Digital technology and the Internet have given consumers the advantage of learning everything they can about a product or service before making a purchase.
Looking for the best Wi-Fi router in 2020? All you have to do is run a search for “best Wi-Fi router 2020”. Within a few seconds, a list of the websites with the information you need will appear on the search results page.
If your content marketing strategy is on point, your start-up technology retail business might just be on the list.
Why Your Start-Up Needs Content Marketing
The objective of a content marketing strategy is to compel the reader to answer your call to action.
What do you want your readers to do?
- Do you want them to follow your brand?
- Do you want them to acknowledge you as an expert or a valuable resource?
- Do you want them to buy your product or patronize your service?
And if you’ve read a social media post about the amazing Cappucino served at the new coffee shop that opened – chances are you would follow the 81% who were convinced by the review and try out the product yourself.
Blogs, videos, and social media posts are all examples of content. They are created to trigger a response from the reader. The same can be said about other forms of content such as web copy, product reviews, e-books, and podcasts.
As a start-up, content marketing can help your business gain traction. In a competitive industry, you need maximum visibility to get the attention of potential customers.
If people love your content, they will follow you willingly and become followers of your business. In time – and with consistency – some of your followers may become customers.
7 Steps To Create The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy For Your Start-Up
To be clear, content is anything you post or publish. It does not mean that you should just post anything on the Internet and expect results.
If you were compelled to act by the content you read, then you know what effective content looks like.
For your content marketing campaign to deliver results, you need to have a strategy.
1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal
The direction of your content marketing strategy will depend on what you want to accomplish.
What is the goal of your content marketing campaign?
- Are you looking to gain immediate traction?
- Do you want to give more information about the products you carry?
- Do you want people to learn more about you and the people behind the company?
- Are you using content marketing to share your knowledge with your target audience so they can have immediate solutions to questions?
- Are you hoping to generate more leads for your sales funnel?
Regardless of your goal, a well-planned and properly implemented content marketing campaign will deliver results for your business. You just need to stay focused on that goal.
If you layout multiple goals for your content marketing campaign, your efforts will have no direction. Your resources will be spread out too thinly and the message of your campaign will be lost.
2. Create an Audience Profile
An Audience Profile is similar to a Buyer’s Profile which many realtors create to fine-tune their marketing strategy.
To make an Audience Profile, you list down the characteristics of the person who would be interested in your content:
- What is the age group?
- Are they mostly men or women?
- Are they working or still studying?
- If employed, do the majority of the audience hold managerial positions in the company?
- How much do they earn?
- Where do they reside?
- How will they access my content?
- What are their interests?
- What issues concern them?
- What are their present needs?
- What types of content do they like to read?
- Do they prefer text or video content?
The questions can cover more areas – as many as you want to get a better idea of the kind of audience that would appreciate the content.
Having a solid Audience Profile will set the process of creating content much easier. You will have an idea of the content your target audience wants to read and how to reach them.
3. Set Up Your Content Marketing Toolbox
Blogging is one of the most popular forms of content. Many marketers consider blogging as the cornerstone of content marketing. It is just one of many tools that you can include in your content marketing toolbox.
You can use videos, podcasts, live streaming, forums, newsletters, e-books, infographics, listicles, case studies, how-to articles, white papers, checklists, interviews, product reviews, GIFs and memes as your content marketing process.
Your choice of process would depend on your:
- Marketing Goal
- Type of Business
- Target Audience
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing.
For example, if you are in the business of selling dress watches, you will find greater success using video content that is distributed through social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram than blogging via LinkedIn.
Review your Audience Profile and draw up a budget for your marketing campaign. A big-budget will give you more flexibility but unless your strategy is on point, the investment will not yield a significant return.
You can have a successful content marketing strategy without breaking your bank account.
4. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team
Are you a gifted writer? Do you know how to do keyword research? Do you have experience in content optimization?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then bravo! You are capable of creating engaging content with the potential of driving traffic to your website.
But you shouldn’t.
Content writing takes time. A 1,600 to 2,000-word blog will take 3 hours to write. That does not include keyword research, topic research, and quality control.
Rather than writing content, you should outsource the work to a remote team of content experts.
What skills should comprise your content writing team?
- Content Writers
- Keyword Researchers
- Graphic Designer
- Content Editors
To be clear, you don’t have to hire these skills for your content writing team. Again, it would depend on your goals and budget. Add to that, your business experience.
As a start-up, start out small.
Get 1 content writer preferably a person who can also do keyword research and quality control. Hire a graphic designer only when your content calls for it.
You may not need a videographer right away. Some of the best videos were shot using an iPhone.
The takeaway in this section is: Don’t create your content. Outsource content writing to an experienced person so you will have more time to attend to the main activities of your business.
5. Create the Content Marketing Process
If you pass by a newsstand, your eyes will search for the publications that you are used to reading. You love the content; style of writing, tone, and the topics are of great interest to you.
Writing for the Internet goes through a different process. Think of the Internet as a gigantic virtual newsstand that has billions of publications to choose from.
Once posted, your content will be added to the sea of publications that are already flooding the Internet.
Thus, when writing online content, your primary objective is to get found by your target audience. To get found, your content has to be optimized for the search engines.
An effective optimization technique is to embed your content with keywords that are popularly searched by your target audience. There are various tools that you can use to conduct your keyword research:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Answer the Public
- Keyword Surfer
- Google Trends
These are free keyword tools that can get the job done for your content optimization plan.
When you have the keyword spreadsheet ready, here are a few basic rules on how to use them effectively on your content:
- For a blog post that ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 words, choose 5 to 6 high search volume keywords.
- Identify the main keyword which is usually the keyword that best describes your topic.
- The main keyword should appear once in the title, the first paragraph, the body of the content, and the conclusion.
- The ratio of keywords to total word count should not exceed 2%.
With keywords ready for use, let’s come up with a simple but effective content marketing process for your start-up:
- Review your Audience Profile and make a spreadsheet of topics your followers would like you to write about. Use your keyword list to come up with titles.
- When you have zeroed in on the topic and title, it’s time to conduct topic research. Choose 3 to 4 reliable references for your topic.
- Create an outline for your blog. We recommend dividing the body of your blog into smaller sections under different headings. These sub-headers should include minor or secondary keywords – a keyword that is relevant to the main topic.
- Begin writing! For list-type articles, you may want to start with the body first to get a better grasp of the content. We find this approach makes it easier to write the introduction and conclusion to the blog.
- After completing the blog, run it through a spelling and grammar-checking software such as Grammarly. Then, read the article and look for other errors. The software can make a mistake because it may not understand the context of a sentence.
- Review the structure of the blog. If it looks cramped, open it up. Our blogs are a good example. Keep the paragraphs and sentences short. Space the paragraphs properly. Readers don’t like to read blogs that look cramped up.
6. Identify Your Content Distribution Channels
Where will you publish your optimized content?
The first distribution channel on your list should be your website. If possible, use original images. Stock images are always an option but Google prefers images that are unique to your website.
For a start-up, it would be best to keep your distribution channel strategy simple. Thus, social media would be the next logical choice. After all, people spend on average two hours and 22 minutes of their Internet time on social media.
As mentioned earlier, not all social media networks function in the same way. Choose a social media network that caters to a community interested in your type of content.
For example, business-related content would gain more traction in LinkedIn than Facebook. Visual-heavy content would generate more interest in networks such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.
Finally, create a distribution schedule.
There are several recommendations on how often you should post content. Some say you should post a minimum of 5 times on Facebook to get results. Others say twice-a-day is enough.
Our recommendation is to keep your strategy simple. The objective is to stay top-of-mind. Posting content once-a-day should be fine.
If you don’t have original blogs to post, share curated content, post inspirational messages or simply post status updates.
Another strategy would be to call on friends or associates who have websites that cater to your target audience. Propose a guest blogging arrangement whereby you can post original blogs on each other’s websites.
7. Measure the Performance of Your Content Marketing Strategy
The great thing about digital marketing is that you can measure the performance of your campaign. Find out how your content marketing strategy is performing.
- Which blogs or articles account for the longest time spent on your website?
- Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement and sharing?
- Which types of content have the highest number of “likes”?
- Where do your followers come from?
- How do they access your content?
Website analytics will give you all the data you need to assess the performance of your content marketing strategy. Social media networks have analytics that you can use to get data on the types of content you have shared.
By reviewing the numbers on your content marketing campaign, you can pinpoint the flaws, correct them, and strengthen your strategy to get the desired results.
If we got you excited about starting a content marketing campaign, it’s time to slow down a bit and understand one thing:
Content marketing takes time to get results.
A person who reads your blog may enjoy what he has read but it doesn’t mean he will automatically follow you or sign up for your newsletter.
Consistency is the key.
Content is king – but you have to produce consistently great blogs, articles, videos, and other forms of content to get people to become your regular audience.
As an entrepreneur, your time is best spent on your business. Leave your content marketing needs to us! Give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started on a content marketing strategy that will get you the results you want.
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