“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” —Seth Godin
Content marketing is one of the most used and powerful marketing tools for startup founders. The reason is simple: it can be done cheaply and at the same time it can have a huge impact if done right.
Therefore, as a startup founder, it is quite normal that you need to start writing content for your project. If you’re new to it, it’s easier to follow a step-by-step guide to ensure that even your first blog posts are worth your readers’ time.
Here are the steps to get started:
It is critical not to skip this step as it would help you judge whether you are going 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 off, it might be time to pivot and invest your time in others 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 you can adopt that are not the focus of this article. Nevertheless, this step should be part of your process, even if you don’t have to make changes every time. Thinking about it before you write each new blog post will help you iterate and refine it, as well as 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, it must provide real value to your readers.
You should do some basic content competition research to see what is already available on the chosen topic. If the content available is of high quality, you need to somehow differentiate what you plan to write about to ensure it adds value. It would be harder to get traction if you just wrote more of the same.
Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to dig a little deeper to gather the necessary information you need to produce a good piece of content. Jot down notes – data, sources, and quotes are some of the most useful things you can gather, because these pieces of information, along with your own opinions and ideas, are the foundation upon which you build and support your arguments.
The standard solution, of course, is to get information from the Internet. The more original the information you can generate, the better your content would be. Do you have ownership details? Can you conduct interviews for original quotes? Going this route requires a lot more effort, but guarantees that your content is differentiated rather than generic.
Once you’ve collected your data points, it’s time to build your narrative structure. Making an outline before you start writing makes the writing process much easier and is more likely to make the final product easy to follow.
6. Initial design and initial processing
Time to write. Don’t focus too much on polishing – just get it all out.
Then use an editing tool and read through your piece to fix any obvious issues.
7. Beta Readers
Send your first draft to at least one reader before publishing. An unbiased opinion is crucial because we are often blind to the problems of our own writing.
8. Final edits and polish
Solve big problems, but don’t obsess about 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, imagery, formatting, etc. These last details are quite important as they give a good first impression and help you get to grips with competing pieces of content in the long run.
9. Publish and promote
Now that the writing part is done, it’s time to publish and promote your piece of content to ensure it gains traction.
10. Results overview
Last but not least, over time you need to return to your content and analyze its performance. Comparing it to the performance of your other pieces of content will give you valuable insights into your audience, and it will form the basis upon which you review and iterate on your strategy and tactics.