As a startup, it’s vital that you can build up a stable customer base in the early stages of the business. Without customers, you have no income, limited working capital and no sustainable means of running the business. With that focus on attracting and converting your initial customers, it’s crucial to think about content marketing, social media and your digital channels.
So, where do you start when it comes to content marketing? And how do you improve your writing skills to ensure you’re creating killer content?
Steve Ash, content consultant at CommsBreakdown and author of ‘How To Write Killer Content For Your Startup’, gives us the lowdown on building the right foundations for content marketing.
Putting content at the heart of your marketing
Your website, blog and social accounts will all be vital marketing channels when it comes to raising awareness of your startup’s products and/or services. But all these channels require regular, quality content if you’re going to attract the right audience.
If the idea of writing a blog, or drafting the content for a product landing page, strikes terror into your heart, then you’re not alone. Business writing can often seem daunting to a non-writer, but the key to any kind of content creation is to aim for simplicity.
Start off with small steps – if you’ve never written for business before, then don’t jump in too deep to begin with. Challenge yourself to write an initial blog post, or the home page for your website, and take it slow. You’ll get better with practice!
Keep it simple – good writing is all about simplicity. My mantra is always ‘Keep it simple, stupid!’ when it comes to content. If you can explain your latest product update in 50 words, don’t use 200. Short, concise, well-crafted content will work best.
Write about what you love – you started this business because you have a great business idea. As the reader, I need to feel that passion and enthusiasm. So write about the topics and themes you love and turn me into an advocate for your company.
Get your vision and brand sorted
Your passion for your product/service needs to shine through in your content. So, it’s important that you have a clearly defined vision and brand for your fledgling startup.
As Simon Sinek outlined in his book ‘Start With Why’, a good business owner needs to know WHY they’re in business. This means having a robust vision for your startup, where you know how you’re going to improve the lives of your customers, where you’ll add value and the key cultural values you’ll live and work by as a company.
Your brand also needs to reflect this company vision. The company’s brand goes way beyond what your logo and colour palette look like – in this context, we’re talking about the personality of the company, the tone of voice you adopt and how your customers feel about your products.
By adopting the right brand personality, and clearly communicating your vision and values as a business, you set the foundations for effective content marketing.
Kickstart your content marketing
As with many things in the life of a startup, the only way to get good at content marketing is to actually do it. You’ll make mistakes at first, but that’s all part of the ongoing business cycle.
If your aim is to position your company in the marketplace, and start attracting loyal customers to your brand, you’re going to need to create a robust online presence. We live in a digital world, so your startup needs a digital ‘shop window’ to start selling its wares.
To begin with:
Create a great website – your company website is the key hub for your content marketing. It will usually be your prospective customers’ initial point of contact with your brand, so it needs to be attractive, welcoming and informative. Tell me what you do, how you’ll meet my needs and where I can go to buy your products/services.
Post regular helpful content – add a blog or news section to your website and start sharing content with your audience. This content should be helpful, engaging and (most importantly) regular if you’re going to build up a following and convert your prospects into paying customers and brand advocates.
Maximise your social presence – a social media presence is going to be crucial for your content marketing. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are all vital social channels when it comes to building followers and promoting your website and blog content. So, post and tweet frequently and make sure you engage with people.
Improving your content writing
Getting the content marketing for your startup up and running won’t happen overnight. And the results are likely to be a slow-burn success in the early days. But with the right foundations driving your content creation, you’ll start to see the difference.
My book, ‘How To Write Killer Content For Your Startup’, helps your work through the basics of defining your brand, creating a website and writing blogs, social content and digital marketing campaigns for your startup.
If you’re eager to start writing, my book gives you all the advice you need to get started, broken down across ten easy-to-read chapters:
Define Your Vision – Missions and manifestos
Know Your Audience – Customers and targets
Create Your Brand – Personality, style and tone
Improve Your Writing – Readability and grammar
Build A Website – Content and messaging
Have A Content Plan – Planning and Timelines
Get Blogging – Telling Stories
Start Getting Social – Tweeting and sharing
Run A Campaign – Email, newsletters and ads
Analyse Performance – Engagement and analytics
Do your startup a favour and start exploring the content marketing journey.
Believe in the power of words