“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” —Seth Godin
Content marketing is one of the most common and powerful marketing tools for startup founders. The reason is simple – it could be done cheaply, and at the same time it could have huge impact if done right.
Because of this, as a startup founder, it’s quite common that you’ll have to start writing content for your project. If you don’t have experience doing it, it is easier to follow a step-by-step guide to making sure even your first blogposts are worthy of the time of your readers.
Here are the steps to get you started:
It’s crucial not to skip this step because it would help you judge if you are moving in the right direction or not. As a startup founder, there are many productive ways to spend your time. If your content marketing efforts aren’t paying out, then it might be time to pivot and invest your time in other marketing activities.
2. Strategy And Tactics
Once you’ve defined your goal, you need to figure out how you’re going to achieve it. There are many content marketing strategies that you can apply which are not the focus of this article. Nevertheless, this step should be part of your process even if it doesn’t require you to make changes every single time. By thinking about it before you write every new blogpost you’ll be able to iterate and refine it, and you’ll be able to focus your writing efforts to better serve your strategy.
What are you going to write about? Obviously, the topic of your content should serve your overall goals and strategy. More importantly, however, it should provide your readers with real value.
You should do some basic content competition research to see what is already available out there on the chosen topic. If the available content is of high quality, then you’d have to differentiate what you’re planning to write about in some way to ensure it adds value. It would be harder to gain traction if you’re just writing more of the same.
Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to dig a bit deeper to gather the needed information you need in order to produce a good piece of content. Write down notes – data, sources, and quotes are some of the most useful things you can gather because, besides your own opinion and ideas, these pieces of information would be the foundations on which you build and support your arguments.
Of course, the default solution is to gather information from the internet. However, the more original pieces of information you can generate, the better your content would be. Do you have proprietary data? Can you conduct interviews for original quotes? Going this route requires a lot more effort, but guarantees that your content would be differentiated rather than generic.
After you’ve gathered your data points, it’s time to build your narrative structure. Creating an outline before you start writing makes the writing process much easier, and makes it more likely that the final product will be easy to follow.
6. First Draft and First Edit
Time to write. Don’t focus too much on polishing – just get everything out there.
Then, use an editing tool and read through your piece to fix any obvious problems.
7. Beta Readers
Send your first draft to at least one reader before publishing it. An unbiased opinion is crucial because we are often blind to the problems of our own writing.
8. Final Edits And Polish
Fix any major problems, but don’t obsess over getting everything perfect. When it comes to content quality is important, but consistency and quantity are also crucial for content marketing.
Choose a good headline, intro, visuals, formatting, etc. These final touches are quite important because they give a good first impression and in the long run help you gain traction over competing pieces of content.
9. Publish And Promote
With the writing part done, it’s time to publish and promote your piece of content in order to help it gain traction.
10. Results Review
Last but not least, after some time has passed, you should return to your content and analyze its performance. By comparing it to the performance of your other pieces of content you’ll gain invaluable insights into your audience, and it will be the foundation on which you review and iterate on your strategy and tactics.