It’s safe to say that over the last 10 years, in particular, people have generally lost their appetite for traditional marketing.
There was an era during which, if you wanted to market your new business, you would pay for a TV spot or an ad in the local newspaper. Then came digital and the smartphone revolution – something that added intimacy and immediacy into the equation.
But the problem is that people are being hit with “traditional” advertising from all angles, nearly every moment of the day. We see paid ads when we scroll through social media. You can’t visit a website anymore without first getting hit with a popup. Even search engines display paid, “straightforward” ads alongside organic results – to the point where most people have started to tune them out.
So how, then, do you make an impact as a startup in the modern era? Two words: content marketing.
At its core, content marketing is all about taking a more strategic approach to your advertising spend. It’s one that sees you create and distribute A) valuable, B) hyper-relevant and C) incredibly consistent content to as many channels as you can. From your own website to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to video streaming sites like YouTube, content marketing has a place on all of it.
It’s also an approach that is incredibly effective. Consider the fact that:
- One study estimated that organizations that engage in blogging are 13 times more likely to get a positive return on investment from their efforts.
- The return on investment for email marketing is an incredible 42x or 4,200%.
- A massive 72% of marketers say that they’ve been able to dramatically improve their engagement with their customers through these and other forms of content marketing.
But at the same time, it’s also true that not all campaigns are created equally. If you want to increase engagement, your content needs to be built with that in mind.
Building a Better Content Marketing Campaign: An Overview
By far, one of the most important things to understand about content marketing in the startup space is that you need to vary up the types of materials that you’re creating to cast the widest net that you can.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that content marketing is just about blogging or guest posting on someone else’s website. While these techniques are certainly valuable, there is also so much more you can tap into.
Case in point: if you want to really harness the power of social media to your advantage, you’ll want to use an Infographic maker like Visme or Canva to create Infographics and other types of visual materials. Not only are they far more engaging in these settings, but they’re also far more likely to be shared as well – thus improving your brand reach and exposing your company to a group of people who may not have otherwise found it.
For the best results, you should let the idea for a piece of the material dictate the ultimate form it should take. If you’re trying to take a complicated subject filled with stats and other figures and distill it into a format that anyone could understand, the aforementioned Infographic would be the way to go. If you’re sitting down to interview a thought influencer in your industry, you would likely want to do so in the form of a video. If you want to really spend a lot of time with an idea and come at it from a variety of angles, you might consider a presentation or even a white paper.
Regardless, try to create as much varied, robust content as you can to attract as much attention as possible.
In an effort to improve content marketing for your startup, you must also get comfortable with another invaluable topic: the content marketing funnel.
Consider the journey that someone takes between the point where they find out about your products and services to the time when they become a paying customer. This doesn’t just happen automatically – they need to be properly warmed up first.
Again, people want to be confident in the ways they’re spending their hard-earned money. They want to know that they’re going to get something in return – an answer to their question or a solution to some type of problem they have. To get there, they’ll commonly do as much research as possible and the content marketing funnel is absolutely how you make the most out of that time.
If you look at your average customer and determine that it takes about six touchpoints before they make a purchase, for example, you would want to have six distinct sets of content to engage with them during these milestones. But you also need to make sure that they’re specific pieces for the part of the journey they’re currently on.
Someone who has only just entered the funnel will probably need basic education about what your products and services do in the first place and why they need them in their lives. As they move farther along, you can get more detailed about some of the features and benefits that might entice them. The goal here is to organically move someone from one end of the funnel to the other, increasing the chances that they’ll make a purchase and getting them excited to do so in the first place.
In the end, it’s safe to say that content marketing is here to stay. The world has changed dramatically over even as recently as the last decade and advertising has evolved right along with it. These days, the way to differentiate yourself from your competitors as a startup and engage with a wider customer base involves creating as much high-value, relevant content as you can. Once you have a system in place to do exactly that, there really is no limit to what you’ll be able to accomplish.