In the year 2020 when Covid019 pandemic struck the world, a survey was conducted to find out which marketing channels work well for start-ups. Out of 1000 start-ups, Facebook marketing was preferred by 69.6 percent of the start-ups. The second most preferred mode of marketing was email marketing at 64.1 percent; followed by direct mail at 52.4 percent; Instagram at 48.3 percent; Twitter at 47 percent; Print Ads at 45.7 percent; and Paid Searches at 42.8 percent. Content Marketing strategy for start-ups was way down the order at less than 30 percent.
The start-ups then had not reckoned with the fact that Content Marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing, and can generate 3x as many leads as traditional marketing for every pie spent.
It clearly shows the enormous power of Content Marketing and what can be achieved if content marketing is integrated as a part of marketing plans.
It is a cost-effective means of building brand authority and awareness. Without it, start-ups can have a tough time getting established; finding clients for their products/services; and even, demonstrating their authority to search engine users.
GUIDE FOR START-UPS
To help your start-up get it right with Content Marketing, here are some tips that will show it how to walk the right path.
KNOW WHO THE TARGET AUDIENCE IS
When compared to established organizations, the risks are higher for start-ups, as their existing customers may be scarce or worse still, zero.
Hence, identifying the right target audience and appealing to their aspirations early on will benefit the start-ups the most, and also, help to get their business on its feet.
An ideal customer generally is someone who can contribute to the start-up’s business growth, well-being, and above all, survival than someone who will cost more to poach or keep around. Such customers can also keep your start-up business afloat in its early stages of development.
Once you know who your target audience is, the next step should be to understand what they want; and what they look for. You need to grasp the customer’s thought process clearly, and what information they generally look for in your kind of products/services.
The inputs gathered will help you to make appropriate content-related decisions that align with their aspirations, and expectations.
LAY DOWN YOUR CONTENT GOALS
Just like you have your start-up company goals, similarly you should have proper content goals that align with your start-up’s goals. In short, your content goals must match your start-up’s goals.
Now, let us say your start-up is engaged in making new-generation medical products and intends to reach out to its target audience. Then, your content must speak about the products in a way that will instantly engage the audience.
In case, you are still clueless about what content needs to be developed, then put yourself into their shoes and walk through the customer journey.
This will give you an idea as to what information they look for before buying your products or hiring your services, as the case may be; and what drives them to take a positive decision.
This way, you will get a clear picture of your content roadmap and what content needs to be created, and in which format they need to be developed, which clearly addresses each stage of the customer journey.
The more you learn about your audience, the easier it will become for you to determine what they want and find success with your content marketing for start-ups.
CRAFT THE RIGHT CONTENT STRATEGY
Content marketing strategy for start-ups needs to be well thought-out and crafted.
Ideally, content marketing strategy for start-ups should
- Start with your business goals and offerings (products/services). If done otherwise, it can reduce the significance of your brand identity in less than 12 months or fuel irrelevant traffic that is of little or no use.
- Focus on not just developing good quality content but also taking into consideration relevant key-performance metrics (KPIs), and then work towards achieving them.
Aside from the above, you must also get your content marketing strategy right; and invest in it at the right time. Start-ups in the seed round will be still searching for their appropriate product-market fit and generally will have modest funds to invest in content marketing. It will be more of a risk if they choose to invest.
Similarly, brands that command less authority will generally take longer to generate positive SEO results. While early start-ups cannot expect positive results for 1-2 years, start-ups in the Series A bracket who generally have healthy funding, as well as brand identity, can return positive growth in six to eight months’ time.
Based on the kind of start-up you are, the appropriate strategy would be to go with a content marketing strategy that includes ways to achieve your content goals; and measurable metrics to define the success of your content strategy. If done accordingly, it will significantly help your content marketing to realize its full potential.
WORK OUT DIFFERENT CONTENT STRATEGIES
Just like you need to take risks to achieve your start-up goals, similarly you need to experiment with different content marketing strategies and have a plan B and plan C in place if your plan A fails to make an impact.
As a start-up, you will be in a better position to experiment with different plans and strategies than an established company. So, take the chance to explore different options and also have a flexible plan in place to seamlessly transition between options when one option fails.
Having different plans and strategies will also help your start-up to seamlessly adapt to the latest trends and make sure that your content marketing strategy reflects the trending changes.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT CONTENT DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
Content marketing strategy for start-ups will go nowhere if it is not adequately backed by the right content distribution channels.
There are many content distribution channels. However, this does not mean you should choose all of them or choose whatever is to your taste. Your selection should ideally be based on what channels the audience uses to search for your kind of products/services, and most likely to buy from them.
So, when you look to choose the appropriate content distribution channels, you need to do proper planning and research that is well-supplemented by smart thinking and robust testing.
If you are a start-up involved in promoting and selling handicrafts products, then your content distribution channels should ideally be a combination of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos. While Facebook and Instagram should be used to display the product’s content information, YouTube videos on the other hand should focus predominantly on highlighting the handicrafts products and their benefits.
Ultimately, content distribution channel selection should complement the content marketing strategy for start-ups.
CONDUCT PERIODIC REVIEW OF CURRENT CONTENT
When you’re in business, whether as a start-up or as an established company, you need to keep pace with the audience’s preferences and expectations. Audiences’ expectations keep changing from time to time, and so what you promote yesterday may not exactly pander to their expectations today or even tomorrow.
So, it is a good and even safe idea to review your existing social media content.
Let us take the example of blogs here. To understand which aspects of your blog content need a fresh look, you can
- Start a conversation and foster engagement on your blog. You can ask them which part of the blog needs changes or which content posts they prefer to see more in the blog.
- Use analytics tracking tools. It will give you precise statistical data on the quality and relevance of your content. You will get a better idea of what kind of users visits your blogs; and what kind of content they read and spend time on more.
COMPETITIVE CONTENT ANALYSIS
Apart from understanding your audience’s tastes and preferences, it is also vital to understand how your competitor’s content is doing. This will help you to ascertain their strong and weak points.
By analyzing your competitors’ content and content marketing strategy, you will get to understand what strong points can be integrated into your own content and content marketing strategy; and what weak areas can be avoided and filtered out from yours.
SET UP SEO METRICS
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) metrics are vital.
They are critical to understanding how search engines ascertain and recognize your content. In many ways, they are the best way to decide which content marketing for start-ups works best.
You will get to know how your content stands in the eyes of the users, and whether they are effective enough to attract users time and again; create brand awareness; and generate quality leads that add to your sales funnel.
INVOLVE INFLUENCERS IN CONTENT CREATION
How your start-up makes a beginning is crucial to its evolution and knowing whether it is on the right track or not.
Involving influencers in social media content creation will help to widen your start-up’s reach, something that is critical if it happens to be just making its way in its line of industry. Besides, as people who have a large and dedicated audience base who trust what they say and what brands they promote, they can push your content strategy to work right away.
To earn their trust, you can exchange your products/services for their content and promote it the way they are known for, without having to sign a contract. Additionally, they can be encouraged to give honest reviews about your products/services and make them known to their audience.
As a start-up, your main goal is to emphasize your offerings and find the right product-market fit.
To achieve success, you need to properly and effectively harness the power of content marketing.
Content Marketing for start-ups is a great way to engage with the target audience; understand them; and learn about their needs and wants.
If your content marketing strategy engages with the audience genuinely, then it is an indication that it is generating additional value.