Content marketing isn’t as easy as it once was. Today, every company with an online presence has a company blog. We’re all battling over keywords and rankings, and we all use multiple social media channels to shout into the void.
Getting your content noticed above the noise is a significant challenge for any company, particularly for startups, which often lack the resources of established brands.
While almost every startup uses content marketing, few see success with their strategies.
If you’re unsure about the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy, see if it shares any of the following winning characteristics:
#1 An In-Depth Understanding Of Your Market
Entrepreneurs spend their energy creating and developing their passion projects and turn that ‘lightbulb moment’ into reality. However, many startups focus too much on product development and too little on researching their market—and finding out if one even exists.
Once you know the demographics and psychographics of your target market(s), your marketing efforts will immediately gain focus. You’ll be in a better position to decide which social media channels to use, how to reach your market in the digital space, and the types of content which most appeal to your market.
#2 Stories and Problem Solving
If you know your market, you should also know the problems they face. Use content marketing to offer solutions. For example, if your market are heavy smartphone users, they may struggle to find space to fit new apps on their devices. You could create content that shows readers how to free up smartphone storage space, for example.
Additionally, stories are compelling content. We all love a good story. Present a problem faced by you (or someone else) in the opening paragraph (or first 30 seconds of a video), then craft a story that resolves with the solution to that problem.
#3 No Jargon
Jargon is a turn-off for all but the most technically-minded in your market. Your marketers and developers may know what particular acronyms and technical terms mean, but your audience probably won’t. Content should be written in layman’s terms; you can get into the technicalities only when the customer leads the conversation in that manner.
#4 Little to No Selling
You may be incredibly excited about your product, but you need to face up to the fact that most people don’t care about it.
Let’s say you’re an alternative finance provider. No-one wants to read articles about the history of alternative finance or how the industry’s changed in the past few months. That content won’t draw people to your site or start a conversation about your brand.
Instead, cast your net a little wider. Discuss the topics that matter to your target market. Instead of talking about alternative finance, explore the problems faced by small businesses—and their solutions. Analyze news stories that affect SMEs.
By making little to no mention of your company or its products, you’ll keep readers engaged and publish content that’s far more shareable than an advertorial or commercial.
#5 Useful Metrics
App downloads and page views are vanity metrics that make us feel good about our marketing efforts but don’t actually tell us anything about their success. Instead, savvy startups choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that truly reflect the state of their product, such as retention figures or revenue changes.
Well-chosen metrics help you understand the return on your investment in marketing, including which channels are most effective and how customers behave when they reach your site.
#6 An Understanding Of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Some startups think SEO is unnecessary these days. Others think SEO is the only marketing approach your company needs. Of course, the reality is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. For example, your content marketing efforts should take into account the keywords you’re targeting, but you should never stuff a page with keywords merely for the SEO boost.
Getting the balance right is easy enough. Ask yourself this question: is this content for our target market, or Google? Make sure it’s the former.
Overall, content marketing remains an effective digital marketing tool if you have a deep knowledge and understanding of your target market. SEO should be in the back of your mind when creating content, but your readers should ultimately be the focus of every content decision you make.
Author: Anna Roberts is a writer and digital marketing enthusiast from York, UK. She’s currently Head of Content at a software startup. You’ll find her thoughts on HR, business growth and staff motivation over on the RotaCloud blog.