According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Contrary to popular belief, content marketing is not only in written form. Content marketing can be any one of these:
-Social media posts (including Snapchat and Instagram Stories)
Startups, by their very nature, are scrappy, resourceful, flexible and creative. This can sometimes mean that startups fly by the seat of their pants, go with the flow and tackle urgent matters head on.
But what about the non-urgent matters? Matters like, say, a comprehensive content marketing strategy?
All companies today — and startups in particular — must have a measurable and well thought-out content marketing strategy, or they will be constantly putting out one fire after the next, without really getting on top of their marketing game.
So here are 5 key points to perfect your startup’s content marketing strategy:
1. Plan, plan, plan
After a brainstorming session, sit down with your team and come up with a content marketing plan. This includes scheduled posts and who is responsible for what task.
If it’s just you and your co-founder (or a very small team), then divide up roles by your strengths. For example, if you’re a ham and love the camera, you can be responsible for any video content. If your co-founder is a great writer, he/she can be in charge of all written content.
A quarterly plan is always good, since it’s more flexible than a yearly plan. You can literally map out the timeline you want to follow. Plan out how many YouTube tutorials you want to release per quarter, how many blog posts, guest posts, social media posts, etc. A master content marketing calendar can be helpful so everyone is on the same page.
2. Share your expertise
The most shared piece of advice about content marketing is to share — your expertise. When you provide value to your audience, you will be regarded as an expert, industry/thought leader, thus increasing your influence, reach and ultimately traffic and ROI. You’ll build trust with your audience, an invaluable tool in business.
Companies who don’t understand this simply talk about themselves, and this is very passé. Just like you (or any normal person), your audience doesn’t want to be talked at. They want to be engaged in a conversation and learn something new.
Beauty brand Sephora is a leader in providing valuable, teachable content to their audience, most notably free makeup tutorial videos online or on their branded app.
So, when you’re creating content, be it an article or a five-minute tutorial video, think of your audience and giving them the gift of first-hand knowledge and experience that you have to offer.
3. Keep it going, and diversify
If you’re new to content marketing, worry not. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” said ancient Chinese philosopher Tao Te Ching. This couldn’t be more true with content.
Start with a single piece of content and build up consistently. Literally put it on your schedule to release a piece of content once per week, or whatever you decide in your content marketing plan, and it will become more natural with time.
Another important point to consider is multichannel exposure. This means that your content should be spread out, diversified, if you will, to a number of media: various blogs in your industry, your own blog, a dedicated YouTube channel, various social media channels and an email newsletter to your customers.
Multichannel exposure will reach the widest audience and this way you can experiment to see which channels get the most engagement.
4. Be yourself
On your first day of school, your mom may have told you to “just be yourself” so kids will like you naturally, without you having to try too hard. Well, she was right. With content curation, it’s the same thing. Be authentic, be yourself, and open up. Your audience will respect you for that, which leads to trust, which leads — ultimately — to conversions.
One of my favorite content creators who is completely herself is Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene, one of the most popular yoga YouTube channels around. She offers hundreds of free yoga videos, and she’s quirky, funny and opens up about herself and her struggles with yoga and with life. The main reason for her popularity is her authenticity and down-to-earth nature. Her audience can feel that, thus relating to her and loving her for it.
Source: Yoga with Adriane
5. Use your creative juices
The most successful marketing campaigns are the most creative. Think outside the box in order to get your audience’s attention and respect.
One of the best creative tactics is humor. Besides emotional connection, it’s the easiest way to connect with an audience.
Dollar Shave Club’s brand of humor and storytelling has touched a nerve with consumers to position them as a leading company in the digital space. Their short videos — which don’t feel like ads — are funny and foster an instant connection with the brand.
Poo-Pourri is a new company that takes content creation to a whole new level with their outrageously funny (and crazy inappropriate) videos. Firstly I’ll note that the product is a bathroom deodorizer so inherently they don’t take themselves too seriously. Their debut video ad was called “Girls Don’t Poop” and they’ve been releasing hilarious video ads ever since.
Get out there
Content marketing is all about getting your name out there, showing the world who you are and gaining exposure and authority in your field. First start with a plan, share your knowledge by providing valuable content to your audience, be authentic, and use creativity and humor to hook your audience to become unforgettable.
These 5 takeaways are just the beginning in skyrocketing your startup’s content marketing strategy. Stay on course and keep rocking multiple channels with amazing content, and you’ll see your audience, your reach — and your authority — grow with time.