Startups all face a similar challenge - gaining attention for a product that people have never heard of before. This challenge is exacerbated by the limited budget that most startups have to work with.
Content marketing is one of the best answers to that problem. It also enables you to develop a relationship with your early customers and build trust. This is essential for developing what Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, called your "1000 True Fans".
Research Your Audience
Before you begin creating content, you need to research your audience. You should establish what types of searches they are performing. This will allow you to create content which answers the questions that they are asking and provide a resource that they will find useful.
Imagine that you have developed a time management app for busy executives. You can use tools like the free Google Keyword Planner to see not only what kind of information people are looking for about time management, but also how many people are interested in that information. Once you know what people are looking for, you can then create content which caters to these searches.
Use An Appropriate Tone
The tone that you use in your content should be tailored to your audience. The way you would talk if your primary customer is a C-level executive will be significantly different if your audience is a teenager.
Study the language and phrases that your audience uses and incorporate these into your content. Is their jargon specific to your niche that your audience will understand? Talking in the same way as your ideal customer can help to build a connection and communicate that you understand their problems.
Include A Mixture Of Media
Content marketing goes beyond blogging or writing articles. It can include Facebook updates, Tweets, YouTube videos, infographics, Pinterest boards, images, and much more. Using a mixture of media will allow you to reach your customer no matter where they are.
Creating that much content can be challenging, so use a trick known as "content repurposing".
This is where you take your existing content and change it into a different format to open a new marketing channel.
If you have a popular blog post you could turn it into a whiteboard style presentation and add a voice-over. If you have discovered interesting facts for a guest post you are writing, then this can be turned into an infographic. Content repurposing allows you to get the highest return on your best content.
Guest Blog On A More Popular Site
Blogging shouldn't be limited to your own website. Find relevant websites with well-established audiences in your industry and offer to write for them for free. In return, you will receive exposure for your business and potential visitors to your website. At the bottom of your guest post, you will be able to include a link to your website to attract more attention.
The key with guest posting is to select websites which feature an audience which is likely to be interested in what you have to offer. If your startup sells a runner's tracking app, then posting content on fitness and jogging websites is a good place to get started. If you are selling a line of organic baby clothes, then you want to write for sites which cater to moms.
Choosing a site to guest post on where the audience is well targeted and engaged will usually provide better results than being featured on a larger website with a broader, more silent audience.
Create An Email Newsletter
Content marketing is all about developing a relationship with your prospective customers. Email newsletters offer an automated way of doing exactly that. Include multiple lead capture forms on your website. This can include pop-up forms, landing pages, welcome pages, and opt-in boxes in the sidebar.
Once someone signs up to your email newsletter, focus on delivering value and entertainment for your readers. When you talk about your product, show examples of how it has helped other people to solve their problems and reach their goals.
A well-targeted content marketing campaign can enable a startup to compete against entrenched competitors with a much larger marketing budget. Content marketing is a strategy which rewards creativity and authenticity.