I put out a minimum of one article per week. I share posts on LinkedIn each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The Recipe (my weekly email) hits inboxes every Friday morning.
With the exception of our clients and the companies I mentor, those articles, posts, and emails are what form the perception of Special Sauce (aka our brand). That content is also where we draw most of our new business. I can directly point to writing as the source for 70% of our current clients.
Content marketing is the perfect blend of branding and marketing. There’s no better way to shape the perception of your company while also driving sales. If you aren’t currently doing it, start. Here are a few tips to leverage content marketing for your startup.
Decide what you want to be known for as a company
I write about the five pillars of growth—your product, brand, website, marketing, and sales. That’s it. You won’t find random topics covered in posts or emails. Consistently providing value around the pillars of growth makes it clear for new visitors to our blog or readers of my LinkedIn posts what they’ll get out of following or subscribing.
The articles I write aren’t going to be viral internet killers, but they’re always helpful for the people we want as clients. That’s what most startups launching company blogs and posting on social don’t get. You don’t need fifty thousand views of a post to be successful. Ten views from the right people will drive more revenue than thousands of random views. This brings me to the second tip.
Write for the people you want to buy
The articles I write aren’t for everyone. Each article, email, or social post is intended to speak to one of our three target clients:
- Entrepreneurs launching a new company or product that need a badass branding and marketing partner to guide them through naming their company, building their brand, getting their first customer, and then on to becoming a market leader by scaling marketing.
- Leadership at companies that are stuck and need a branding and marketing agency to spot and fix the issues with their product, brand, website, marketing, and sales in order to drive growth.
- Marketing directors at larger companies looking for a partner who can spot holes in the market and bring products to life quickly.
There’s a good bit of crossover between our three target clients so my writing often appeals to more than one, but I’m always writing for one in particular. To keep my crazy brain focused on the right person, I write the audience I’m helping at the top of each article draft. This is one of those stupid little hacks that work. Give it a try on your next article and I’ll bet your writing comes out more focused and intentional.
Create content that solves problems
It’s easy to get caught up in SEO and what can go viral and forget that content marketing is intended to solve problems. The blogs, Medium writers, email newsletters, YouTube channels, and podcasts I regularly consume all help me solve problems.
The better you get at doing this, the more successful your content marketing will be at generating business and shaping your desired perception. Determine what you want the reader to take away from your post before you start writing and then produce an article that delivers the goods.
I constantly revisit conversations with friends and clients, questions I get from groups I mentor, and I research what people are searching to identify big nasty problems. Spotting problems to address is one of the most underrated skills of great marketers. Open your eyes and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Keep an ongoing list of problems you spot. You’ll have an archive of 50+ problems to solve in no time.
Make a public promise and stick to a schedule
Another big part of getting results from content marketing is showing up every week. I’ve talked about Robert Cialdini’s principles of influence countless times in The Recipe. The one I use repeatedly to force myself into showing up is the principle of commitment and consistency.
The basic idea is to make a public commitment in writing stating what you’re going to deliver. Your psychological need for being consistent with your promise will force you to show up. This works. I’ve sent 109 straight emails and I’m on LinkedIn every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because I made public commitments.
Force yourself into action. It’s intimidating and scary to commit, but consistently showing up is a mandatory ingredient of content marketing.
Play the long (and short) game
The best thing about content marketing for your startup is that it can provide immediate gratification in the form of sales and long-term value in the form of building your brand. Every post is further proof of your expertise on a specific topic. Provide enough proof and people will reach out when they have a problem you can solve. All you have to do is decide what you want to be known for as a company, write for the people you want to buy, create content that solves problems, and use the commitment and consistency principle to force yourself into showing up every week.
Are you working hard to grow a brand? Sign up for The Recipe and you’ll get my best branding, marketing, and persuasion tips (gained from launching, rebranding, and marketing 100+ brands) every Friday morning.Andrew