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8 Content Tips for Early Stage Startups

Mani Karthik
8 Content Tips for Early Stage Startups

Why content marketing and not SEO or SEM, you ask? Well, after a lot of experimentation and failures, startups have come to learn that content marketing is one of the most efficient marketing efforts. It is lean, mean and scalable, just like startups are. More and more startups these days are embracing content marketing like no other marketing channel.

Early stage startups have limitations: budget, staff and scale limitations, to name a few. It's a chaotic time, and everyone plays multiple roles. Big guys have marketing dollars in the millions. Early stage startups? Don’t even ask.

However, we’ve seen many early stage startups win with a solid content marketing strategy with zero dollars and mostly lean teams. How? Here are eight strategies for lean startups to win over the marketing channel with content marketing.

1. Get a Lean, Yet Resourceful, Team in Place

With a limited budget, it’s impossible to match the biggies and hire a big content team. It’s just not going to happen.

So, begin with baby steps steps. Find a bunch of talented folks in the industry who are hungry for growth, and give them a chance. Make them part of your team, give them recognition. Use their social strength, give them a platform to show off their talent and let them write, write, write. Getting started is more important than anything else.

2. Play Multiple Roles, and Be Helpful

When you start with a lean team, there are challenges for sure. When people are playing multiple roles, you might step on toes or get frustrated with another in the group. The right way to go about this is to be helpful to one another. Allow mistakes to happen, but be quick to fix them.

Specific to content, let a designer or other non-writer can submit posts. The end result might not be the cleanest copy (editor's note: hooray for editors!), but it will give your audience a different perspective.

3. Assign Roles Based on Strengths

Assign roles in your content marketing team tailored to the strengths of the individual. For example, there could be writers, seeders, promoters, reach out specialists and influencers in your group. Based on this, match up and assign resources appropriately. This will help you focus on deliverability.

4. Make the Most of Tools

Tools, tools, tools. You can’t have enough of them.

Make sure you try as many as possible, and keep an arsenal of them. A lot of tools have free trials, so you can experiment and see what works best for your company. SEMrush, for instance, can help you with SEO and keyword research for your content marketing efforts.

You don’t have to go for an enterprise-level account, but find a decent plan that matches your budget.

5. Embrace Reverse Engineering

One mistake many startups make is trying to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to.

It takes a lot of time and effort to create new content. If you want to move fast, see what others are doing. See what’s popular and then reverse engineer it. There is a lot of content floating around on any topic today. Find the best ones and add value, rework it and step it up a notch higher.

6. Network Like Crazy

I can’t stress this enough. Find opportunities to network with similar-minded folks or brands. Use Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels to reach out to influential folks in your target audience. Talk to them. Introduce your product. Maybe offer a trial for a blog post so it's win-win for both parties.

You’ll be surprised at how receptive people can be when you approach them nicely and offer a solution to a problem their facing. Remember, if you don’t engage with your audience, your competitor will.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New

Always test. Instead of arguing over which is better than the other, implement multiple ideas and conduct testing. Test the hell out of it, and find out what works. Let the data speak for itself.

8. Embrace SEO

Churn out good content, and do it consistently. Being consistent can do wonders for your SEO.

Write content that supports your keyword strategy, and take advantage of content marketing tools. The investment is not as much compared to some other marketing channels, which demand a lot of dollars. But at the same time, keep in mind that many others are also doing it. Unless you keep consistent with it and add value to the eco-system, you’re just going to be one among the others.

So make a difference, and put in that extra hard work. The rewards will come.

Image credit: Flickr

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Mani Karthik is Inbound Marketing Manager at SuperMoney. An Online Marketing expert and SEO, he blogs at DailySEOblog and Manikarthik. Catch him on Twitter.
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Andy Detweiler
Awesome article, Mani. I'm going to share this right now. I'm trying to think of something to add, but your post was very complete.
Julia McCoy
Excellent blog - what a GREAT investment for startups, content!

I'd add, it's fairly low cost, especially if said startup creator is a great writer! And, always a golden opportunity for growth on the web - content is never not needed.
thanks, very helpful and informative article
Mani, thank you for this helpful article. In addition to mention the response of Sarah I like to mention the three different variaties of content. Basic, which should be send out as much as possible (daily!), Campaign content runs over a period of 3 or for months a year and Top content only once a year or bi-yearly. The last one is indeed very time consuming and expensive to produce. An award is an example of the such content. I do like the term Big content and how the formula works.
Sarah Burke
Nice article! Very interesting!

I'd also recommend trying to make time for "big content", i.e. content that's a little out of the norm! Especially with start-ups who are trying to stand out from the crowd, making time for this can be a serious win for businesses!

I wrote an article about big content (or epic content as I like to call it) actually, which you are more than welcome to have a read of if you're interested! http://www.getspokal.com/why-y...
Sarah Burke
Agree. Not sure what you meant by big content (although I like the term, kinda catchy) but if you meant long form, authoritative, well researched articles..oh yes! :)