Content CreationSo, the foundation is set, you promoted it all on social media sites and with a blog setup and your PR in full swing, it’s time to kick content creation into high-gear. Managing a blog and other forms of content can seem daunting, especially to not-so-great writers. Fortunately, four little steps will give startups the information they need to get serious.
- Creating a Topic List
You’ve got a good looking blog designed and a great content promotion strategy, but something’s missing. Oh right! The content.Before you dive right in and start writing, create a topic list. The perfect topic list is based on your core keywords for SEO purposes. Using your core keywords on your blog builds your startup’s credibility with search engines. Start by brainstorming ten topic ideas around each of your core keywords. Where possible, use your keywords in the titles, but not where it feels unnatural.With between thirty and fifty topics, you can start thinking about writing. But first, put all of these ideas into a calendar. When will each be published? Who will write them? Are any of them in progress? A blog calendar helps you track your topics from conception to completion. Gantt charts are often shrugged off, but for the purpose of properly managing an editorial schedule, they are extremely helpful. Check out the multitude of templates and spreadsheets available for free online like: 90-day calendar, a Google Doc template, or these free guides from Bob Angus.Tip: Be sure to add descriptions to your topic ideas. You might not remember your main points when you go to write the post three months from now.
- Knowing What Types of Content to Publish
There are four main types of content to be published (excluding blog content). Like social networks, each one has unique advantages and disadvantages. Consider your options carefully, always keeping your target market in mind. And remember: don’t try to do a little bit of everything right away.
- eBook/Guides: Information products are huge. Offer a free eBook in exchange for a name and email address. Just like that, you have a new lead. You know they’re interested in your product because they were interested in the eBook and now you have their contact information. Now, follow up. Ask their opinion of the eBook and open the door for conversation.
- Webinar: Hearing your voice and engaging with you live gives your customers (and potential customers) a sense of ease. Webinars capitalize on this! Cross promote your webinar on your blog. Also, have someone on your team live tweet during the webinar using a custom #hashtag. At the end of the webinar, after providing real value to the attendees, post your contact information. It’s a simple, interactive way to generate new leads.
- Newsletter: Email marketing is far from dead, despite what you might have read. Make subscribing to your newsletter quick and easy. Don’t go overboard with your email blasts though because if you overuse the connection, you’ll lose it. For the same reason, you’ll want to ensure every newsletter offers real value and is not just an excuse to push a new product. Try offering a discount, a promotion, industry news, or a contest – whatever!
- Video: If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much a video is worth. Keep it simple by having an explainer video created or by shooting an introduction video. Put the video on your startup’s homepage and/or blog. You might be camera shy, but statistics show that most people would rather watch than read.
- Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is vital for startups. First of all, guest posting on a popular blog is a great way to build your reputation in the space. Second, having someone influential guest blog on your startup’s blog is an easy way to drive traffic.Start by looking for outgoing guest blogging opportunities on the top blogs that are writing for your target market. Most blogs will accept guest posts openly, so look for a writers’ page or contributors’ page. If you’re having trouble, track down the blog owner or editor on social media. Ask to email him a first draft of your blog post idea. Just make sure it’s high-quality and 100% original.Once you’ve built a reputation, it will be easier to find influencers willing to contribute to your startup’s blog. Create a writers’ page of your own or reach out to select influencers individually via social media or email. When the guest post is published, be sure to ping the contributor so she can promote the post to her whole network.
- Capturing Emails
Email subscription has been mentioned a few times already. Capturing emails can be divided into three categories: email submits, newsletter subscriptions and blog subscriptions. Email submits could come from eBook downloads or similar offers. Newsletter subscriptions are just that: people interested in reading regular updates and content from your startup. Blog subscriptions are straightforward as well.Email submits and newsletter subscriptions are best managed by tools like MailChimp, which allows you to easily send well-designed custom emails to leads. Blog subscriptions, on the other hand, are best managed by tools like Feedburner, which allows you to automatically notify leads when you published new blog content.