Content Marketing is a marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain an audience.
There are numerous types of content that can be produced within a content marketing plan, including:
- Case studies
- Audio content/Podcasts
But by far the most popular (and easiest) form of content marketing to start with is blogging.
Using blogging as the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy provides a number of benefits for startups. Primarily, it is a low cost, but not free, marketing channel that can compound over time and provide a long lasting benefit to your startup.
Before I explore the benefits of content marketing for startups in greater detail, I’ll point to my own blog as an example. Before I even launched Task Pigeon I started blogging. In fact, our first piece of content when live in October 2016, months before our MVP was even live. This was a conscious decision on my part because content marketing is a long game.
You can’t expect to write a blog today and get hundreds of customers tomorrow.
But slowly, but surely things will begin to work.
Today, there are a number of posts on the Task Pigeon blog that between them bring in 1,500 to 2,000 visitors a month. While that is still a “small” number relative to larger and more established blogs or startups that can throw thousands of dollars at marketing each day, you can see from the chart below how this one post on leadership strategy has consistently increased the volume of traffic it brings to the Task Pigeon blog each day.
Benefits of Content Marketing For Startups
Low Barriers To Entry
It is easy to get started with content marketing.
Whether you choose video content, audio content or blogging you can be up and running in hours, if not minutes.
To start a blog all you have to do is create a sub-domain (or new page off your main site) and ensure you have a CMS that makes blogging easy to do and manage. I highly recommend WordPress. It’s free and you can get awesome premium themes for $50 – $100.
Alternatively, if you prefer video or audio content the smart phone in your back pocket can be enough to get you started. Crafting videos or podcasts that provide insightful content around your industry domain don’t need fancy intro’s and editing. If you talk from experience and provide value people will want to hear what you have to say.
“Low” Ongoing Cost
It is a mistake to think that blogging, or content marketing in general, is free. Even if you write all of the content yourself there is still a time cost involved in pulling everything together.
Alternatively, if you decide to outsource blog writing or content production there is a direct financial cost.
That said, producing a piece of content does not produce a one-off burst of activity. As the example post I highlighted above shows, you could write a post today and still have it generating traffic and business for your startup in 6, 12, 18 or even 24 months time.
Improved SEO Potential
For any startup that is looking to attract and engage with customers via the internet (which is 99% of companies these days) content marketing plays a strong role in improving your ranking in Google and other search engines.
Google loves to see new and fresh content on your website. It is a signal that shows that the website is constantly updated and therefore must be active and in business.
Not only that, despite changes to the core algorithm that powers Google, backlinks remain a core ranking factor. It can be a huge challenge to get people to directly link to your product page for your startup. But if you provide relevant and insightful content then it stands a much better chance of generating links for your startup’s website.
As the graph below shows, through regular blogging, Task Pigeon has consistently increased the number of backlinks and referring domains. This has in turn helped lift our search engine rankings/performance across the board.
Content Marketing Provides Ongoing Value
As we touched on above a startup that implements a content marketing strategy can derive ongoing value from the content that they have created.
This contrasts sharply to other forms of marketing, and in particular Pay Per Click advertising, where the money you stop paying for distribution you immediately cease receiving any new engagement or leads.
Instead, by creating a blog, producing videos or releasing audio content you can have people listen or engage with that content now and forever in the future.
As a result content marketing a compounding strategy where the level of benefit you receive continues to increase with each and every piece of content you create and release into the wild.
Accelerating The Sales Process
Whether you are in B2B or B2C sales people and prospects prefer to do more of the research upfront, before they come to your store to buy or choose to engage with your sales staff. Content is a great way to ensure you capture the attention of buyers at all stages of the sales funnel.
Initially, your content can help with creating awareness around your product or brand. Your content needs to speak to your ideal audience. In the case of Task Pigeon this is with managers, leaders and small business owners.
Once people become aware of your content and brand through the value you have provided they will start to engage with and seek out information on who you are and what you do.
If they see a fit with your product or service then other content you create can help push them along the sales journey. I.e. In Task Pigeon’s case the do have some content that speaks to the benefits of our task management application. By and large though your public facing content should not be sales focused.
Brand Loyalty and Image
People and companies want to buy from people they trust. Adopting a content marketing strategy is a great way to build this trust. Assuming you produce high quality content that provides value to your audience people will begin to respect your opinion and see you and your company as a thought leader in the space.
Even if there intention is not to buy a product / solution now, if and when the time comes their attention will naturally gravitate their interest towards companies that they already know and believe can provide value. This essentially puts you in prime position for winning their business.
Additional Tips For Startups Adopting A Content Marketing Strategy:
I hope that by now you can see the benefits of content marketing for your startup. Before you go and fire up a blog though I have put together a couple of other tips that I see startups often overlook.
- Be consistent – If you are going to start a content marketing strategy or blog for your startup you have to be consistent. You can’t blog once a week for a month, then not blog again for 3 weeks, then wait 2 months before blasting out another five posts. Stick to a cadence that you can maintain, ideally 2+ blog posts or more a week.
- Focus on quality – It’s easy to write a 500 word blog post that looks great at first glance but provides little value or substance. While you get to tick “write a new blog post” off your to-do list it isn’t going to drive the value or engagement you need. So spend more time and do it right.
- Collect Emails – Having an email lead capture form set up can literally take 5 to 10 minutes, especially if you are using WordPress and can plug in a system such as Sumo. This extends the reach of your content and ensures that every time you hit publish there is an initial audience you can send your latest post out to.
- Content marketing also requires promotion – While it would be great to think that you can just write blog posts and see the traffic flow in that isn’t the case. You need to promote your content. This could be in relevant Facebook Groups, Linkedin Groups, on Twitter and via backlink outreach campaigns where other posts in an adjacent field link to your content (just a few examples).
Finally, if you are a startup or founder who is thinking of kicking off a content marketing strategy get in touch. I am happy to walk you through how I got started with Task Pigeon’s blog and if you are looking for someone to take the content off your hand Marketplace by Task Pigeon has pre-vetted Freelancer writers who can produce content from as little as $50 a post.
Also published on Medium.