Content Marketing Tips for Startups

Author Clodagh O'Brien

Getting started in content marketing, especially if you're working at a startup, can seem daunting. It involves more than simply creating stimulating, engaging blog posts, videos, and infographics to drive sales, which is difficult enough as it is, but also you have to be an expert in spreading awareness across the digital world. 

Beyond writing enjoyable copy or creating high-quality visuals, you have to integrate the use of content management tools, website data, and social media algorithms to boost your content's performance. Many hats must be worn if you want your content marketing strategy to be successful.

It also requires a lot of self-scrutiny. How is your content research strategy panning out? Does your content live up to expectations? Can you analyze the reasons why something was a failure while something else was a success? Are sales goals ultimately being met? Those people who are able to understand both sides of content marketing, the creative and analytical, will be the ones to truly harness the power of content creation.

If you can do that, you will be sure to see enormous gains as your company grows. Studies suggest content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, yet it generates three times as many leads. Large companies can afford to spend money on both old and modern methods of marketing, but startups have to be more innovative. Here are some simple yet crucial content marketing tips for startup companies.

Set Clear Content Marketing Goals

It's a common mistake among startups, which may not have a clearly defined content marketing strategy. Creating content without defining a goal and losing steam after dumping resources into something that demands to be fed constantly without seeing much results can drive anybody crazy. What you need to do is figure out how to measure success in a meaningful and achievable way. Decide what your key performance indicators will be and go from there. Remember that sales, not website traffic or shares on social media, should be the main goal.

Here are a few simple steps to help you set clear content marketing goals.

Find Your Target

What do you want to achieve with content marketing? Let's say you want to be a thought leader in your industry in order to boost your reputation as an influencer in your field. Boom! Now you have a goal in mind. Stay focused and do what needs to be done to achieve this status.

Make Goals Measurable

 It's important to make sure your goals can be measured. This gives you an opportunity to find out what things work and what can be improved. It also has a positive psychological effect. If you can see the results of your hard work, it encourages you to continue growing and push even harder. You get to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Continuing with the example above—you want to be a thought leader—it's possible to measure success by counting the number of times you've been tapped for information or to be a source for a news story. As your reputation continues to grow, you will also be able to track how many conversions were made from different inbound channels.

Goals Must Be Achievable 

Always aim high, but try to stay realistic. It would be fantastic if you could make $1 million in your first month, but, honestly, is it within the realm of possibility? If you set goals that are achievable, you can test to see if your strategy is actually working without being deflated. Historical data is a safe way to come up with a realistic strategy.

Stick With Relevant Goals

Social media shares can be a great way to promote your brand and increase exposure, but at the end of the day retweets on Twitter and Facebook likes don't actually make you money. It's great if you can establish a large following and get the word out about your product or service, but social media stats aren't always a useful metric. Driving traffic to your site is one thing, but making sales is another.

Give Yourself a Deadline

Stick to a timeline with your goals. By defining a time frame for your content marketing strategy, you can always take a step back and evaluate whether or not you're where you need to be. If you're too far off your target, consider switching things up to hurry everything along.

Defining success should be straightforward. Set a sales goal and a time frame. If you haven't met your goal, you need to figure out the reason why.

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Having a content marketing strategy should be part of the foundation of your entire venture, and documenting your plan for creating digital content is central to your marketing efforts. It gives everything structure and keeps thing organized while providing a framework to help you stay consistent. It's a guiding light that ensures you pump out work with a long-term vision in mind.

Pick a Content Management System

One of the decisions you have to make is which content management system you want to use. Whether you settle on something like Wordpress or another professional CMS, be sure to choose an interface and price point that works best for you. If you don't want to invest too much in a platform, you can even share content on a platform such as Medium. Either way, the CMS you use should be intuitive and be suited to help you achieve your content marketing goals.

Brainstorm Topics

Decide early on the types of content you wish to create and the topics of discussion you will be touching. It helps if you have a session with co-workers from both marketing and sales departments to come up with different ideas. Just throw a few ideas around, and you'll get people talking in no time. Anything that drums up controversy or leads to intense discussion is the type of issue you will want to address. There's a reason people can't help but discuss hot-button topics. Brainstorming can also help generate off-the-wall, thinking-outside-the-box ideas.

Cover the Buyer's Journey

One way of helping a customer move forward in the sales process is by publishing content relevant to the different stages of the buyer's journey. Create content which helps guide them through any decision-making that needs to be done. Be sure to include calls to action, which may compel prospects to take the plunge.

Distribute on Social Media

Social media savvy can go a long way when it comes to sharing content and increasing exposure of your brand. Find out which platforms work best with different types of content and tailor it as necessary. Engage with your target audience and be active within the community. Cover as many social networks as you deem fit.

Create an Editorial Calendar

 It may take a lot of effort, but trust us it's well worth it. Creating an editorial calendar can give you a path to follow for an entire year of digital content production. It can also help you establish a publishing schedule and can help you decide how to spread out different types of content. Also be sure your strategy produces no gaps.

Invest in Content Marketing Tools

To create effective and shareable content, you need to be tapped into what people in your industry are talking about. What problems do they have that need to be solved and what kind of help are they asking for? Thankfully there are a number of software options available to help you parse this information.

A good content marketing tool will help you stay in the loop while ensuring your relevant content is entered into the conversation. Find out what keywords are hot at the moment and use them within your content to boost your search ranking. Search engine optimization is one of the keys to success. Google's first page is holy ground.

It also helps if you pay attention to what's trending in industry circles. This is a great way of generating content ideas, and your content marketing tools should be able to help inform you. In addition, if you see something popular published by a competitor, see if you can to it better.

Build Relationships

Startups usually operate on a tight budget, which means you probably don't have money for public relations. That's why you need to get creative. If you can get influencers to give you a shoutout, it could provide your brand with a big boost. The best way to get this to happen is by building relationships with them. Offer your help and insight, and maybe they will owe you a favor someday.

Don't Forget to Feature Your Own Videos

In the beginning, content creation comes off as an enormous hassle, but it can truly pay off in the end. By their very nature, startups need to improvise, adapt and overcome in order to survive. But that's all part of the chase. If you want to last long in any industry, a strong and consistent content marketing strategy can help pave the way for a profitable economic future for your company.

Clodagh O'Brien
Senior Content Specialist