This post is written by PAYMILL’s resident blogger Kostas who also happens to be taking care of content marketing.
Whether you’re bootstrapping or just secured a round of funding - chances are you want to attract as many customers to sign up for your product/service.
Even with a ton of publicity like getting featured on CNN and BBC, the light will fade on your startup. And so will unique visitors signing up as users. Unless of course your startup has a enormous marketing budget that it can just pump into TV ads and radio - but I’m guessing you want to spend your budget wisely.
The reality is this
Marketing can be expensive, especially if plan you on attending all those startup events where Robert Scoble is showing off Google Glass. But on the flip side of the coin, it can be relatively inexpensive if you know how to do it right.
One way to market your startup on the cheap is through blogging. And before you start telling me how time consuming and ineffective it is, take a moment to check out these statistics:
- 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly which, by itself, is still an impressive result (HubSpot)
- 59% of B2B marketers rate blogs as the most effective content marketing tactic (CMI)
- Blogging champions as the #1 method for increasing traffic, with SEO in second place (HubSpot)
- B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not (Inside View)
- Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links (Hubspot)
Another objection I often hear from startups is that they don’t know what to blog about.
But before we dive into the topics you should blog about. It’s important that you get a thorough understanding of who you want to attract to your website.
Find out who your audience is
First things first, find out who your target audience is. While it’s easy to go with what you want to blog about, your content will fall on deaf ears if it doesn’t resonate with your audience. To start delivering content people actually want to read, start off by answering these simple questions:
- Who’s involved in the buying decision? E.g. CEO, Marketing manager, business owner, etc.
- What does their day look like?
- How are they measured for success?
- How can your content help them? How does your product fit into their needs?
- What does your audience want?
- What does your audience want to avoid at all costs?
Next up is setting up your listening dashboard. Take a moment to listen and observe what your audience values most. Here are a few ways you can stay tuned in:
- Visit forums where they spend time online
- LinkedIn Groups
- Google+ Communities
- Set up Twitter searches
- Attend trade shows and networking events
- Subscribe to relevant blogs and monitor the comments
- Google Alerts
The main principle behind blogging for your startup that you’ll notice from the topic below is to deliver value, build trust and position yourself as a thought leader.
Five Topics To Blog About
Best Practices and Tips
Your blog is a way for you to deliver useful and practical content to your target audience. Most of the content we read today tell us what’s the best way of doing something or how to do it better.
People love reading these kinds of posts because it’s usually based on the author’s experience. The idea here is to write about an issue your target audience has trouble dealing with.
For example, if you’re product is an eCommerce platform where people sign up to set up their online store. People’s main concern will probably be about maximising online sales. So a best practices type of post could be: 7 Easy Ways to Increase Your Online Sales
With how-to posts, you’re telling the reader how to do something in a simple to follow, step-by-step guide.
Just like with best practices, how-to posts are extremely popular because they empower the reader. It helps people build and accomplish something, and when they do, they’ll remember you as the source of inspiration.
To continue with our eCommerce example, a possible title for a blog post could be: How to Build a Web Store You Can Be Proud of
Industry News Analysis
Chances are that you’re up to speed with everything happening in your industry. A major part of establishing thought leadership is through displaying you’re extensive knowledge of the marketplace.
Doing so helps build trust between you and your audience, especially when you add your own views into the mix.
Simply use the listening dashboard I mentioned in the beginning - pick a news article - and weigh in on the discussion.
For our fictional eCommerce startup, a blog post could be something like: How Google’s New Penguin Update Will Impact Your Online Store
Answering User Questions and Concerns
This is the easiest thing you can blog about to be honest. All you need to do is gather all the questions and feedback you’ve had come your way and answer them in a blog post.
Another benefit here, comes in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), since people will most likely be Googling the same questions. And you want your blog to be up there in the search results.
A lot of the questions will fall into the “what is ___?” category, such as: What is an in-app purchase?
Reporting on Future Trends
Here is where you can really set yourself apart - by writing what you think will be the future trends in your industry.
The reason why this should go in your blog is because it sets you up as a visionary in your field. Another benefit is the uniqueness of the content, since others won’t be having the same ideas and opinions as you.
For instance a future trends post would be titled: Top 3 trends to look out for in 2013
Your 5 Minute Blog Marketing Plan
Now this all sounds good, set up a blog, start writing about the topics above and a flood of visitors will come. Sadly people won’t come just because you built up a blog. Which is why a good old fashioned marketing plan for your blog needed. Luckily covering the basics only takes a few minutes to implement.
Here’s a marketing strategy that every blog should have:
- Setup social sharing
- Get everyone in your office to share, like, tweet, +1 your posts
- Enable RSS subscription
- Post to social media
- Email signatures
- Promote at events
So there you have it, five topics to help kickstart your blog and start attracting more business!