The Role of Content Marketing in Startup Success

It’s true that content is king in almost every line of business these days, but it’s especially true for startups that want – nay, need – to raise brand awareness, acquire potential clients and educate their existing customers.

Kate Slattery and yours truly presented uTest’s philosophy on content marketing to the students at the Boston Startup Institute. We covered a fairly wide range of topics – both high-level and tactical details – and fielded some really insightful questions.

So what exactly did we cover? Here were five of the key takeaways:

1. Publish. Something. Every. Day. – As we explained, sloth is one of the major sins of content marketing. All too often, startups launch a content plan with great enthusiasm, only to tire and let it fizzle out. Not only will this disappoint your existing readers, but it essentially guarantees that new visitors will be few and far between. So when creating a content strategy, don’t ignore the aspect of publishing frequency. Create an editorial calendar – set aggressive but attainable goals – and stick to it. You probably won’t see huge results right away, but if you publish on a regular basis, you will eventually have an engaged, captive audience – a marketer’s dream!

2. Content Always Plays a Role – Content marketing isn’t all about raising brand awareness. As we outlined, it plays a role in almost every facet of startup success. With whitepapers and webinars, it can help acquire leads. With help topics and video tutorials, it can help educate prospects and clients on the benefits of your product or service. With one-pagers and brochures, it can help your sales team close deals. With bylines and articles, it can turn your executives into respected thought leaders. When creating a content strategy, define how you plan to make life easier for every department in your company.

3 Think Like a Publisher – How do the most popular magazines and websites get so much new and repeat traffic? With timely content and eye-popping headlines that readers simply can’t resist. This formula for success is not confined to the media business; the same applies to content marketing. The ability to write compelling copy is an absolute must, as is the ability to define and understand your target audience. What are their fears? Their goals? What are the problems they are trying to solve? Only by understanding your audience can you expect to create content that keeps your audience coming back for more.

4. Repurpose Your Content – Coming up with ideas for new content isn’t always easy, which is why it’s so important to re-purpose your existing content where possible. If for, instance, you’ve just written a whitepaper, consider taking some excerpts from it and turning that into a blog post. You could also convert a whitepaper into a webinar; a video tutorial into a blog post; a landing page into an email, and so forth. Remember, the content might be old to you, but it won’t be for a good chunk of your audience. Be original when possible, but repurpose when you come down with writer’s block.

5. Keep Score – At first glance, it might seem as though determining the success (or failure) of your content marketing efforts was entirely subjective. For instance:

  • Was the article well-written? 
  • Was the infographic visually pleasing? 
  • Was the video of high quality?

But in truth, the success and failure of your content marketing efforts can (and should) be quantified in hard numbers. For example:

  • How many clicks vs. opt-outs did that last email get?
  • What is the conversion rate on your landing pages?
  • What type of blog posts get the most traffic? 
  • What percent of visitors are new vs. returning?

These are the types of questions that lead to more effective content marketing; find out what people like and do more of it.

Again, these were just a few of the topics we covered, but they were among the more important ones in our view. If you want to learn more about content marketing at uTest, you can start by checking out our blog or following us Twitter.

To close, we wanted to thank everyone at the Boston Startup Institute for the opportunity to present. We hope everyone had as much fun as we did!

Michael Brown

Sr. Content Marketing Manager |  uTest