Content Marketing for Startups: How to Make it Work For You
Almost every organization is developing unique and engaging content these days, which is why there’s a shallow entry barrier for content marketing. Though easy and cost-effective, most brands are unable to utilize it to the fullest to achieve their organizational objectives.
It happens partially because the bar is getting higher and higher every year. What worked yesterday may not be working today. High-quality and appealing content receives the lion’s share of traffic and eyeballs, and the remaining brands end up fighting for a tiny amount of traffic.
According to a 2020 AHREFs study, around 90% of all content online receives almost zero traffic from Google. It might not sound very comforting for the startups, especially those not having sufficient cash to spend on content marketing.
This article discusses how to implement content marketing in the lowest budget to achieve the desired results.
Plan Your Content Marketing Campaign
When you begin implementing online marketing, you are confronted with multiple choices. Running PR and social media campaigns and creating podcasts and videos can be on top of your mind, but soon you may find it overwhelming. It can grow even more overwhelming when your budget is tiny.
According to a Microsoft study, people start losing attention after about 8 seconds, and it is falling further every year.
Content is exponentially increasing in volume. So, to grab the user’s attention, you need to be diligent and focus on quality and engagement.
The sheer number of online marketing channels used for your online marketing campaigns can be devastating as it decreases focus and leads to poor management.
In this competitive environment, you need to choose one or two channels and put in your best performance.
To compensate for the users’ decreasing attention span and content visibility, you may run short-term campaigns like getting featured on prominent platforms, news sites, and channels.
For example, you can promote your products on Product Hunt or increase your visibility by getting featured in Hacker News.
Find opportunities to speak in industry events. Create podcasts and share them on different platforms.
Through these action steps, you can increase your market understanding and create better opportunities to be in front of your target audience.
Here are the four tips to crack the content marketing code for startups.
1. Set Your Goals
Goal setting is a crucial step as it serves many purposes, such as communicating the business objectives to the team, tracking progress, and team management. It also helps provide direction and focus to the team and optimize team performance.
Your organizational goals keep your team motivated even after a setback.
Pro Tip: You will find your goals easy to achieve if you split them into smaller objectives and even smaller targets for better measurement.
Setting goals is essential to keep your eyes on the bigger picture and prevent your team members from feeling overwhelmed.
To create awareness and buzz around your brand, you can do the following:
- Organize an industry event for better networking and build industry relationships
- Organize PR activities
- Build a blog or set up a podcast channel to create awareness and drive traffic to your website
2. Define Your KPIs
With well-defined content KPIs, you can easily measure your performance. It would help if you had exact and specific targets to easily track your performance. Here are some of the content marketing KPIs you can follow:
- Unique Website Visitors
- Time (spent) on page
- Inbound Links
- Comments and interactions
- Cost per Click (CPC)
- Cost per Lead (CPL)
- Number of Leads
- Annual Contract Value (ACV)
- Influence (Leads, opportunities, or closed deals)
- Conversion rates
- Followers and subscribers
You can have specific targets such as publishing 30 press releases by September or 10 keyword-oriented blog posts every month as pillar content on your website. You can also set marketing targets by hosting five meetings with micro-influencers every month.
3. Use Appropriate Messaging
Your marketing messaging is crucial to your startup’s success as it helps you convey the value and benefit your product or services offer your target audience. You should carefully plan it as it’s used everywhere, from social media posts to ad scripts and blog posts.
Conveying the right message moves your prospects down the sales funnel, helping you convert your prospects into leads and paying customers. You can engage with your audience by discussing their pain points and how you can offer a unique and practical solution for the same.
Pro Tip: Content marketing messaging should be educational and not salesy.
Pro Tip: Every time you create content, your audience anticipates a story from you. So, be a storyteller.
Your messaging should vary according to the stage of the user in the marketing funnel. The message for the first-time website visitor shouldn’t be the same as you would like to flash in front of someone who is in the consideration phase and have already received a couple of drip emails.
4. Use Various Promotion Techniques
When you plan to implement online marketing, you are confronted with numerous choices. Running PR and social media campaigns and creating podcasts and videos can be on top of your mind, but soon you may find it daunting when you realize you have budget and time constraints.
Would you like to know the secret recipe of success in content marketing? Publishing more and more content is not a standard formula. On the flip side, it can be counterproductive. To drive maximum value and ROI, focus on generating fewer content pieces. What you can do instead is to repurpose and reuse this content into various other forms of content and take it to the audience by scheduling and rescheduling it on social media.
For example, we can create a webinar or a long tutorial video and split it into small videos and audio clips. You can reuse these small clips as social media posts or blog posts to turn them into rich media. People work hard on producing content, but once content is published, they gather dust on their website or YouTube channel.
The best content strategy for startups is to extract the maximum juice from your content by repurposing it into a blog post, pro tips, actionable insights, a slide deck presentation, an infographic, a picture message, a small video, a podcast, etc. This way, you will have enormous content to share on social media for a long time, eventually decreasing your content product cost and increasing your content marketing ROI.
So essentially, you can implement content marketing for startups without an astronomical budget if you know how to effectively reuse it.
The success rate in content marketing is relatively low because the bar is getting higher and higher. With 79% of the marketers using content marketing, the competition increases almost every day. People are no longer happy with regular content that adds little or no value. They want powerful yet compact content that adds value. Such content also increases engagement and ROI. Complacency can kill you even if there is no entry barrier in content marketing.
The big brands produce excellent content because they have the funds and resources to invest. It has raised the bar for midcap and smaller companies. Apart from that, millions of writers, marketers, and brands create free content because they want visibility.
How to Make Content Marketing Work for Your Startup?
Another major issue responsible for the deteriorating visibility of content is people’s waning interest in branded content. So, unless your content resolves the reader’s issues and addresses their pain points, they are unlikely to spend time reading your content. Here are a few things you can try to make content marketing work for your startup.
- Focus: Don’t work on multiple channels as it may overwhelm you and bring down your overall performance. Master just a few channels and put in all your efforts.
- Quality: Acquiring proficiency and producing quality content takes time. So, rather than focusing on the metrics, you should focus on the quality, especially in the initial phases. When quality becomes a habit, it becomes easier to produce content people love.
- Consistency: If you think the compounding effect is applicable only to finance, you might be wrong. Content marketing is also an excellent example of the compounding effect. As you start building your content repository, you start getting noticed by the search engines and attracting traffic through them. Gradually the traffic starts increasing exponentially. That is probably why the big brands term content marketing as miraculous.
But, simply because content marketing is so effective, you shouldn’t deduce that producing more content is akin to achieving the best results. Holly Pels says that creating more content can be counterproductive as your cost shoots up and quality worsens.
Create Memorable Content
Startups use content marketing to produce their go-to marketing messages. But here’s the catch. Lots and lots of companies are making similar content to get noticed. So, to differentiate your content from others, you need to create remarkable content. That’s perhaps a significant reason why startups don’t succeed in content marketing.
SEO and social clicks should lead to fan following and conversion. If it doesn’t happen, your website fails in its ultimate objective — brand building.
Writing is about crafting content that matches your audience’s interest, resolves their problems, embodies your tone of voice, and creates a fan base. Uniqueness is the essence of successful content marketing.
Pro Tip: Create unique content and make it memorable. Creating poor quality or generic content equals creating no content at all. With the run-of-the-mill content, you won’t succeed in content marketing.
Good content strengthens your brand and makes a product top of mind when your prospect decides to buy the products or services similar to yours.
Some famous brands share a slice of their office life, employee stories (workplace storytelling), and an inside look at company culture, which often generates curiosity. It also helps make the content go viral. It works both ways. When employees are encouraged to share their stories online, it builds an attractive and lovable work culture. On the flip side, your customers trust and respect your organization when they see that employees are valued, and the information comes directly from them.
Pro Tip: To automate employee advocacy programs, you can use an employee advocacy tool like EveryoneSocial.
Buffer’s Open Blog and Vanguard’s employee stories are great examples of how you can use employee stories to enhance branding.
Adobe’s workplace storytelling on the Adobe Blog and social media is also an excellent example of it.
Content marketing is highly effective for startups, but you shouldn’t expect immediate results for keyword rankings, links, or views. However, in the beginning, it will help you get market validation for different ideas.
In the later stages, you’ll learn how to leverage different content pieces to attain your SEO, lead nurturing, and PR objectives. Startups have an advantage over established brands in terms of agility, so they should focus on building a community first. Later on, you can produce 10X content to beat your closest rival.
How to Do Content Marketing on a Small Budget?
Here are a few things you can try to implement content marketing for startups at a small budget.
- Create a YouTube channel
- Join or launch an industry podcast
- Seek speaking opportunities at industry events and conferences
- Host and record webinars and share them on social media
- Create branded content
- Leverage influencer marketing
- Join online communities
- Create industry reports, stats, manuals, and trends
- Exert your presence on ProductHunt
- List your products on AppSumo and eBay
- Share your blog posts and articles on LinkedIn Pulse and Medium
- Repurpose your content into different content formats
- Split large content pieces such as a long video or a blog post into small social media posts
Content marketing is the best strategy for building communities, conducting online marketing, increasing organic visibility, and generating and capturing demand. Still, many people don’t succeed because they lack focus, commitment, and consistency.
The key to success is focusing on a limited number of channels and initiatives as soon they start getting overwhelming. Choose your initiatives according to the interests and preferences of your audience, so you can get immediate feedback and leads.
Choose the channels where your target audience spends most of their time. Try to master one channel before jumping on to the next. If you try to manage too many things simultaneously, even the best startup marketing campaigns will fail.
Continue tracking and measuring to explore what works best in your niche and repeat those activities with a fresh perspective.
Suppose you can’t afford quality content or have a problem finding excellent writers. In that case, you can avail DashClick’s white-labeled content services to deliver your clients beautiful and unique written content like clockwork. It’s the best way to generate more organic traffic and leads.