Content strategy for startups: Main issues

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Rockin’Robin experts consult clients on optimal content strategies for startups and some questions come up frequently with new companies. This is what everybody wants to know.

Where do we start?

Each startup has a ton of things to do that will directly affect the future of the business, making it hard to find and allocate resources specifically to a content strategy.

Creating content is a labor-intensive process, but it can be optimized from the beginning. The work process is shaped like a funnel, the first part is the broadest: implementing the strategy. In other words, the first step is to work with platforms that guarantee the biggest reach, then move towards more specialized content.

This approach creates the basis for attracting large numbers of potential clients in order to identify users who could be interested in buying the product and then making a sale.

Great, but what should we write about?

Content can be anything. A perfect example is the UX company UIDG that posted an article about the design of its office at the very beginning of its work with clients. Although not originally written in English, the post even attracted English speakers thanks to the use of images. One of them was a renowned UX expert John Maeda, who shared a link to the post on his Twitter with some 380,000 followers.

Content is everywhere and you should not be afraid of talking about your products and their cool features, but also of discussing hot topics in your area of expertise. The main secret is to maintain balance and focus on the goals of the business - this will help avoid mistakes.

Do we need social media?

Many startups think of social networks as a source of traffic and potential clients. In certain cases like the b2c segment, it is true but it demands considerable creative work or a big investment.

Social networks are just another channel for distributing information. Other users prefer to read a blog post and some would rather follow a corporate Twitter account and get updates there.

In a nutshell, social networks are not something startups should waste time and effort on given scarce resources. However, if you still want to engage on social media, take a look at the results of a curious study investigating why users don’t follow brand accounts.

Should we hire an in-house marketing specialist?

In most cases, startups don’t need in-house marketing specialists. It is a lavish expense and staff efficiency is always lower than that of a professional contractor who is motivated by adding interesting projects to their portfolio and ready to meet KPIs with adequate rewards.

Will strict planning help?

No, it won’t. Content has an important characteristic: it’s created on the go, not according to a plan. You will often make a plan only to watch deadlines of postings shift when it’s impossible to complete articles for a variety of reasons. You’ll succeed in completing something else, though.

As a result, a planned article is postponed and replaced by another that suddenly became more important. When you look back, it will seem as though everything was perfectly executed, but it was nothing more than planning in retrospect.

However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to plan at all. A startup should definitely have a few directions (i.e., “This week, we need a post on product features and a translation of a foreign-language article with comments by our experts”). Specific topics will find you, you just need to start working.

How to attract industry media?

One of Rockin’Robin’s co-founders worked at the famous European online media vc.ru as a journalist. From his experience, most startups shouldn’t waste time on media work.

Journalists in online media have an uneasy job: each one of them has a pre-planned number of articles he or she should publish every day. Journalists routinely spend a huge portion of their time searching for interesting topics, so requests by unremarkable (frankly, that’s true in most cases) startups just distract and irritate them. Also, writing about another “cheaper version of Booking.com” doesn’t make any sense when one can cover the actual Booking.com or a new achievement of Elon Musk and get much more views.

In addition, journalists are spoiled for choice. Even the most insignificant online media are under attack from PR people and startups who want an article to get some attention. They invite reporters to free seminars, conferences (with some good food), send them on press tours – all for the sake of a single article that could gather a couple of hundred views.

As a result, journalists turn their nose up at startups. It’s quite hard to satisfy their refined taste and they ask for thousands of corrections even in a publishable article. If you publish interesting content yourself, journalists will come.

Summing Up

Blogs should be a content powerhouse and the marketing strategy for startups. It’s a resource for sharing compelling articles and the source from where content should be distributed to other blogging platforms and social networks in order to reach the attention of reporters.