Content marketing represents the most cost-effective way for startups to broadcast their brand and expand their customer base.

In many ways, startups have an innate advantage over well-established businesses. Their hunger for success and greater experience aside, their small size allows them to continuously react and adapt in order to optimize internal efficiency and remain in sync with changing industry trends and practices. But all the ambition, great ideas, and pivoting in the world mean literally nothing without one key ingredient — an actual customer base.

Small Budgets, Big Ambitions

Startups typically lack the resources necessary for traditional mass marketing campaigns and other big budget advertising strategies. Instead, they have to get creative and find less expensive, but equally effective, ways to connect with consumers and boost the visibility of their brand.

The internet is the obvious solution, offering bootstrapped startups a channel with massive reach but minimal operational overhead. However, without a solid strategy in place, taking to the web can actually do more harm than good, sinking your brand even deeper into the murky depths of digital obscurity — or worse, the even greater depths of web-based infamy.

This is where content marketing comes in. Not only is an effective content strategy 62% less expensive than traditional advertising techniques, but it’s also the key to successful web-based outreach, allowing brands to stand out and connect with consumers in an increasingly content-saturated world, as Convince Your Boss details.

What separates content marketing from other strategies is its multi-faceted approach to consumer engagement — blog posts, images, videos, newsletters, podcasts, and more all come together to create a single, relatable identity for your brand. This gives consumers something real to grab onto amidst a sea of advertorial white noise.

The Secrets to Success

For startups, content marketing is clearly the way to go, but coming up with a solid strategy is often easier said than done.

Your content is only as strong as the brand behind it, so make sure you’ve firmly established a unique and relatable core culture that resonates with the values and needs of your customer base. Also consider what types of content your target demographic is most inclined to consume, so you can make sure your message is actually reaching the intended audience and making an impact.

Regardless of your industry or brand persona, producing consistent, high-quality content is a baseline requirement. This means presenting yourself as an authoritative voice, seeking out interesting, thought-provoking subject matter, and making sure there are absolutely no typos or grammatical mistakes in your posts. Nothing undermines your authority like an incredibly inappropriate autocorrect.

Last (but certainly not least), when you send your wonderful, new content out into the world, try to present it in a way that encourages audience interaction. Whether your campaign calls for customers to participate directly, or simply lets users like, share, or comment on a particular post, the data generated by these touch points will be one of the most valuable assets to your content strategy going forward.

Simply put, the more you understand your audience, the better you’ll become at engaging them. It’s the circle of life — at least from a content marketer’s point of view.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.

(Main image credit: Graham Holliday/flickr)

Author Ryan Mach

As his title suggests, Ryan is L&T’s top creative mind and voice, supervising editorial quality and the on-boarding of new content experts and brand journalists. He’s also responsible for the production of high-profile content initiatives, ranging from industry white papers to expert commentaries for top digital publications like Inc and TechCrunch. Also a graduate of Kenyon College, Ryan previously served on the editorial board of the political magazine, the Kenyon Observer, and co-founded the Fabulist, an undergraduate literary publication.

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