Expert Insights: Content Marketing Strategies for Start-ups (Part 2)
Last week we shared to you some of content marketing ideas from experts. Today we will continue with the second and last part of our two-part post about Content Marketing for start-ups according to experts.
Note: If you haven’t read yet the first part, I suggest you read it first. To give you a short recap, the following are the questions answered by industry experts:
- Question #1: What is content marketing and how do you use it in your start-up?
- Question #2: What are your objectives and key results in using content marketing?
- Question #3: In light of those objectives and key results, how do you measure your content marketing efforts?
- Question #4: How has your content marketing efforts impacted your company so far? (Traffic, shares, searchability, email leads, etc.)
- Question #5: Is there a special training you provide your writers in order for them to support your content marketing efforts?
Now, let’s continue with the rest of the questions…
Question #6: Who are the people in your team who are responsible for the company’s content marketing efforts? (Not the names, rather the job types)
Rand Fishkin: We have a marketing team of 16 folks today, and of those, 3 are exclusively dedicated to content (they’re called the “content team”). Cyrus Shepard leads that group, which includes two content strategists who help design, manage, edit, and curate all the stuff we publish. We also have a team of 4 on social, led by Jen Lopez, and they handle a lot of the promotion and interaction of that content through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. But these aren’t the only folks who are content creators or social interactors at Moz!
We have another dozen or so folks from around the company (myself included) who contribute heavily, and another 50-60+ who’ve occasionally written a blog post, published a visual, given a presentation and put it on Slideshare, or interacted with our customers on social networks. It’s a big, broad, cross-team effort.
But, beyond Moz, we actually have a huge team of contributors from around the web marketing world. Almost half our content isn’t created by Mozzers – it’s created by professionals who read Moz and want to give back (and leverage our platform to boost their own visibility). We love this symbiotic relationship and we do a lot of hard work to make sure that our guest contributors look good when they publish on Moz.
Neil Patel: We have one person per company. Their title is director of content marketing. They focus on creating content, recruiting writers, editing, posting, and promoting. They also measure the blogs traffic and figure out the types of content that drive more visitors and cause conversions.
Michele Linn: If you look at the composition of the CMI team, the editorial team is the largest team in the organization. I lead our efforts, but we have people who focus on various aspects of or content efforts. For instance, we have a managing editor for our print magazine, a director who focuses on original research, a director who leads our podcast efforts and managing editors or leads who manage our blogs (one for CMI and one for a new property, Intelligent Content Conference). We also have a person who curates or repackages all of our internal content and another person who is dedicated to “hardcore” editing our blog posts. We also employ a copy editor as well as some freelance writers.
Jeff Goins: It’s just me.
Question #7: Is there any other marketing method you are using to supplement your content marketing efforts?
Rand: Sure, I’ll list a few we lean on heavily:
- SEO is a huge traffic driver for our content, and helps us get very targeted audiences (more so than most other channels).
- Social media is often the catalyst for how content reaches our audience and new audiences, and it’s a powerful initial driver of traffic, attention, and links/referrals from other sites (which then help our SEO, too).
- Referrals make up 15-20% of our traffic, and come from all over the web – blogs and news sites, forums, online magazines, and many more.
- Email – specifically, our Moz Top 10 newsletter (sent out biweekly) – is a terrific source of traffic for our content, and for others. We usually include 2-3 links to Moz’s own works, and another 7-8 links to pieces published by others in our field. We want to showcase the best from around the web in our newsletter, not just the best from Moz.
- Paid traffic is something we’ve invested in very little when it comes to content promotion, but we have been dipping our toe in that water and may do more in the future if the ROI proves valuable.
Neil: No, content marketing is our main form by far. If we do have time we release webinars, but we first focus on content marketing.
Michele: We have a marketing team who focuses on email, social and other more traditional marketing.
Jerod Morris: Everyone in our company is responsible for content marketing. That is one of the byproducts of being a company built around content marketing concepts from the beginning. And nothing…NOTHING would work without the amazing efforts of our support staff. But in terms of day-to-day content creation and management, our CEO, VPs of Marketing, blog Editor-in-Chief, Chief Copywriter, Chief Marketing Officer, and Director of Special Projects have the most prominent roles in our content creation and promotion.
Nicole Kohler: Outreach! When we put a substantial amount of time into the production of a piece of content, we also try to put at least that same amount of time into telling people about it. Outreach can amplify your content immensely and earn you incredibly valuable pageviews, social shares, and links.
Rick Eliason: I am a strong believer in re-purposing content so that for a little extra work you can reach completely new audiences, tell your story in a slightly different way and ultimately get more bang for your buck. Working in a busy agency creating a piece of content is a big undertaking so being efficient in re-using it in slightly different ways where appropriate is important. We usually think about all the different ways it can be used so we factor this into our creation time and have a solid promotion plan in place where one instance supports the other and so on.
For example, a tips series could be posted individually on Google+ and Twitter, collected together and embedded into one blog post, then used to create a slide deck or even a typography style video and then finally into images to be posted on Pinterest or Instagram depending on the topic. From one initial research and creation task we have now created 5 or 6 different content types for a not-huge extra effort.
I also love using plugins and tools to help content go further such as Click-To-Tweet, Snip.ly, embedded slide decks etc. Next on my list is using Wistia’s powerful video platform features such as the in-video CTAs to drive actions.
Question #8: How much of your marketing efforts does content marketing consume?
Rand: I’d estimate content marketing in all its forms, including promotion and interaction/engagement, started as 100% of our marketing efforts and is now, after more hires, more investments in other channels like paid, business development, and product marketing, down to 65% of all the marketing we do.
Neil: It consumes 80%.
Rick: My day job is SEO so it has evolved over the past few years. Content marketing used to be used to help conjure up some links when necessary. Increasingly though content marketing fuels everything that contributes to success in SEO.
If you’d have asked me this question 3 years ago, I’d have said around 15%. Now its more like 80% with a 30/70 split between creation and promotion. The other 20% contains things like technical SEO, link reclamation, local SEO and drinking coffee.
Question #9: If there is one thing you are going to tell a start-up company regarding content marketing, what would it be?
Rand: Don’t expect success in your first year. It takes a long time to discover the content that truly resonates with your audience, and a long time to get the flywheel going on promotion and traffic-driving from sources like search, social, and referrals. If you anticipate a short-term return, you’re going to be disappointed. By the way – this is what makes content such a great investment; most of your competitors will give up long before it pays off.
Neil: If you are going to leverage this tactic, don’t expect results in the first 6 months. This is a long term approach.
Nicole: Content marketing isn’t about you. It’s about the people who are searching online to learn about a topic, to get answers to their questions, and to solve their problems. The last thing someone is thinking about when they search for “how do I solve this issue I’m having?” is “gee, I should buy something.”
The best way to start a relationship with a customer through content marketing is to thoroughly and completely answer their question or solve their problem. If you give them a tip or two, they’ll forget you as soon as their issue is resolved. If you go out of your way to help them, or deliver information that can’t be found anywhere else, you’ll have a better chance at shifting the focus from “I have an issue” to “wow, this was really helpful, I wonder what else this website has?”
Jeff: Do it.
Rick: For a start-up I think content marketing is even more important than a more established brand. A start-up needs recognition, recollection and visibility. Serendipity marketing – getting content in places where your target market is likely to frequent so they “discover” or stumble upon your brand – is so so important, yet many start-ups are quite lazy and think people will find them naturally.
If I was to say one thing to start ups its this: Piggy-back off others’ success. By that I mean find sites, blogs, vloggers, influencers etc that align with your brand and relationship-build like crazy. Find a way to get them to feature you, your content and your brand. Sometimes you can buy your way in – other times you will have to offer them something special, something exclusive, something they WANT to push to their audience that doesn’t compromise them in any way.
The best way I have found is by creating content in such a way that doesn’t exist elsewhere and makes them look good. Let them take the credit if necessary as long as you get exposure. Do this several times in the early days and you’ll be well on your way to establishing a brand of your own.
ProTip: Keep these relationships alive – you never know when you might need them later!
Like what we usually say, content marketing is a tedious task, as you won’t see results in a blink of an eye. But the best thing about this is that it works for many marketers, and their success is not limited to ranking to search engines, but to growing visits, customers and referrals.
You’re also an expert!
I hope you learn something from our content marketing experts, and that you’ll be able to apply the strategies they shared, or perhaps develop it in a way that you can really call it yours.
Maybe you want to share insights to these questions. Feel free to share it with us by commenting below!