So you want to start a content marketing strategy for your startup?
Great idea. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive targeted traffic, build your list, and increase sales for any business— and it’s especially great for startups.
But before you get started, make sure you have a plan in place.
Here are some of the top strategies that any startup can use to boost their content marketing efforts and reach their goals sooner.
Recommended reading: Combating Startup Marketing Challenges With These Simple Content Marketing Steps
Know Who You Are Targeting
The first thing you need to do before you even start writing your first blog posts is deciding exactly who you are targeting.
That means working out who your ideal customer is so you can provide them with exactly what they want in your content.
One good way to get going with this is to come up with a buyer persona. A buyer persona is not just your standard quick description of your target customer. It goes into a lot more detail about who they are, where they shop, what they like, what challenges they face, what they need, what they don’t need, etc.
Creating a buyer persona takes time. It’s not something that you can rush, and it should be something you do with your team. But once you have your persona, it will help you with all of your marketing—not just your content marketing.
Brainstorm Topics and Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you know who you are targeting, you can start planning how to reach out to them. In most cases, this will begin with your blog. To get organized use this editorial content calendar.
Your blog is where you can create and publish your very best content. This will be the foundation of your content marketing strategy. Whatever else you do with your content, you will need one place where you can publish your best information to generate links and traffic.
You will already have your buyer persona, so this should help you come up with ideas. Brainstorm blog ideas in your team to get started.
Topics might include:
- New products you are launching
- Product or service how-to guides
- Blogs introducing team members
- Industry news and events
- How readers can use your products or services improve their lives
As long as every topic you focus on provides value to your readers, it does not matter what you write about.
And don’t just stick to text—try to use videos, images, infographics, podcasts, slideshows, and more. What will be the most effective content for your target customers? That needs to be your main focus.
Develop a Keyword Strategy
Make sure you are focusing on the right keywords from the start. This will involve an in-depth keyword research plan.
Keyword research has changed a lot. It’s no longer about stuffing in as many keywords as you can. There are various techniques that can be effective.
Start by brainstorming keywords that you think people will use to find your products, services, and the questions they have about them.
To start with, you might want to focus on long tail keywords. These have lower traffic but they are hyper-targeted and are easier to rank for. Once you are ranking for a lot of long tail keywords, this can have a big impact on your organic traffic.
Another technique is to create pillar content and cluster content around your keyword groups. This is a large topic, but in short, it involves creating one lengthy page of detailed content and a number of shorter pages around the same topic that link back to the pillar page.
This tells the search engines that your pillar content is the authority on the topic, helping to boost its search presence for a wide range of keyword phrases.
With the right keywords and SEO tuned you may not see results for several months so you want to make sure you are going after the right keywords. If you’re not figuring out what keywords you should be using in your content, you might be getting traffic, but it’s not traffic that will turn into customers. So get this right.
Create a Downloadable Guide
One of the main points of content marketing is to grow your email list. When people discover your content and visit your website, you want to capture their details. That way, you can continue to target them with valuable content instead of risking them never coming back.
But to do this, you need to capture their email-right?
One way to do this is to create a lead magnet. This is simply an item of great value that you give away for free. The idea is that your visitors will be more than happy to give you their email address in order to get this valuable item for free, and you get one more subscriber on your list.
Using an easy lead magnet creation tool, like Designrr, can help you grow your email list 300% faster and drive up the revenue you for your startup.
One of the best lead magnets you can start with is a downloadable guide of some sort, like an ebook or a flip book. Whatever it is, make sure it packs in a lot of value to make it genuinely worthwhile getting on your list for.
Use Content Upgrades
Once you’ve got your lead magnet in place, experiment with other ways to encourage more people to sign up to be on your list.
One of these is to use content upgrades.
This is another effective tactic for increasing leads. Content upgrades involve using a popup in the middle of a blog post that provides the reader with the chance to get something of value related to the topic of the blog.
For example, you could publish a blog on five top tips for making e-commerce sales. Midway through the blog, or at the end, tell the reader that they can get their hands on a case study for a company that made $20,000 dollars in sales in one week using these exact techniques … in return for their email address.
Because content upgrades are directly related to the content of the blogs, and the reader has already shown they are interested in the topic, they can boost your sign-up rates.
Promote Your Content
We’ve already looked at the importance of using keywords, and this is primarily to boost your visibility in the search engines.
But using keywords is just the start. You need to get your content seen to make your content marketing a success.
It will be difficult to rank your content at the start, and your main focus should be on getting your content in front of your readers as well as influencers whose readers are similar to your target customers.
- Social media marketing
- Paid social
- Native advertising
… these all have their place in promoting your content. You could also reach out to influencers in your niche and build relationships with them, which can lead to more links and shares. Social media channels involved more than sharing your content and building reach. It is an essential channel; for increasing brand awareness, generating leads, nurturing prospects, connecting with your peers, and engaging with customers. Here’s an awesome social media calendar template.
Try different techniques and find out which one works best for you, which will depend on your industry, time available, budget, etc.
Make Your Content Marketing Pay Dividends
While content marketing can certainly be effective, it can also be a monumental waste of time if you go about it the wrong way.
Don’t be one of those startups that invests a huge amount of time and effort into creating a content marketing plan before deciding within a few months that it’s all wasted effort.
Make sure you develop a strategy, get your plan in place, and then give it time to start paying off. The rewards will be well worth it.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog to find insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories that will help you to develop and improve your marketing strategies. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.