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How to Develop a Killer Content Marketing Strategy for a Startup (with 5 Examples)

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How to Develop a Killer Content Marketing Strategy for a Startup (with 5 Examples)

When it comes to running your own startup, the prospect of finding success can seem pretty grim. According to statistics, about 90% of startups fail, and that failure rate is about the same across all industries. There are many reasons why some startup companies might go belly up, including lack of managerial qualifications, inexperienced founders, and failure to reach the right people.

Another reason for startup failure is the lack of a clear content marketing strategy. And in 2022, there is no excuse for not having one.

Your startup, regardless of how skilled your employees are or how great your product or service is, is not going to get in front of the eyes of your target audience by itself. This is where content marketing comes in. Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but it generates three times more leads.

To help you out, we have put together a list of things you need to do to develop a killer content marketing strategy. You’ll also find some useful examples, so read on.

1. Define a Buyer Persona

Researching your target audience and creating a buyer persona will help you figure out who’s going to be buying your product. Obviously, demographic data is a good start, but you need to go beyond that and look at their biggest challenges, pain points, and their interests.

How do you find all of this?

Well, the simplest way would be to ask them using polls, surveys, and focus groups. You can also check out where they hang out online, check your competitors’ followers, and use the data gathered by analytics software.

One of the best examples of defining a buyer persona is Coca-Cola’s original “Share a Coke” campaign launched back in 2011 in Australia, which used personalized Coke bottles. The genius thing about this campaign is that it allowed the company to reach 42% of the population with just 150 different names on their bottles. Plus, they invited everyone to buy a Coke for someone else as well, not just themselves.

Image source: https://us.coca-cola.com/store/

2. Create High-Quality Content

Great content allows you to:

  • engage your audience
  • raise awareness about your brand
  • boost your SEO
  • establish your startup as a thought leader in the industry

Covering every single channel is almost impossible, so you need to decide at least on those that are relevant to your niche and your audience. As for content type, you can’t go wrong with blogs, images, videos, and infographics. Those are the top four formats leveraged by marketers.

For a great content marketing example, take a look at how Somnifix uses its blog not just to promote its products, which help stop snoring, but also to publish useful, actionable content that allows readers to improve the quality of their sleep through other methods, such as proper dieting and exercise. You will also find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the science of sleep, snoring, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, as well as possible solutions for each.

Image source: https://somnifix.com/blogs/snews

3. Share Customer Success Stories

Audiences are tired of being pitched to, which is why so many startups are turning to influencers for collaboration. This can be very effective because your audience gets to hear about your product from someone who is relatable to them rather than some corporate entity.

However, an even better option would be to share success stories featuring your customers. This not only provides social proof but also makes your startup come off as genuine.

BaseLang, an online platform for teaching Spanish, used social proof to its advantage by sharing actual customer testimonials. The platform even came up with a branded hashtag, #BaseLangStories, to spread the word across its social media accounts, which is quite similar to what Coca-Cola did with the #shareacoke campaign.

Image source: https://baselang.com/blog/success-stories/adam/

4. Create a Content Calendar

The best approach to executing your content marketing strategy would be to create a calendar that contains all there is to know about:

  • the type of content you will be producing
  • frequency of publishing
  • publishing dates
  • relevant links and keywords
  • promotional plans that include distribution channels and budget

How often should you publish? HubSpot has done a fair bit of research on this, and they suggest 3-4 content pieces per week for smaller businesses looking to boost organic traffic, while larger ones should publish 4-5 times weekly.

As for boosting brand awareness, shoot for 1-2 times a week if you’re running a smaller startup, or 3-4 times a week if you’ve got a bigger organization. Of course, feel free to adjust your content calendar based on the specifics of your business and your target audience. Just try and remain consistent in terms of quality and quantity.

Image source: https://www.hubspot.com/

5. Keep Track of the Results

After doing all of the above, your startup will reap the benefits, but you’ll have very little use of them in the long run if you aren’t tracking your KPIs. Sure, it’s great that you have awesome content, but you need to determine what is and what isn’t working and why. Using the information gathered through analytics, you can eliminate parts of your content marketing strategy that aren’t working and focus on those that are bringing real results.

Five9 was able to build a campaign around its eBook and drive four times as many leads and three times as many deals as they did in their previous campaign. Instead of focusing on their product and its features, they created a buyer-centric eBook called “Practical/Tactical: A Guide to Maximizing Agent Efficiency.” It drove so many new leads that their head of marketing had to turn off the notifications. By tracking the performance of their content before and after they published the eBook, they were able to use those numbers for their future campaigns.

Image source: https://content.marketingsherpa.com/heap/cs/five9/3.htm

Summing up

Although content marketing involves a lot of work, your startup will definitely benefit from it as long as you have a solid strategy to lean on. We hope that you will find the advice presented in this article helpful and that you will implement it while building your own content marketing strategy. Good luck!

Sarah Kaminski is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She works with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.

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How To Get Your Business Website in the Spotlight

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How To Get Your Business Website in the Spotlight

Getting your business website in the spotlight is important to building your brand. If you actually do any business through your website, then it’s not just about branding but actually getting business. Fortunately, there are many ways to get your business website some attention if you implement some useful tricks and tools. Many of these techniques are affordable, and all can be effective. Here are some ways of getting your business website in the spotlight with both on and offline tools.

Online Techniques

Forbes has useful content about driving more exposure and traffic to your website. In regards to your website, you need to have two things. First, you need to optimize it at a technical level so everything works and provides a seamless user experience.

For example, you want your pages loading quickly for a big win. This is so customers don’t turn away. Second, your content needs to be nothing short of insatiable. Provide readers and visitors information and answers that make them trust you. Offer tools, information, and anything that will get them to spend more time on your site and be more engaged with your business. Try to offer your customers as many reasons as you can to spend time on your website.

In terms of generating traffic, there are two big things you can do. The first is pay-per-click advertising, also known as PPC. The second is search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO.

PPC ads are the ads you see in Google on search results pages that are above the organic search results. You can pay for those spots for certain keywords and get your website link placed above everything else. This results in nearly instant traffic for as many clicks as you pay for.

SEO takes more time, but it’s also very cost-effective. Getting backlinks is a big part of it, but it really starts with keyword research and optimizing for those keywords in both getting backlinks and creating content on your website.

SEO is something you should be doing from day one of your business. And don’t let up until you’re ready to sell it. SEO is an ongoing process of building your website’s credibility and ranking on strong platforms such as Google, Amazon, and Apple. Results may be slow at first, but you’ll start seeing them in a few months. This is not only great for your website when it comes to local google searches, but it also gets your website linked all over the web, helping you find new customers, and helping new clients find you.

A very common tactic is to use PPC ads to get traffic going until SEO benefits can kick in. Then, you can start switching to SEO alone.

Backlinks Still Matter

You might recall a time when all you had to do to rank highly was have lots of backlinks pointing to your website. People would pay for hundreds to thousands of links all directed at their homepage to rise up the search engine rankings. Link quantity doesn’t really help anymore, but white-label link-building can. Search engines look at the quality of the websites with the backlinks as well as diversity in the link portfolio. The background and reputation of any website backlinking to you establish authority and trust for websites now.

This authority is a measure of trustworthiness that google finds with your website and the websites that link to and from your page. This trustworthiness ensures that the web isn’t cluttered by spam and scammy websites. If you build your backlink profile correctly, Google will reward you with top placement on their platforms and automation devices such as Google Home.

Once you start SEO for your website, you shouldn’t ever quit your efforts. Your credibility with major search engines can become stale and may force you to start from scratch if you ever decide to start your SEO campaign again. Keeping up your efforts at backlinking is the best way to ensure your investment pays off in the long run. You’ll build more trust with Google and you’ll continue finding more customers and contacts.

If your website is new, you’ve probably been attempting to pull it up on your computer’s search engines. You’ve probably been trying to type in different combinations of keyword querrys to no avail. You’ll quickly find why linkbuilding is so important. Whether you own an excavation business, a clothing line, plumbing services, home repair, or any business where you need visibility to customers in your area or across the nation, SEO is why your business gains exposure to your new customers.

Many businesses are choosing to have their backlinking done internally within their company. If this is the case for you, make sure that you

  • Appoint someone in charge with strong communication and language skills.
  • Appoint someone in charge who has a strong understanding of the different metric systems involved with rating your website, and the websites of other companies.
  • Have a team of writers who can create quality content for distribution on other websites. You can also consider outsourcing this task. There are websites that allow you to place orders with experienced writers who can generate content relative to your links.
  • Consider allowing guest bloggers on your website to increase traffic, and generate a flow of fresh and relevant content for your readers.
  • Create a system that makes it easy to find new websites for bulk outreach. Go for quantity. Reach out to as many websites as possible, and create a system for cataloging each website’s requirements and metric rankings. Look for websites that cater to a specific niche, as these are the types of site that carry the most trust with google. Any site that publishes garbage links such as gambling, adult content, and other off topic subjects can hurt your authority with Google.
  • Put someone in charge of email communications. As you reach out to more sites, you’ll have more emails flooding your inbox. You need someone in charge who can prioritize email messages, maintain contact with websites, and get your company’s backlinks published on those websites.

10 Offline Methods for Promoting Your Website

A lot of your website promotion is likely to happen digitally, but there are things you can do in the analog world to help it out, too.

  1. Business Cards: Your website should be listed on all your business stationery. Make an impression when a customer takes your business card. Get your business card disturbed by referrals, vendors, and storefronts.
  2. Free Shipping: Your brick-and-mortar team can help in-store customers find items on your website. Offer shipping perks like free shipping above a certain threshold. Use in-store tablets to make a great shopping experience for customers looking to purchase from your company’s entire inventory stock. This helps you get inventory off the shelf. Extend those shipping perks to customers who strictly shop online.
  3. Go to Shows: Personal interactions happen a lot at trade shows, conferences, and industry meetings. Business owners can get quite chatty with each other. These are great ways to learn new things, form new partnerships, and target new customers.
  4. Include in All Advertising: Your website needs to be included in all formal advertising, from billboards to commercials. Radio broadcasts can be an easy, cheap way to let customers in your area know about clearances, sales events, and your website.
  5. Promotional Items: Customers love freebies, and they’ll freely display your website with them. If you’re telling yourself that you need more customers like the ones you just had, make sure you’re letting them leave with a free hat, water bottle, or shirt promoting your company website.
  6. Speak at Events: As long as an event is relevant, you can take the opportunity to mention your website. State fairs, outdoor events, and marathons are all good places you can make a presence for a quick shout-out. For greater stage presence, offer to speak at local trade shows, job fairs, career seminars, and other public events. You may get turned down a few times. But eventually, you can be a guest speaker for a number of seminars, webinars, or conferences. Use these events to promote your website.
  7. Support Area Organizations: Supporting local nonprofits is always good press. You can also sponsor high school baseball games and other types of events to get your business a bit of local exposure.
  8. Use Vehicle Ads: Whether it’s company vehicles or your personal ride, magnet or vinyl advertising gets attention. Look into building a unified fleet of vehicles for your business. Just like employees in your business may have uniforms, a fleet of vehicles should be uniform together in terms of vehicle types, colors, and branding. You want your customers to know it’s one of your vehicles before they can read the print. Get customers to your website with your vehicle branding.
  9. Voicemail: Whether it’s customers on hold or those who call after hours, leave a prompt directing them to your website.
  10. Word-of-Mouth: Offer customers discounts and incentives for leaving reviews that mention your URL. This can be a great tool for SEO purposes as well.

Be Patient

PPC ads can start generating traffic to your website immediately. They should continue doing so until you pull the plug on paying for them. Search engine optimization will take time, however. Depending on the specific keywords you try to rank for and how long you get backlinks, you might not notice a statistically significant rise in your traffic for six weeks. The full impact might not be felt for six months. Stick with it, though, as the payoff is well worth it.

The highest ranked websites on the web experience high traffic and have been working on their ranking campaign for years. Some companies prefer to handle their backlinking internally. But many companies are outsourcing those tasks to third parties, affordably, with high-yielding results.

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How to Become a KOL

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How to Become a KOL

You may have heard the term before Key Opinion Leader or KOL, and that they are a major source of exposure in the digital arena. So when trying to develop an overall digital marketing strategy, especially one focused on user engagement, it’s a good idea to consider working eventually with a KOL to be able to approach the target markets they’ve developed.

WHAT IS KOL?

The KOL meaning is specifically what a modern-day influencer is. They work both offline and online. They will use social media channels, ranging from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, but will also have a presence on mainstream channels and outlets. Their whole mission is to work on nurturing and growing a specific community based on their interests and themes. These KOLs are always producing some type of content or engagement to keep their user base interested and motivated.

When looking at what a KOL meaning is, it’s truly being present for users to always look out for and see relevant and new content in their preferred theme.

WHY DO I NEED A KOL?

Another way to look at KOL’s meaning is authenticity. There’s a lot of marketing noise and advertisement out there, and these social media platforms have allowed KOLs to develop in an environment with no external commercial pressures.

This has led to giving them a voice of authenticity and helps users resonate with these influencers in many ways. There’s no hiding behind a corporate marketing team or a hidden agenda either. Because of this, you want to focus on using a KOL to get access to a highly engaged targeted audience. When a KOL discusses your brand or product, there’s a captive audience ready to listen and potentially buy the products as well.

HOW TO BECOME A KOL

To become a Key Opinion Leader requires efforts that may not be for everyone. Here are a few steps to get you on the path to becoming a KOL:

Step 1

Find your niche. Anytime you want to become a subject matter expert and a key opinion leader, you need to have a focused approach to it. Don’t just do ‘wellness’ but focus on either a healthy gym routine or a mix of yoga with meditation. You want to be able to master your activities so that people look to you as a leader in the field.

Step 2

Expand online. Choose your digital arena and completely focus on it as well. If you’re going for wellness, then you may want to consider YouTube as a way to showcase recipes or yoga. If you’re a travel blogger, then entertain Instagram as a choice to broadcast high-quality images.

Step 3

Collaborate. Build your digital village by working with others who are doing the same. This helps to grow your following in a faster way, with already vested and like-minded users.

Step 4

Produce consistently. This is the marathon portion of being a KOL. You need to produce content in constant intervals. This means having fresh and up-to-date information in your specific niche. You will also be busy with your offline events and activities to get the right mix offline and online.

Step 5

Review the data and adapt. Here you’re looking at the results of your online and offline activities and see what events worked, what your users responded to the most or least, and changing your strategy accordingly. Again, have a data-driven mentality to ensure you’re always on the right path.

WRAP UP

KOLs are the best way to get the highest quality users when trying to launch a product or brand. This is because of their authentic approach and the fact that their users are willing to believe in what their KOLs are telling them. As a result, they’re one of the best types of recommendations you could ask for.

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How to Encourage and Reward Strong Employee Performance

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How to Encourage and Reward Strong Employee Performance

As a business owner, attracting top talent, increasing retention, and motivating your employees to remain productive and efficient are likely among your top priorities, and for good reason. This can help to improve loyalty and devotion, boost employee happiness and morale, and result in an increased output of your company. Motivation and encouragement are vital to the success of a business, and there’s no better way to achieve this than by rewarding your employees for a job well done. With that in mind, here is how you can encourage and reward strong employee performance:

Align awards with goals

Aligning rewards with important company goals and recognizing strong performers is a great way to demonstrate to employees how their efficiency and productivity help the business. If you need to reach specific sales targets, for example, a rewards program can be created to incentivize workers according to how they meet or surpass these targets. The rewards programs can include salary increments, bonuses, reimbursements, stock options, remote work opportunities, etc. Digital HR tools can also be leveraged for monitoring employee performance, enabling you to track the metrics needed for determining who has earned the rewards.

Reward all achievements

While celebrating great accomplishments and successful projects and goals is imperative, it may also be helpful to recognize even the smaller milestones that have led employees to those important achievements. This can motivate employees and encourage them to stay focused on reaching all the necessary objectives. To achieve this, you can celebrate employees whenever they get promoted within the company, or even offer gifts and special recognition for work anniversaries and milestones such as completing five, ten, or more years at work.

Recognize teamwork

Recognizing and awarding teamwork is another great way to inspire employees to improve communication and collaboration, which can boost the overall productivity and innovation in the company as a result. Since this tends to be a more skilled, elaborate, and time-consuming process, rewards for teams should be a bit more substantial than rewards for individuals, while still managing to honor the whole team. For example, you could plan a special outing for the team or even arrange a fine dining experience once the team has managed to reach a major milestone for your business.

Offer unique rewards

Along with conventional incentives, there are a number of unique rewards you can offer your employees based on your company culture. For instance, you can pay an affordable annual fee for a David Jones American Express platinum card and provide your employees with exclusive perks such as reward points, deferred payment options, and free delivery when shopping. You can also surprise them with some additional time off, a personal lunch with the CEO, tickets to a live performance event, a sponsored getaway, or any other interesting reward that agrees with your budget and overall culture.

Provide specific recognition

When employees complete some major individual achievements, it may be best to offer more specific and personalized recognition. This can make your employees feel valued and appreciated, as it highlights the impact of their individual contributions to the business. It will also help to demonstrate that you truly care about your staff. To provide personal recognition, you could feature employee interviews in your internal communications platform, present certificates of achievement, provide recognition notes from the CEO, create an “Employee of the Day” program, provide enhanced office equipment, and use other similar tactics.

Focus on development

Another method that could be quite advantageous to the company includes providing personal and professional development opportunities to employees. Not only is investing in the future of employees a great incentive for them to remain with your company, but highly skilled workers can also bring more value to the business overall. To invest in the development of your employees, you can reimburse fees and tuitions for different educational programs, sponsor seminars held by motivational speakers, pay for masterclasses and hobby classes, arrange mentoring sessions, provide gym and library memberships, and utilize similar solutions that promote personal and professional improvement.

Try some fun surprises

In addition to more common and traditional rewards, employees could also be encouraged to reward one another. For instance, peers and managers can treat each other for their milestones and support in fun ways that boost morale and strengthen employee relationships. This could include sending care packages and gift baskets, giving gift cards and vouchers, giving decorative plants, ordering takeout and reimbursing the bill, gifting charming memorabilia that remind employees of the company, and any other small token of appreciation to increase employee happiness and satisfaction.

Evidently, encouraging and rewarding your employees for their performance can have a number of benefits for the overall growth and success of your business. Use the tips mentioned above to find ideas for rewards that are bound to satisfy and motivate your staff.

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