How to Build a Content Strategy for Startups

Content marketing is important to achieve every business’ goals. It’s a cost-effective way of gaining new leads and generating traffic for a website. This will, in turn, increase brand awareness and return on investment. That’s why 97% of companies use content strategy as part of their marketing strategy. 

But content marketing is not only for big and established companies. With the ever-competitive market, startups should also invest in a content strategy.

There are different types of content that startups can use to promote their brand. But that does not mean all these can drive a content strategy for startups to succeed. The most important part is to create the right content strategy for the company.

How Is Content Strategy for Startups Important

During the first six months of 2022, over 2.5 million businesses emerged. Despite that, only 51% of startups move past their 5-year mark. The reasons for their failure vary, but mainly it’s because of weak marketing strategies.

Without a content strategy, no one will know about the company. That’s why content marketing for startups is important. It helps them make a mark in the digital space by sharing valuable and relevant content. By using videos, blog posts, and infographics, startups can establish authority for their brand. High authority means better SEO ranking in the SERPs.

The best part is that it lets them communicate with an audience without selling to them. More people are willing to learn about a company by reading an article instead of seeing it through ads. This makes it a great marketing strategy to build a strong and loyal customer base. A loyal customer base can bring great ROI and success to the company. 

Not only that, but it helps companies attract and keep top talent. This is important for new startups in the business world. By producing engaging content, they communicate that working with them promotes professional growth.

While creating content is easy, it’s hard to build an effective content strategy. Startups can’t just do whatever is trending in the content marketing world. They need to develop a strategy to use these trends to their advantage.

Steps to Building an Effective Content Strategy for Startups

There are no two identical content marketing strategies. Some companies spend a lot on SEO for social media, while others focus on email newsletters. That’s because startup marketing strategies should fit their specific needs.

An effective content strategy considers the company’s target audiences, goals, and budgets. The following steps will help startups create a content strategy that works for them.

  1. Identify the Company’s Goals

Startups need to define their goals before setting up a plan for a content strategy. Do they want to increase their website traffic? Do they want to produce high-quality leads for their sales team? Or do they want to build brand awareness?

Identifying the company’s goals for marketing will guide its strategy in the right direction. For instance, investing in guest blogging and SEO increases organic traffic. But creating videos or starting a podcast series is the best choice to raise brand awareness.

  1. Determine the Target Audience

The main purpose of creating content is to attract new customers and keep the old ones excited about the company. That’s why startups need to know their target audience in the early stages. 

Understanding the company’s target audience helps them find the right audience for their brand. For example, different age groups prefer different types of content.

There’s also a difference in how people consume content in different parts of the world. Startups expanding their business in a foreign country should also research their audience.

It’s also helpful to create personas. These are semi-fictional depictions of the people to whom the company wants to market. Personas often include the target audience’s demographic profile. To create a compelling persona, startups need to include the following as well:

  • Areas the audience is interested in
  • The audience’s personal and professional objectives
  • Their pain points and challenges
  • Their buying patterns
  • How interested they are in the company
  • Their needs and wants
  • Their preferred channels and content type

The more detailed the personas are, the more effective they will be for a content strategy.

  1. Choose a Framework

Businesses use content marketing frameworks to maximize their marketing efforts. They can better grasp where they are, where they’re going, and how they can get there by using the framework. Additionally, it can help startups organize their content and bring order to chaos.

As a deliverable, it often includes a company’s insights about its present situation. It also includes a guide for carrying out that strategy where teams can refer to it over time. This will set the groundwork for campaigns and initiatives.

There are three different content marketing frameworks. Businesses can choose among these three options, depending on their goals.

The Trial-and-Error Framework

This is ideal for startups, especially if it is their first time doing content marketing. It allows companies to produce several forms of material based on a theme. It also helps distribute materials and keep track of which resonates most with their audiences.

The Skyscraper Framework

This framework can produce content that expands upon an existing concept.

Startups use this if they want to increase brand exposure through influencer marketing. More specifically, they can put a unique spin on an existing piece of content and give it a new value. They can use this to contact the influencer who published the original material. The idea is to convince people to recognize its value and promote it.

The Funnel Framework

This content marketing framework employs the three stages of the funnel strategy:

  • Top of the funnel
  • Middle of the funnel
  • Bottom of the funnel

It guarantees that companies produce content they can use in each sales funnel. By doing so, startups can ensure they don’t oversaturate any part of the funnel.

  1. Set a Budget

There are a lot of factors that affect a startup’s marketing budget. This depends on the company’s needs, but it mostly consists of:

  • Content marketing tools and software
  • Freelancers
  • In-house team
  • Direct expenses
  • Content marketing agencies

But even so, it’s still essential that they spend the budget wisely. The most successful companies spend at least 50% of their budget on content marketing. 

Startups don’t need to spend that much since they don’t earn as much money as big companies do. Considering this, they can put 7 – 8% of their budget into content marketing. This budget range is a safe starting point that can still drive the company to success.

Budgeting for startup marketing strategies includes considering how much each content type costs.  

Blogs are the most popular type of content and don’t cost that much. In fact, startups can produce their blogs for free. But if they are struggling with time, they can use third-party agencies. Some content marketing agencies also offer professional editing and even include graphic creation.

Determining the company’s budget for content marketing helps them narrow its goals. It determines what type of content they can afford and how they should execute their plans.

  1. Do a Competitive Content Analysis

There’s a reason why big companies attract more customers to their brand. That’s because they have an effective marketing strategy. Startups can look into these companies’ strategies by doing competitive content analysis.

But this is not just about checking what kind of content they post. A competitive content analysis lets businesses analyze their competitors in a structured way. This makes it easier to identify their best content and weakest points.

Startups that are new to business have every reason to do competitive analysis. This gives them effective content ideas and helps them develop a strategy that works.

  1. Choose the Type of Content to Use

A successful content strategy for startups includes choosing the right type of content. Startups may spend a huge amount of money on their content strategy. But, this does not mean much if the content they’re using does not resonate well with their target audience.

Knowing what the audience wants is one way of finding the right type of content for the company. But startups should also think about what content types best capture their brand.

Blog posts

Most blog content is written text, and some have images in them. There are many types of blogs, such as how-to guides, lists, and FAQs. This is the best way to share information and personal material with an audience. People will more likely trust a brand that produces high-quality and relevant blogs.

Startups in the travel industry benefit greatly from blog posts. They can maintain engagement among their audience and attract new people to their website. Blog posts are also the best way to share pictures of what they do and the places they market. Adding images to blog posts is an effective strategy to entice readers and rank higher in SERPs.

Email newsletters

Email newsletter campaigns include sending regular emails to a targeted subscriber list. Both B2B and B2C companies can benefit from this.

Startups can schedule email newsletters weekly, biweekly, or monthly. The emails often consist of brief updates like company news or promotional offers. Email marketing is an excellent way for a company to keep in touch with potential or existing customers.

Videos

Some people love watching videos instead of reading blogs. Therefore, startups can also invest in video content to attract a large audience. Video content can be about tutorials, interviews, product guides, and more.

Startups can benefit a lot from video marketing efforts, especially regarding ROI. A lot of video marketers share how video content produces a positive ROI. In particular, it helps increase traffic, dwell time, sales, and brand awareness.

  1. Create and Distribute Content

After finding out all the information above, it’s time to create content. Startups need to focus on key factors to create the best content, including:

  • Establishing a consistent tone and voice
  • Creating a framework that sends a message
  • Creating content related to the business’s values, products, or services
  • Using constant visual branding and style throughout all content

When it comes to distributing content, it helps to find the proper channels. But no matter how engaging the content is, if the target audience isn’t in the selected channel, then it’s useless. Startups can use either free or paid channels, including:

  • Owned media. This includes platforms where the company has full distribution control.
  • Organic search. This relies on a search engine optimization (SEO) plan to help people locate the company’s content.
  • Social media. This channel offers both paid and free options to interact with people.
  • Third-party distribution. Through these channels, startups can distribute their material to different platforms. This includes news aggregation websites and publishing cooperatives.
  • Paid media. This consists of sponsored content, influencer partnerships, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
  1. Measure How the Content Performs

Startups usually have a limited budget and resource pool. That’s why every dollar they invest must produce observable, quantifiable outcomes. Here are some strategies to use data in a startup marketing strategy:

  • Identify and track marketing KPIs

KPIs are measures that startups can use to check on their marketing goals. Using indicators like website traffic and social media shares can measure brand awareness. They can also use sales and conversion rates if they want to check customer acquisition and revenue.

  • Test the strategy and reiterate when needed

Startups need to adjust their strategy when something isn’t working. For that reason, a great content marketing strategy always includes testing. This helps startups find out what content their audience enjoys. They will know what content they should create and distribute in the future.

There are different content testing procedures, and each has different purposes. For example, A/B testing helps discover how small changes can impact the outcomes. The Cloze test will help startups discover how people use their content in the real world. 

Make the Most Out of Content Strategy

Content marketing doesn’t stop with the first content strategy a company develops. It is a continuous process that evolves depending on the company’s specific needs. Investing in it can increase lead generation, conversion, and customer retention.

It doesn’t take a big company to create engaging and valuable content. Content marketing is cheap, which makes it possible for startups to invest in it. Because of this, they can develop a content marketing playbook that works for them.

Will Fastiggi
Will Fastiggi

Originally from England, Will is an Upper Primary Coordinator now living in Brazil. He is passionate about making the most of technology to enrich the education of students.

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