A Guide to
Content Marketing for Startups
Content marketing provides startups with a cost-effective and sustainable method for attracting and retaining an audience through content. It helps you nurture a relationship with this audience, answer their questions about your business, and build their trust in your brand. As a result, you can convert some members of this audience into leads, customers, and brand advocates.
Moreover, content marketing can help your brand build a voice as an authority in your industry. This leads to better visibility for your brand and a more trustworthy image where your business is concerned.
And, most important of all, your customers prefer to see content rather than ads. They are more receptive to the messages found in content than the ones that advertisements communicate to their target audience. With content marketing, you can take advantage of this to communicate the benefits you offer more effectively.
So, what do you need to get started? How do you create a strategy for content marketing for startups? Read on to find out.
Get a Free Quote
The Importance of
Content Marketing for Startups
What Startups Need before Pursuing Content Marketing
- How will content contribute to the accomplishment of your company objectives?
- What are your long-term content goals?
- What are the types of content you will publish?
- Who is responsible for content planning and creation? Are there any positions or responsibilities that require outsourcing or filling in?
- What are your brand and content guidelines?
- What is the journey you want your audience to take with your brand into becoming customers? How will you engage them through content in every stage of this journey?
- Your overall brand and product positioning and messaging
- A website with all the necessary pages and optimized for search engine traffic and conversions
- Conversion paths for your customers (includes lead magnets, calls to action, free trial offers, discount offers, etc.)
- Analytics tracking the relevant marketing channels (website, email, social media, and SEO)
How to Build a
Content Marketing Strategy
Creating a content marketing strategy is essential for any business. It makes your content marketing efforts more effective and ensures their alignment with your business objectives. Moreover, as a startup, creating one now can help you learn what works for your business and develop better content marketing strategies in the future. Here are the steps you need to take to create one for your startup:
1. Clarify the purpose of content marketing for your startup
Clarifying your purpose for content marketing will remind your team why you are creating content, what action you want your audience to perform after consuming your content, and what these actions contribute to your business objectives.
You probably have determined your purpose for using content for marketing your business. But, it is still important to state this in your content marketing strategy so that everyone involved is on the same page. Moreover, having this in your content marketing strategy may inspire some of your team with fresh and untapped content ideas for your startup.
2. Identify your goal/s for content marketing
You need to know what you want to achieve from your content marketing strategy before you can plan the rest of it. But, you can’t just set any goal and move on. You need to set goals that are clear, realistic, time-bound, and measurable.
Here are some questions you need to answer for each goal you want to achieve through your content marketing strategy:
- What is it you want to achieve? Is it more leads, better brand awareness, improved customer engagement, more conversions, improve customer retention, or encourage customer advocacy?
- What are your key performance indicators for these goals? What is the specific value for these metrics to equate to a successful strategy?
- Can you achieve this goal based on your current situation and benchmarks?
- When is your deadline for this goal? Do you have enough time to achieve this within the timeframe?
3. Create your audience personas
You will have a difficult time marketing your business through content if you do not know your audience. Creating audience personas for your content is an effective way to create relevant content and distribute it through the right channels.
An audience persona is a fictional representation of a group of similar individuals in your target audience. These are created on real insights acquired from detailed customer research based on direct conversations, data collection, and data analysis. An audience persona can provide you with the following information:
- Demographic information (age, job title and function, industry, and income)
- A typical day in their life
- Their specific objectives that are relevant to your business
- Their demeanor in their professional life
- Obstacles that may stop them from choosing what you offer
- Their burning questions about your business, product, or service
- Their preferred content channels, formats, medium, tone, style, and voice
- Variables that influence their content consumption (industry authorities, colleagues, friends, and internal and external events)
Since an audience persona represents only one group of similar individuals, you will more likely need a few more to gain a better understanding of your audience.
Keep in mind that audience personas do not remain as they are. They evolve as you learn more about your audience and expand the reach of your business. This is more evident with startups since you only have your ideal customers as the basis for your first audience persona.
4. Create your brand story
It is easy for your content to look like other brands’ content if you do not take intentional strides toward differentiating it from your competition. This is where a brand story can help with your content marketing strategy.
A brand story can create a unique image of your business that others will find almost impossible to copy. It can also help your brand connect with your audience by creating a more relatable image. Overall, it can prevent your online content from looking and sounding just like everyone else’s.
You can create a brand story from your business’ purpose, history, or corporate mission. You can also draw inspiration for it from the difficulties your business experienced and the origins of how your product or service came to be.
5. Identify worthwhile topics for your content
Planning the topics that you will cover with your content will create a smoother process for content creation. However, you can’t just use any topic for your content. You must create content based on topics that your audience will find valuable and that will contribute to your goals.
When researching topics for your content, it is best to first identify broad topics that are of interest to your audience or relevant to your business. You can use the following questions and the corresponding methods to identify topics for your content marketing efforts:
What topics are in demand among your target audience?
You can identify which topics are in demand through keyword research. You can use Google Trends, Google Search Console, and other keyword research tools to identify which topics related to your startup have a high search volume.
You can also look for common questions people ask on question-and-answer websites, social media platforms, and online forums that are relevant to your business. These questions can give you some ideas on the information your target audience will find valuable.
What topics will your audience personas find valuable?
Audience personas give insight into your audience’s motivations, frustrations, interests, and demographics. Use this information to find content ideas that are relevant to your startup and that will provide value to your audience.
What topics are doing well for other websites, brands, and pages?
Researching brands, websites, and businesses that are relevant to your startup is a great way to find topics for your content. You can find which of their content you can take inspiration from through competitive analysis with tools for website, SEO, and social media analytics.
6. Determine the content formats you will use for your strategy
You can create content in several ways with the different topics you have researched in the previous step. Each format has its use and it is important to go back to your goals before choosing which ones you will use.
Don’t worry about the work involved with choosing several; formats for promoting your startup. You can repurpose one format to another to expand your reach with content marketing. For example, you can repurpose your website blog posts to create videos and infographics to share on social media.
Here are some of the popular formats you can use for marketing your startup through content:
These are often posted through your website. But, you can also post shorter articles on social media. Blog articles are great for:
- Attracting search traffic
- Establishing industry authority
- Educating your audience
- Answering common questions and concerns about your offer
- Addressing audience pain points
- Sharing about your company culture
Videos are one of the most consumed content formats today. It is great for telling your brand story, explaining your offer, demonstrating how to use your product, and engaging, nurturing, and educating your audience.
Podcasts are a great format for covering topics in-depth. And, with its collaborative nature, you can use it to interact and discuss relevant topics with thought leaders, industry peers, and your audience.
Infographics make it easier for your audience to understand complex topics. You can use it to complement your blog posts, simplify your longer forms of content, or create a more shareable version of it.
Lead magnets or gated content are used to attract potential leads and build mailing lists. These are offered to your audience in exchange for their name and contact details. Examples include:
- Case studies
- Gated infographics
- White papers
Emails are great for providing your audience with personalized content. Through email marketing tools, you can differentiate your email list members and send them their preferred topics and formats. Emails are great for nurturing your audience, identifying quality leads, converting leads to customers, and promoting content
Testimonials and reviews
These provide social proof to your startup’s prospective customers. It shows your audience how an existing client used your product or how you provided a service to achieve their goal or solve their problem.
Sales enablement content
This format targets users who are considering buying what you offer. Some examples include:
- Product features and specifications
- Pricing information
- Frequently asked questions
- Customer onboarding content
- Sales and landing pages
7. Decide how you will distribute your content
This is the part on how you will put your content in front of your readers. Of course, your decision here will affect how your content will appear. Here are
- Landing pages
- Social media
- Video sharing platforms
- Email subscriber lists
- Paid ads
- Influencer marketing
- Social media shares and mentions
- Third-party reviews
Distribution and promotion can occur on the same platform or be distributed on one platform and promoted on at least one other platform. The best example for the first scenario is social media. You are distributing your content through it and promoting it organically or through paid ads. On the other hand, the latter scenario applies to your website content where promotion occurs through SEO, third-party links, or social media shares.
8. Fill up your content calendar
A content calendar schedules and organizes your content creation and publishing timeline. This will help you plan your content around key events, dates, and launches. It helps with identifying any gaps in your schedule and ensuring that you have enough time to create and publish your content.
Your content calendar should cover the whole period of your content marketing strategy. However, it is important to only start filling in the specifics at least a month before to give room for any recent changes or updates in your industry.
Your content calendar should provide the following details about each piece of your content:
- Blog article title
- Social media post copy
- Target audience
- Purpose in the customer journey (awareness, consideration, decision, retention, or advocacy)
- Draft due date
- Supporting media (images, videos, and graphics)
- Primary keywords (if applicable)
Are You Ready to
Turn Those Content Ideas Into Reality?
Content marketing requires significant work before startups can even start using it to promote their product or service. If you are still working on your strategy or any prerequisites mentioned in this guide, we would love to help you with it. Contact us today and tell our experts here at Big Market Solutions how we can help.