Did you know that nine out of ten startups eventually fail? It’s a sobering statistic, but true nonetheless. An analysis of 101 startup post-mortems revealed that, out of the top 20 reasons for failure, poor marketing comes in eighth on the list. In fact, 14 percent of failed startups claim their collapses were at least partially due to poor marketing.
While poor marketing can encompass a wide range of mistakes, the reality is that many of these startups messed up by ignoring the value of content marketing. If you’re overlooking this important aspect of modern marketing, consider yourself warned.
4 Reasons Content Marketing is a Must
The issue at hand is that most new companies get so caught up in the other aspects of growing a product that they forget about the importance of growing a brand. As a result, things like content marketing get pushed to the wayside.
It’s time to refocus. Here are the top reasons why content marketing is a must for any startup that’s serious about beating the odds and becoming part of the 10 percent that tastes success.
1. Establishes Credibility
Why should anyone trust you? Honestly, as a startup, what sort of credibility do you have to fall back on? Your founding team may be made up of incredibly talented and experienced entrepreneurs, but your brand has very little equity. Content allows you to build trust with your target market by establishing credibility and clearly explaining what you’re all about.
2. Directly Impacts SEO
Few things have as big of an impact on SEO as your content marketing efforts. While it’s about much more than keyword optimization, the topics you choose to write about will tell Google and other search engines what your brand does and what types of users will find your resources valuable.
3. Provides Social Currency
Quickly scan your social networking newsfeeds. What do you see? Everyone is sharing content from external URLs. While Facebook was once all about “statuses” and sharing pictures, it’s now a customized periodical that shows you what your friends and followers are interested in and talking about. As a brand, the content you produce serves as your currency. Without relevant content, you’re left sharing articles and stories from other writers and brands.
4. Surprisingly Cost Efficient
Content marketing is surprisingly cost efficient. (In fact, it’s free in the beginning stages when you have time to produce your own content internally). While you’ll spend a considerable amount hiring a quality writer, it’s nothing compared to the expense of paid advertising. Plus, content is permanent. An ad only runs as long as you pay.
Layer Your Content Marketing Cake
Content marketing isn’t something you can throw some time and money at and expect to see lasting results. It requires a steady, ongoing investment. A blog post here and a social media post there won’t do you much good.
Think of it like a cake. While a small one-layer cake may be an adequate after-dinner dessert for your family, is it going to feed the entire guest list at a large wedding reception? Probably not. If you want to satisfy everyone, you need a large cake with multiple layers, different textures, unique designs, and an array of flavors.
Content marketing works in much the same way. One tier will only take you so far. It’s after you spend time developing multiple layers that you see real results. So, in terms of content marketing, what does layering look like? Well, it means investing your resources into multiple marketing mediums and being diligent about consistently populating these channels with fresh content.
Breaking it down every further, here are some of the layers that make up an effective content marketing cake for growing startups:
- Site copy. The first place to start is with your website copy. I see a company’s website as their “home base.” This is your piece of the internet. You own your domain and should take pride in how you leverage it. You don’t need a website with hundreds of text-rich pages. Just make sure the static content that is published accurately represents your brand.
- On-site blog. The second layer is your on-site blog. This is another aspect of internet marketing that you have complete control over. Choose good topics, invest in quality writing, and steadily build a collection of content your brand can stand behind.
- Guest blogs. After getting your home base under control, it’s time to venture out. Everyone wants content, which means many leading industry websites are happy to let people guest blog for them. Establish some relationships with editors and consistently publish content on these sites. Most will let you include a byline and backlink, so that you can direct traffic to your website and enhance your brand’s visibility.
- Social. In terms of content marketing, there are two ways to utilize social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. First, you should share your on-site blog posts and guest posts with your networks to increase views. Second, you need to engage with your followers by posting thoughtful ideas, questions, and comments.
- eBooks. As mentioned, I’m a big proponent of developing sustainable evergreen content that can be used to capture leads or even produce an additional revenue stream. While you won’t be able to produce an eBook every month, investing in one or two quality books every year can help position your brand as an industry leader.
Make Room for Content Marketing
One of the things startups frequently claim is that they lack the monetary resources to invest in content marketing. While this may be true, the fact is most of these same startups find a way to pay for design work, branding, product samples, SEO, market research, and the many other aspects that go into growing a new brand.
If you’re serious about growing, content marketing is a must. A small, steady investment in quality content that resonates with your target market and gently nudges them through the conversion funnel is just what you need to scale. Contact me today, and let’s talk!