Why Content Marketing Is Essential For Successful Startups and Small Businesses Arielle Kimbarovsky | June 6th, 2016

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A startup’s success is driven in large part by a startup’s ability to drive customer acquisition growth. After all, customers create revenue, and revenue, if the business model is smart, often leads to profits. Not every company has figured out the path to customer acquisition growth, however. Ultimately, word-of-mouth can be effective for some companies, unique marketing tactics can help others, but it’s difficult to succeed in many industries without a strong content strategy.

This is easier said than done. Today, we have to race to keep up with the constantly changing and growing amount of content. In fact, the amount of content generated in the world every 10 minutes is greater than the entire collection housed in the U.S. Library of Congress.

A few decades ago,strategies and tactics differed. Most older strategies were analog, not digital. Then, we would have been sending out fliers, making phone calls, and placing newspaper ads. Some of these strategies, such as hyper-local marketing, are still effective today. Today, we must consider newer digital tactics like SEO (search engine optimization). [To read more about different types of marketing, we recommend Small Business Marketing Guides: Types of Traditional and Online Marketing]

Not surprisingly, for many companies, SEO marketing makes up an important portion of our marketing strategies, whether we know it or not. When someone conducts a search on a search engine like Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo, we want them to find our company’s website at the top, instead of going through dozens of pages of results. So nearly everything we do online for our company translates, directly or indirectly, into helping or hurting SEO.

The problem is that most startups don’t have the budget to spend on fancy (or sometimes even simple) SEO tools or consultants to pay for deep analytics or content strategies. Most of us end up turning towards social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, or creating videos for Youtube.

Social media strategies can be effective (they’re actually a really important part of SEO), there is another growing strategy that more and more startups are finding useful in helping to increase their customer acquisition growth and to improve their marketing. Even better, this tool isn’t really a secret weapon, it’s something that you’re already familiar with: blogs.

In a study done by MarketingSherpa on the effectiveness of various social media marketing outlets, 84% of entrepreneurs surveyed said that their blogs were effective tools in their SEO marketing. That percentage proved to be larger for blogs than for any other form of social media marketing outlet:

As you can see, marketers told us that blogs are most effective, with 84% of marketers rating blogs as either somewhat or very effective. After that, the effectiveness largely mirrors the size of the social platforms mentioned, with the notable exception of Facebook being a little farther down the list, even though it has more than one billion users.

MarketingSherpa’s findings aren’t unusual. A recent article by Hubspot highlighted the success of technology provider Marco’s efforts to start a blog:

Looking to bring in more leads and customers to their website, the folks at Marco teamed up with HubSpot Partner Leighton Interactive to explore the possibilities of inbound marketing. And after some thoughtful strategizing and hard work, they were able to start a new blog and increase the traffic to that blog by 2,512.5% in a year — from 88 visits in its first month to 2,299 visits per month a year later.

Basically, before Marco brought in Leighton Interactive to help with their SEO, Marco had two different blogs. The blogs were scattered and not well tended to, but were generating enough interest to reimagine the strategy. When Marco combined the blogs and focused on generating an audience through good content, Marco’s blog readership skyrocketed – and so did sales. Marco was able to create a more unified brand and connect with their customers more than ever. Additionally, with more traffic to their website and blog, Marco’s SEO improved, which helped their sales even more.

If you don’t know how or where to start, here are a few good starting points: Wordstream has a terrific post – Our Best Content Marketing Tips … Ever! Buffer has shared a solid template for creating a content marketing strategy: How to Write a Content Marketing Strategy Step-by-Step [w/ Strategy Template!]. If you prefer audio, you might find this podcast from Intercom helpful: Podcast: Karen McGrane on Content Strategy. Hubspot has a useful post full of insights: 37 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2016. And for an overview of startup marketing, you should read this Kissmetrics post: The Ultimate Guide to Startup Marketing.

There are many blogging success stories. Companies like Hubspot, Buffer, and crowdSPRING have found that a strong blog, filled with smart content, is one of the best ways to market effectively for a low cost. Remember that your main goal is to create something of value to your target audience, so that they will return that value to you by becoming a customer. If you’re a startup and you haven’t started a blog, think about ways content can help create interested prospects and consider starting a blog today.

Image credit: SEO

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