3 things start-ups can do to get their content marketing right
It’s been over seven years since I last started a company, so getting Utterly Content Ltd off the ground is giving me all the thrill of doing it all over. This time, I have some tough lessons under my belt and things I’ll do differently.
Over seven years the world of marketing has also changed significantly. With a new company working for multiple sectors, we’re having to approach our own marketing differently. As a content marketing agency, it makes a great deal of sense that a strong focus of our own marketing is on – you guessed it – content marketing.
But let’s say we were another start-up company, who didn’t have existing skills and expertise in content strategy and content marketing. Well, here are the top three things that we’d recommend start-up companies focus on to get their content marketing right from the start.
1) Invest time and resource into audience research
Audience research is one of the services we offer that we strongly advise our clients invest in if they haven’t already.
Content marketing only really works well if you know you audience well, and know what motivates them. We recommend spending time, effort (and, yes, money) on getting to know your audience well. Specifically to help support your content marketing efforts you need to gain insights into:
- The types of answers that your audience is searching for, not just in relation to your product or service (though that is helpful), but also in a wider sense. By knowing what else preoccupies their minds you will understand what your “content competition” is and how to work with it, instead of against it.
- The channels and platforms that they use, and how they use them in different cultural contexts. A member of our target audience may proactively chat and respond to their friends on Facebook, but put them in the cultural context of a relationship with your business, and they may morph more into “spectator” type activities. Understanding the ways in which they use online communities and social technologies can really help you to plan how you should use them.
- The types of content that they seek out, love and share. We love testing this out on different audiences to really gain a deep understanding of what motivates people to look at your content, engage with it (like or comment) or share it with others. Through understanding this you can start to tailor your content to the types that you know are more likely to encourage your target audience to behave as you need them to.
2) Set up a blog and an editorial calendar for regular posts
“Does anyone even read blogs anymore?” I hear that a lot. The answer is, yes, absolutely. But they may not realise that they’re reading a blog. And whether people choose to subscribe to blogs and RSS feeds in the way we did a few years ago is questionable. So, using a blog without promotional tools to get your posts out there is a little like shouting in the wilderness.
But, promotional tools or no promotional tools, search engines and social media sites are increasingly preferencing great quality, well-crafted content over and above the outdated preference for link-stuffing and key-word-loaded content. A blog is really the central space for your content marketing activity, sharing useful, relevant and interesting content and drawing people towards your site through search engines or social media.
Simply having a blog is not enough though. You must nurture and care for it, lovingly tend to it. If you feed it and care for it, it will grow to be fruitful for your business. And so, you also need an editorial calendar and to make a habit of creating content for your blog. Our handy guide on creating a content habit may help.
3) Have patience
With content marketing you’re in for long-haul, high yield activity. Whereas advertising campaigns may quickly drive a high number of clicks, content marketing will drive more relevant clicks. In other words you’re more likely to get qualified leads to your website through well crafted content marketing approaches. The numbers may be smaller, but they’ll be a better quality visitor.
Some content marketing can deliver quick returns. Within days of setting up the Utterly Content website we were already getting hundreds of visitors to the site. Why?
- Because we had already started to share useful content on the site and resources, instead of just talking about our services.
- Because we coupled our activity with social media engagement, which we too accept will be slow burn but we can get some quicker initial wins with tactics like using the right hashtags, following people to make them aware of us, and using influencer engagement to reach relevant audiences through other people sharing our content for us with their larger networks.
Content marketing can deliver some immediate returns, but you should maintain a sense of patience while that content trickles out there, and while those communities grow that ultimately will reap you high rewards.
If you would like help with your content marketing for your start-up company, then please don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help.