Like any marketing, content marketing has to deliver a positive ROI with strategic content planning, production, and distribution to achieve business goals.
Content marketing can achieve these startup marketing goals for you
1 – Generate brand awareness, trust, loyalty, and engagement
2 – Get more traffic to your website/app
3 – Acquire leads/sales/app downloads
4 – Educate and engage potential customers/users
5 – Improve engagement and retention
6 – Build an email list
Things to know before you start with content marketing
A. Have clearly defined marketing objectives – Most likely, your startup wants to achieve one or more of the 6 goals above. But these goals have to be translated to clear marketing objectives.
1 – “I want 200 leads every month for my B2B business”
2 – “I want 12000 website visits every month”
Translate business goals to objectives. Think numbers and timeline. This gives clear direction to your startup’s content marketing strategy.
B. Investment – You can start content marketing for free (with sweat equity), with a monthly budget of $1000 USD, $5000 USD or more.
Most of the investment goes into research, content development, SEO and advertising.
Advertising may or may not be a part of your startup’s content marketing strategy. With SEO, content marketing can thrive without advertising. But not without good research and great content development. Also, content marketing works with SEO only if there is enough search demand that reflects a potential to reach a reasonable audience.
C. SEO and advertising – When integrated with SEO, content marketing becomes mighty powerful. Why? Because content gets traction from search engines for free without any advertising.
But what if there is a low search demand in your niche? In such a case integrating content marketing with SEO should not be something to die for. With low search demand on search engines, you will have to use advertising to get your content noticed.
Know this, depending on search engine optimization for content marketing is a long-term strategy that will start showing results in 5 to 8 months, assuming your current website authority is zero from an SEO perspective. But with advertising, content marketing starts working the moment you start running ads.
Your startup could be doing both. Pull with SEO, push with advertising. It largely depends on your customers, opportunities to touch them on digital, budget, marketing objectives, and competition.
D. Know your customers and how your startup helps them – Know as much as you can about your customers. Their age, gender, geography, interests, problem areas, and how they consume content online. Most likely you already know who your customers are. But, god is in the details. Think how your startup helps customers solve problems. What content do customers consume in your startup’s niche? What platforms they use on digital?
E. The website should complement content marketing – For content marketing to really work, your website needs to have minimum friction.
1 – The website should load quickly.
2 – Design and content should establish credibility and build trust
3 – It should follow the best practices of conversion rate optimization.
4 – On-page optimization for SEO has to be perfect.
5 – It should be easy for visitors to share your content on social.
6 – Add Google Analytics and Search Console to the site.
Key elements of a content marketing strategy
A. Content strategy – What content should you produce? This depends on the type of people you want to attract and actions you want them to take when they have consumed your content.
You could use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find global, national or local searches and monthly search volumes in your industry. This gives you an understanding of what content already has demand and is being consumed by your customers. If SEO is a part of your content promotion strategy, then this exercise is a must. If your content marketing strategy does not depend on SEO, even then this exercise should be done and used as a reference to research what content to produce.
B. What content formats work? – When you know what content your audience consumes, check the format used to showcase content that is already there. Some of the most used formats of producing content are blog posts, videos, presentations, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, social updates, and e-books.
C. Where to publish content? – You could publish content on
1 – your website,
2 – forums, Q&A sites, social media accounts, blogs on third party websites,
3 – media and industry websites.
If promoting content with paid advertising is a part of your content marketing strategy, you should publish content on your website. Because you would want complete control over the content, to make changes to the content published and get accurate data to improve content performance over time.
If you plan to acquire traffic from SEO in the long run, you should publish most of your content on owned assets. Again for complete control over content and data. This content can then be syndicated, shared and promoted across the web.
However, publishing content on media and industry websites occasionally should be a part of your content marketing strategy as it gets you instant exposure and can give a boost to your site’s SEO performance.
D. Promoting content? – You have produced a great piece of content that will help you generate leads. But it will not start working unless it gets read by the right people. There are 3 ways to promote content,
1 – Work on improving your content’s rankings in search engines to get traffic for free, (a long term strategy)
2 – Share content on owned assets,
3 – Use paid advertising to get people to visit your content.
E. Measuring results – Measure everything. How many people read the content, how many took the action you wanted them to take, and what channels bring the most conversions and at what cost.
F. Improve content marketing performance – Content marketing never stops. Keep researching content opportunities, improve content already published, invest in conversion rate optimization, and test different online advertising channels to promote content.
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