audience? [On which platform]
- What is the age group?
- Where are they physically located? [ Example: British, American & Australian English difference! ]
- What do they like?
- What do they expect from a service provider or a seller?
If you are in a B2B business, LinkedIn is the best platform for you.
Because your audience is businesses owners and strategic managers. You will find them on LinkedIn instead of Facebook and Instagram.
Omnipresence is essential; no doubt in that! But, every platform demands something specific.
For example, Instagram wants crispy and visual content which their users can go through in a glimpse.
Therefore, you will first have to fix one platform.
This will decide what type of content you would be focusing on – Textual, Visual, Audio, etc.
If you are a clothing seller, use LinkedIn as your personal brand and build a community. Use Instagram and Facebook to sell the product.
If you are selling women clothes, your ideal audience age group is female from age 18 to 35. The major portion of this group is active on Instagram and Facebook.
Channels for marketing your content
Here are some effective channels for marketing your content:
Types of Content Marketing[ Real-time Examples! ]
When it comes to content marketing, there is no one formula to guess what type of content will work for you.
To know if the strategy is working, you have to give it some time.
For example, if you are starting a blog, it will take you around 8 to 12 months to catch considerable traffic.
There are a variety of content marketing practices. Many companies mix them.
Let’s take two examples:
Example 1: Godaddy.
- You watch their user-friendly ads on television. A technology-illiterate person can also understand what the ad wants to sell.
- They write easy-to-understand blogs.
- If you visit their Instagram, you will get to watch their realistic and inspiring user success stories.
- If you go to their Facebook, you’ll find content that connects with you on a human level and adds value to your life.
- If you visit their LinkedIn, you’ll find the content is very solemn, professional and authority-based.
- If you go to Pinterest, you will find eye-candy images with minimal content.
- Quora doesn’t allow direct marketing practices. But, if you check, the topic GoDaddy has 53k+ followers.
Example 2: Mailchimp
Mailchimp has explicitly mentioned their social media usage in their style guide.
This is called the blend of different types of content marketing.
You are omnipresent. But at the same time, you are fulfilling the requirements of every specific platform.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
20 Quick Content Marketing Tips for Startups:
- Guest blog and encourage your employees to guest blog in their niche.
- Use a strong call-to-action element.
- Use gamification.
- Provide easy & catchy sharing options.
- Use a lead magnet. (Free e-book, e-course, discount coupons, etc.)
- Be consistent with your posting schedule.
- Be consistent with the typography on your website, blogs, and every other place.
- Use two fonts – Minor and Major. (Many people like using a Serif & Sans-Serif combo)
- Create an excel sheet per social media. Note the free insights available. This will help you analyse your growth.
- Keep the navigation on your website easy.
- Invest in video marketing.
- Host giveaways and contests on social media.
- Explore the obscure marketing platforms such as SlideShare, Twitch, etc.
- Tell user stories.
- Leverage every trend.
- Promote testimonials effectively.
- Use FAQs to answer customer queries. It also helps improve word count and keyword density.
- Conduct webinars and online workshops. (Yes, it is a form of conveying the content.)
- Leverage email and newsletter marketing.
- Grip and promote user-generated content. (Forums, comments, social media tags, etc.)
Content marketing is an up-and-coming form of marketing that no business, whether small or big, can escape. Flourishing a company with a limited budget is difficult. But if you embrace content, you can save the marketing portion of your budget.
Internet is growing at a tremendous rate and a lot of content is being generated, every day. But, the good news is, it is still possible to stand out!
One word – Quality!
Practice Quality over Quantity.
Generate content for humans instead of bots. Avoid this sleazy mistake that many startups have been doing.
Content marketing, when done right, can fetch staggering results!
Author: Jui Shirvalkar
Jui is a content writer, planner and manager. She started out her writing journey back in 2017. Till now, she has worked with over 25 clients, across myriad niches. She worked with a technology company for a year as a content & copywriter. She had also associated with a publication for around 6 months as an academic writer. Writing exhaustive blogs with a pinch of personal touch is her strong-suite. Her goal is to assist startups to bloom into full-fledged businesses through the power of content marketing.
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Well drafted content about Content Marketing. Really impressed by this step by step explanation. This is one of the best written blog on Content Marketing. Thank you for this wonderful article.
Thank you for your useful tips.