Shrinking newsrooms and the rise of Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, and contributor networks are making content an essential part of a company’s visibility in the media. Backed by an SEO strategy, company blogs, op-eds, landing page content and downloadable assets are now powerful drivers of lead-gen and brand awareness.
But where does content come from? This is an existential question for all organizations, but especially for early stage startups who may only have a founder or two, an engineering team and a salesperson fully dedicated to growth.
Creating quick, killer content is not about hiring armies of journalism interns. It’s about using the resources you have in smart ways.
What should you write about? Who should write it? And how do you speed up the process? Here’s your crash course:
What Should You Write About?
Ask yourself this, and you’ll be staring at a blinking cursor for six hours.
Instead, ask yourself, “What questions do my customers have?” Every business exists to serve customers. Customer feedback guides the products you build, the services you offer and the brand you present to the market. Let customers guide your content, too.
Next, brainstorm a list of headline ideas. Not 5 or 10, but 100 if you can. Consider the questions customers might have about your product or service, the underlying technology, your company culture, the market you serve and how you stack up against competitors.
Time to pick your favorites, and there are two rules of thumb. Rule number one, think ‘blue ocean.’ I introduced this concept in my last blog about mission and vision statements as a topic or style, uniquely yours to claim and conquer.
A great resource on blue ocean strategy is a blog by CoSchedule’s CEO, Garrett Moon. In his words, your customers ask questions, and you should be the best answer on the Internet.
Rule number two, follow the 80/20 rule: 80 percent objective, thought-leadership content that answers key audience questions, and 20 percent focused on product offerings. Yes, your company is awesome. But yes, resist the urge to write only about how awesome you are.
Finally, structure your favorite headlines into a content calendar. Plan at least 2-4 weeks ahead, and assign topics to various authors. Speaking of…
Who Should Write It?
The answer is everyone. No one person in a startup has the bandwidth to handle content.
But your founder(s) could write a state-of-the-industry piece. Your engineering team could explore what makes a great developer in the retail tech space. And your sales team could identify frequent phrases or questions from prospects and address them in a Q&A.
Creating quick, killer content as a startup is about assembling a strikeforce. Members have the opportunity to build not only the company brand, but to leverage content on channels like Medium and Linkedin to build their own personal brands as well.
How to Speed Up the Process
Lightning round: here’s how to turn your small, seed stage team into a content generation machine:
- Create top 10 lists. Frequent customer questions, favorite Netflix shows, most inspiring CEOs and most hated salad places all work great here.
- Expand on or react to recent news. Keep reactions positive, use proper attribution and don’t be afraid to share your post with the original author.
- Leverage User Generated Content (UGC). Also lovingly referred to as ‘OPC’: other people’s content. Share content from your executives, employees, board members, investors and other stakeholders. Again, use proper attribution.
- Repurpose content. Think of each piece of content as a campaign. Your long-form exploration of artificial intelligence could easily become a three-part blog series. Audio from a keynote presentation could find new life as a blog Q&A, a Slideshare deck, social posts, an email newsletter, a downloadable eBook or a webinar.
And when you’re ready, turn existing content into engaging visuals with these tips from one of Matter’s designers, Matt Brown.
Imagine the staggering amount of new sales and marketing collateral you’d have.
Creating quick, killer content as a startup is possible. Let the customer drive your content vision. Innovate and iterate until you’ve created content that is uniquely our own. And give us a call to learn how content makes PR more powerful.