Building a global brand goes beyond creating top-notch products and services. You need to push the right information out there.
Without the right information, your audience won’t know that you exist. And if they don’t know about your brand’s existence, then you are screwed!
Lots of brands pump in millions of dollars into their content marketing strategy. For this content to be effective, it has to be exposed to the right eyes — the customer’s eyes.
And that is where content distribution comes into play.
What is content distribution?
Content distribution involves publishing, promoting, and sharing your content. It’s getting the content out there for your ideal audience to see.
Content here can be in various forms. It could be written texts, graphics, or visual content. And how you provide it for your audience consumption is called content distribution.
Nowadays, almost everything is done online, and social media platforms are slowly but surely replacing physical gatherings. And that’s where social media content distribution comes into play.
Just like content distribution, social media content distribution involves sharing, promoting, and distributing content on various social media platforms.
No matter how good your content is, content distribution happens after you’ve created the content.
Therefore, before putting in the time and effort to create catchy content, you should have a blueprint of how and where the content will be distributed. If not, your resources will not yield many fruits.
One more thing…
To get the best out of your content, you should make it optimized for search engines.
Here’s an interesting fact. Google answers over 3.8 million queries per minute — having content that is optimized for search engines is a must!
Now you know what content distribution is, and its importance to your brand here is how to launch an effective content distribution strategy.
Goals provide direction, and it helps us recognize our destination on arrival. Without goals, you would be running around, achieving zero results.
To get the best out of your social media content distribution, you must set goals and also know your key performance indicators (KPIs). For a social media content distribution, KPIs may include traffic, engagement, top content, falling content, and impact.
Also, your goals must be SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
A specific goal could be an increase in blog traffic by driving traffic from a single social media platform (say Facebook).
Measurable could be sharing three blog posts daily on each of your social media channels.
Is the goal attainable? Can you achieve such results if you put in the time and effort?
Furthermore, the goal has to be relevant to your brand. And it should align with your overall social media strategy.
A goal without a definite deadline is a wish, and brands don’t achieve much by having wishes. If you want to get the most out of your social media content distribution, your goals should be time-bound.
The platforms are known as social content distribution channels. Ideally, your target audience should be found on these platforms.
Having an in-depth understanding of the various social content distribution channels (or platforms) would help you know how to put your content in front of the right people.
The key here is to know where your customers are found on the web and promote your content on such platforms.
One more thing…
Optimizing your blogs and email newsletters isn’t such a bad idea. Even if your customers are primarily found on forums like Quora, don’t neglect your websites and blogs because it pretty much reflects your brand identity.
That’s not all…
You’ve got to understand how various social media platforms work and write content for it.
For instance, if your audience enjoys long-form written content, then Facebook is the right social media platform for you. For those who get thrilled by eye-catchy visual content, Instagram and YouTube is the place to go.
LinkedIn is designed for professionals, but that doesn’t mean you should not try it out and see how it goes.
Twitter is pretty good, especially for folks who are promoting short-form written content.
All in all, you should know what kind of content your audience enjoys and reach out to them the right way.
A good content marketing strategy doesn’t just fall from the sky. You’d have to plan it — and that’s where a content calendar comes into play.
The content calendar boosts the team’s focus and helps you stay glued to your goal. It provides a functional roadmap for your writers and editors. This way, they get to know what they would be working on in the coming weeks (and months).
The content calendar is vital to your social media content distribution strategy. It’s much like a roadmap, and it pretty much shows you the action plan.
Aside from building a useful content calendar, you should know the best publishing day and time on each social media platform.
Here is an infographic showing the best time to post on various social media platforms.
This works for all industries.
Before diving into how to promote your content, you’ve got to understand how to create it.
Let’s get right into it — here is a quick overview of how to create quality content.
The content creation process is largely dependent on your industry, team size, brand, and resources.
To give you a headstart on your content creation process, here are some tools to use.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. You can go on and search for other content creation tools in your industry.
After creating your content, you would have to let your audience know about it — and it can be done by putting it across various social media platforms.
If you desire some level of consistency, you would have to follow your content calendar. Pinpoint the various content distribution channels and promote the new content.
Another factor that plays a vital role is content promotion tools.
Tools like Scoop.it can help you kickstart the promotion process.
Scoop.it is content curation software that helps you monitor your content, manage content curation, and perform other content marketing actions. It also makes content publishing much more efficient.
It would help if you always kept a close eye to your distribution strategy. Focus on the process and keep tweaking until you get the desired result.
Remember those smart goals?
Well, it’s time to pull them out, and also keep a close eye on your KPIs.
After you must have published your content across various social media channels, you should take a good look at the analytics dashboard and see how they are performing.
One way of pulling this up is by having a routine. Set up some time to measure and analyze your results.
You can also opt for third party social media tracking tools like Linkfluence’s Radarly.
Radarly is the perfect tool for any company who is looking for a reliable way of tracking engagement across all social media platforms.
Radarly can be used to track hashtags, mentions, keywords, accounts and even emotions!
That’s not all…
You can also track your competition twitter and Instagram accounts using Radarly.
The best part…
You get to generate a comprehensive report, and schedule it in order to receive it directly as often as you wish!
This way, your decision-making process would be data-driven.
Conclusion — Distribute your content the right way.
Great content is king, but it’s of no use if no one sees it. And that’s why content distribution is a vital part of content marketing.
Effective content distribution helps boost your brand awareness, grow loyal followers, and ultimately convert readers into loyal customers.
Now you know how to distribute content on social media effectively, how would you start your social media content distribution routine?
Content marketing is one of the most popular online marketing strategies due to its accessibility, flexibility, and synergy with other marketing approaches. The basic idea is to create valuable content that people want to read, and use that content to generate brand visibility, traffic, and conversions.
The success of the entire strategy is dependent on that qualitative descriptor: “valuable.” Your content has to be valuable for your strategy to succeed. But what is it that makes a piece of content valuable, and how can you tell if your content achieves it?
Different businesses will define value in different ways, because they’ll have different goals for their content marketing strategy. Most times, businesses use content to achieve some combination of the following:
· Brand visibility. Some content is intended to promote the visibility of your brand, introducing it to new people and raising awareness among your customers. It’s a useful effect if you want to encourage customer loyalty or just make your brand known to a wider circle of people.
· Brand reputation. Writing content that exhibits “thought leadership,” or an authoritative stance on an important subject, can improve your reputation. If people enjoy reading your content, and if they respect its accuracy, depth, and entertainment value, they’ll come to like your brand more—and be more willing to buy from you.
· Traffic generation. One of the most important benefits of content is its ability to generate traffic, and it can generate traffic in a number of different ways. For example, if you publish offsite content that contains links to your website, you can generate referral traffic. If you use content as part of your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you can generate organic search traffic. If you curate and syndicate content on your social media accounts, you can generate social traffic. You can even generate direct traffic and repeat visitors by building a stronger reputation.
· Conversion optimization. Content is also a great vehicle for calls-to-action, (CTAs), which motivate your readers to make a purchase, fill out a form, or take some other meaningful action that ultimately leads to revenue. With respect to this point, content becomes directly valuable; if it’s sufficiently persuasive, it can generate revenue for your brand.
· Community building. Content also works well as a tool for community building. If you encourage group discussions, publish content regularly, and interact directly with your followers, your content can serve as the basis for a thriving community around your brand.
11 Hallmarks of Effective Content
Regardless of what your goals are, effective pieces of content tend to have many similar qualities.
1. Original ideas. First, your content needs to present some kind of original idea. There are millions of people creating content on the web, so if you’re saying the same things as everyone else, you’ll easily go unnoticed. Try making a bold claim or a unique argument, or presenting a brand-new idea. If you can’t come up with something truly original, try coming up with an original response to an existing idea.
2. An immediate “grab.” People have short attention spans, especially on the internet. If you want your content to get noticed and read, you have to have some kind of an initial grab. For conventional articles, this means writing a compelling headline—even if that means delving into “clickbait” territory. Your headline should be accurate to the content you’re writing, but it should also pique reader interest—and potentially evoke a response.
3. Specific facts. Good content also offers reliable facts and/or statistics. Specific facts strengthen your arguments, and make your content more authoritative. As an added bonus, these facts are more likely to attract links as citations in other work; other content creators will want to link to your work, helping you generate more referral traffic and building your domain authority so you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
4. Sufficient length. There’s no minimum or maximum for “valuable” content length, but in general, longer content tends to perform better. Longer content gives you more room to provide exhaustive arguments and additional details. The majority of content on the internet is less than 1,000 words, so writing long-form content also helps you stand out. That said, short content also has a place if you want to cover a topic concisely.
5. Mixed media. Written content is the dominant form of content online, but you can attract more followers and improve engagement with your work by including other mediums. Improve your written content with images and videos, or consider starting an audio-based podcast to capitalize on a different audience. Use a mixture of different formats and mediums to see the best results.
6. Readability. If you’re writing content, you need to make sure it’s easily readable. You can improve readability with formatting, like writing in short paragraphs and using bulleted and numbered lists. However, it’s also important to write at a relatively low reading level, and ensure all your sentences are coherent.
7. An objective benefit to the reader. What does a reader stand to gain from reading your article? Are you teaching them a new skill? Are you giving them an update they need to work effectively? Are you answering a question they have? Solving a problem? Are you helping them think about a complex problem in a new way?
8. A call to action. If you want your content to generate conversions (like purchases or completed forms), you need to master the art of presenting calls-to-action (CTAs) in your work. Good CTAs blend in with the content—they aren’t painfully apparent—and they give readers direct instructions on what to do next. That said, not every piece of content needs a CTA to serve its purpose.
9. Persuasiveness. In many cases, the value of a piece of content is increased because of its persuasiveness. Through skilled argumentation and objective reasoning, your blog post could persuade someone to change their mind on a given topic, or convince them to move forward with a purchase they’ve been considering for a long time.
10. Opportunities for engagement. Content can also be valuable because of its ability to inspire engagement. In other words, can this content get your followers to talk to each other (and to you)? Does it make people want to share it? Engaging content tends to be controversial, or at least debatable. It also evokes an emotional response in many cases. You can also make your content more engaging by asking probing questions, or by intentionally starting a group discussion.
11. Entertainment. Some forms of content are almost exclusively entertaining, forgoing research in favor of humor. However, it’s even more popular to include elements of entertainment in otherwise valuable content. For example, you can make a few jokes while discussing an important topic, or present the content in the form of a dialogue or story so it’s easier to digest.
Your content’s value also depends on your consistency with the strategy. For example, regularly publishing high-quality content on a variety of different publication channels will gradually increase your brand visibility and public recognition of your expertise. Followers will know to check your accounts and channels for new content routinely, and they’ll come to hold your latest work in even higher regard.
Source: Muddit Aggarwal
Curation and Distribution
Let’s say you’ve developed a few pieces of incredible content. What good is it going to do if there’s nobody around to read it?
If you want your content to be more valuable for your brand, you need some way to distribute it. Hypothetically, if your content is sufficiently valuable to readers, they’ll share it with other people and spread word about the authority of your brand. However, you still need platforms through which you can generate initial interest.
One of the best options here is distribution via social media, where you can reach a wide audience of both followers and new people who have never heard of your brand.
If you’re interested in building your reputation on social media, or establishing your authority before circulating your own content, you can curate the content of other creators. Here, the idea is to find valuable pieces of content that other people have created, then share them to your followers while simultaneously adding value—such as providing commentary, or offering a counterargument to the main point of the article.
Content curation is also a way to produce content for your own website or blog, which we’ll cover in the next section.
Costs and ROI
So far, we’ve talked about what makes a piece of content “valuable” in terms of its appeal to readers, and in terms of how much revenue it can generate for your brand. But we also need to think about the other side of the equation—the costs of producing content.
In marketing, one of the most important metrics to measure is your return on investment (ROI). This is a measurement of how much value something returns to your organization, compared to how much it cost to create. It’s important to take this into consideration when developing your content, and ascribe “value” based on relative ROI.
For example, a $100 piece of content might generate $200 of value, while a $200 piece of content might generate $250 of value. Technically, the latter piece of content is more “valuable” in the sense that it creates more total revenue, but the former piece of content yields a higher comparative return.
Accordingly, you can create more valuable content for your brand by considering the amount of time, money, and effort it takes to produce content. If you want to see a higher ROI for your content strategy, you can try to maximize the appeal of your content while minimizing your investment.
One of the best strategies here is content curation, wherein you’ll collect the existing work of others and assemble it in your own original way. For example, you can create a “top 10” list that reviews some of the best products or services on the web, or you can add commentary to an existing video or post.
You can also host other creators’ pieces of content on your site, or provide links to many videos or lists of reading materials.
Another important consideration to bear in mind is the subjective nature of content value. There are pieces of content that have gotten lots of shares and links, despite not offering much in the way of original ideas, and there are amazing pieces of content that have gone practically undiscovered.
There are many variables that can influence the true value of a piece of work, including:
· Industry. Different industries have different norms and standards for what qualifies as “good” content. For example, some industries require much deeper dives and original research, while others can get away with shorter, “fluffier” content.
· Timing. Your timing also matters, though it’s sometimes beyond your control. If you write a piece of content that reacts to a current event, you can take advantage of public interest. If you’re too late on a topic, or if your topic is obscured by another, more exciting event, you could get lost in the shuffle.
· Personal taste. Remember that individuals have varying tastes, and they don’t always conform to your expectations of them. You might find something funny, or interesting, or helpful in your personal life, but there’s no guarantee someone else will think the same.
The Importance of Measurement and Analysis
Because content value is somewhat subjective, and because value is hard to measure, one of your greatest keys to content marketing success is committing to measurement and analysis. It’s on you to consistently measure the results of your content efforts, including traffic levels, conversions, and brand awareness—as well as public reception to your content.
One of the best tools here is Google Analytics. It’s completely free, and it can help you measure almost every kind of traffic or onsite user behavior you can think of.
It’s also a good idea to conduct and review user surveys, where you can collect data about reader preferences and analyze your past efforts. A good service here is SurveyMonkey, which is free to get started.
Be prepared to experiment with different types of content and different approaches. It’s going to take time to find the right rhythm to create consistently valuable content.
Are you interested in improving your content marketing strategy? If so, you’ll need a tool that can help you research, curate, and publish the best possible content. Sign up to try Scoop.it for free today, and give your content curation strategy the boost it needs!
Startups are always seeking any advantage they can find. And sometimes this requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. On the marketing front, many find that a content curation strategy is helpful in scaling up without requiring a ton of additional resources. Could it help your business, too? Read on to learn more.
The Benefits of Content Curation for Startups
Content curation is basically the act of collecting high-quality content that already exists and disseminating it to a new audience and in a slightly different format. It’s not plagiarism or copy-and-pasting. It’s about using other content as inspiration and sharing it in a way that benefits the original creator and serves your readers. (BuzzFeed and Good News Network are great examples.)
Content curation is valuable for any business in any industry, but it’s an especially powerful weapon when wielded by startups. Here are a few reasons why it’s so beneficial:
Content curation is more effective than most realize. It’s not just a placeholder for when you don’t have original content to share. It’s a powerful method of growing your brand, connecting with people, and adding value to those around you. For startups, the ROI is unlimited.
4 Tips for a High-Powered Content Curation Strategy
There’s a right and wrong way to go about content curation. The wrong approach involves randomly choosing content based on convenience or proximity. (In other words, you go out and find the easiest piece of content to share and immediately send it to your audience.) The right approach commands planning and forethought.
Here are a few tips to help you develop a high-powered content curation strategy for your startup:
Think of content curation like a collection of taps at your favorite bar. The best bars in the world have dozens (if not hundreds) of taps. And each one of these taps is connected to a different keg of beer. Content curation works in much the same way. The more taps you have, the more content you can potentially deliver to your readers or customers.
The key to content curation is to select the right taps. In other words, you want taps that are relevant to your audience – powered by content that they’re interested in. If you choose the wrong taps, your strategy will be flawed from the start.
Here are a couple ideas for taps:
In addition to the right taps, you need to establish a set of filters that allow you to serve only the purest and most relevant content to your audience. You might call these editorial guidelines or content standards.
Your filters are basically a set of rules that dictate what you will and won’t share. It should address subject matter, style, source, etc. Examples include:
Having rules like these might seem restrictive at first, but they ultimately provide freedom. They ensure that, if followed, the content is going to be “up to snuff.”
Successful content curation is about picking and pulling the right pieces. For example, you can’t copy and paste a 2,000-word blog post and share it with your audience. Instead, you might pull out one or two quotes, jot down a few of your own thoughts, and then direct readers back to the original piece via a hyperlink. The key to being successful with this is to select the right quotes. (Or if it’s a video, it’s about identifying the segments that add the most value to your audience.)
When selecting parts to curate, you want to focus on the most credible or technical parts. Leverage the original author/creator’s expertise and then provide your analysis. So, for example, you could curate a 100-page industry report in the form of an article on your website and accompanying social media posts. This might look like writing your own introduction, grabbing your favorite 25 statistics from the report, finding quotes that support each data point, and then writing your own original conclusion.
Content curation is almost always effective. But it’s most effective when it’s used in conjunction with original content curation. As your startup grows, begin increasing the amount of content you create. Ultimately, curated content should become complementary to the content you’re developing in-house. That’s when you’ll begin realizing its full potential.
One general rule of thumb is to share 40 percent original content and 60 percent curated content. In other words, if you’re pushing out five pieces of content, two should be original and three can be curated. That’s a rough estimate, but it gives you a target.
Ready, Set, Grow
Content remains king. But just because you’re low on time and resources, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits of a high-returning content strategy. With careful curation, you can grow your visibility, engage the right people, and add value to their lives. In turn, this will add value to your growing business.
Developing the right content strategy for your personal or professional brand doesn’t have to be daunting. Sure, it can be challenging, but it can also be simplified.
Solopreneurs and startup founders hesitate to dig into content creation for a few reasons:
1. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
2. They aren’t sure where to start or how to measure the success of what they create.
3. It’s not a priority, with all the work that’s pending.
4. They’ve already started but are stagnating, or don’t have a clear path.
Here’s an interesting infographic that digs into the numbers behind these reasons:
These reasons are valid. Everyone’s experience is different.
Validity doesn’t mean obstacles are insurmountable.
We’ll get into that more a little later.
First, let’s define content strategy.
Content strategy connects your brand’s work with your organizational goals, readers’ needs, and target customers. Content isn’t a charity. All content should be supporting a business goal or be the cure to a reader’s pain. Otherwise, it’s empty fluff, which doesn’t serve a purpose.
A solid content strategy plan serves a few purposes for solopreneurs or in startups:
1. It serves as a guide for the voice, tone, and delivery of content.
2. The plan outlines the promotion and distribution tactics you will use once the content is live, and
3. It outlines the benefit your audience will receive from consuming the content (i.e., the problem it solves, actionable takeaways, or a reference point to be saved and returned to in the future).
There’s a fallacy that content strategies must be complicated and multi-layered to be thorough.
This fallacy leads to intimidation or hesitation for people with limited time to dig in and get started. Complex content strategies cause problems.
Solopreneurs and startup founders are driven people, by nature. Nine times out of ten, that personality trait is a good thing. The exception is when it comes to content planning.
Perfectionism is your enemy when planning content. It’s easy to get too granular and assume each piece of content must be pixel perfect and deliver instantly impactful results.
Content doesn’t have to be perfect. Perfection shouldn’t be your goal.
When you strive for perfection, you’re sure to get frustrated. Life happens. And, when it does, the consistency of production gets derailed. When this consistency gets derailed, frustration is the result.
When there’s enough frustration, there’s burnout. When people get burned out, we quit, or worse yet, mail it in and do a half-hearted job.
What’s the cure for frustration? Simplicity.
A simple content strategy has the KISS principle as a foundation.
KISS = Keep It Simple Silly
Simplicity limits the unpredictable. It enhances your control over the situation. It makes content creation something you’ll enjoy and value, rather than see as a chore that has to get crossed off a list.
Compounding results are the core of why content is potent for personal and professional brand development, and a simple strategy allows you to get there faster by comparison.
There are two types of content strategies for solopreneurs to consider: blog content strategy and social media strategy.
Let’s consider a blog content strategy first.
Building a blog from the ground up requires patience, consistency, creativity, and motivation. There will be days when you do not want to write 200 words of the 1,000-word post staring at you on the calendar.
If you don’t want to, that freelancer you’ve contracted probably doesn’t either. That’s part of the gig. The days you fight through and forge ahead matter the most.
When you can establish a plan that works for you, it makes the tough days more manageable.
Here are a few basic things to consider for your strategy:
1. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day for content. Every day. This 30 minutes could be for writing a blog article or guest post, yourself, or delegating that responsibility to a freelancer you’ve contracted.
2. Evaluate the competitive landscape and plan accordingly. Sometimes the competition is light, and you can build a strategy focused around long-form, pillar articles. Other times, the competition is heavy, and it’s the right move to chase low-volume but low-competition keywords to rank quickly.
3. Develop a deep understanding of your target reader. Before you write one word of content, you must know your target reader intimately. Who are they? What makes them tick? How do they behave? Does their behavior reflect what you would expect? Answering these questions helps you to frame your content in a way that will be attractive to them as readers.
4. Who’s doing the content creation? You’ll likely be the one. However, if you can, contracting a freelancer or two on occasion can lighten the load. This consideration will be an ongoing one as you’re working to build out a blog as a solopreneur.
5. Build a content calendar based on all the above factors. The content calendar should be in a visible place in your workspace, so it’s always there. This placement helps as a reminder to spend that daily 30 minutes. It could be an old-school paper calendar on your desk or the wall, project management software, or content scheduling software (there’s a ton of em).
6. Stick with one type of content in the beginning. While it’s great to have different content on your blog in time, start with written content. In time you can pivot to doing some video, maybe a podcast or two, and some webinars. Again, KISS. Please keep it simple.
The timing of how you approach content creation for your blog is also essential. If you’re starting from scratch, there’s a 120-day plan which works very well, especially for those with limited time to write.
Over four months, it’s possible to make a profound impact on the domain authority of your website, and also the traffic it generates. There are a few steps to take in 30-day increments to make this happen.
The first 30 days should focus on creating content for your blog. Develop these articles around keywords with a low-to-moderate competition level and a reasonable keyword volume. If you’re using a research tool Ahrefs, the keyword difficulty you should be targeting is anything 35 or less, and the monthly global search volume should be 1,000 or greater.
These articles should be in-depth, but don’t have to be long-form cornerstone content with several thousand words. A goal of 1,200 to 1,500 words per article is reasonable and reachable.
Numbers source: Oberlo
When day 30 hits the calendar, you stop publishing content on your blog and turn to the next part of the strategy: guest post acquisition and publishing.
Guest blogging is one of the fastest ways to organically build your blog’s domain authority and become more competitive in your niche. Once you’ve completed the first month of content creation on your blog, days 31-90 of your 120 days should be spent on guest blog acquisition and submission.
It’s a good idea to approach blogs in the 30-65 DA range if you’re just getting started with the process and nailing down your pitch. As you begin to win some do-follow backlinks from these blogs, you have more social proof, making it easier to win more significant opportunities in time.
Don’t ever pay for links or blogging opportunities. You’ll get offered to do so by the occasional site owner, but that’s verging into “black hat” SEO territory that you want to avoid. To keep things above board, only write for sites that offer a permanent do-follow backlink in return for your work.
Everyone’s goals are a little different during these 60 days, but if you can land at least 8-10 links coming back to your website from guest opportunities, it’s an early success. After a few months of guest blogging, it’s time to turn attention back to your blog.
After three months of content creation, two things are happening concurrently:
1. Those blog posts you wrote in Days 1-30 start to gain a little traction, driving organic visits to your website.
2. The links you earned from guest blogging point back to your blog, building your domain authority.
These two things working in tandem are helping build your competitiveness in the niche and increasing your ability to earn more traffic over time.
For the last 30 days of your 120-day plan, the focus is on a hybrid approach of writing on your blog and landing and writing more guest posts. The posts you write on your blog should focus on keywords that have surfaced from your original post. Some of these will be intentional, while others will be related keywords that you couldn’t have predicted.
This process will help you to grab more easy wins, even further building your momentum.
By the 120 day mark, you should have reached a couple of checkpoints – give or take:
1. Your domain authority should improve to 15-20.
2. You should be driving at least 1,000 unique visitors a month.
If these two things are happening, you’re on the right track. From Day 120 forward, you can rinse and repeat this strategy however you’d like to continue to build momentum.
Who knows, at some point, you may need to bring on a freelancer to help!
Your blog strategy and social media strategy need an alignment for maximum impact. Most of what you’ve heard about how to approach social media from scratch is probably wrong.
When you start sharing your content on social media pages that don’t have a following, you’re yelling down an empty hallway—yelling into the void.
You’ll see plenty of articles out there that suggest you share every item on every social medium every day to build an audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, you’re swimming directly upstream. It’s wasted effort, y’all.
Instead, secure the social accounts you could see using at some point (probably Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, maybe Twitter), brand them, then leave them the heck alone. After you’ve been diligently working on your blog and building an audience for a minimum of 90-120 days, you can return to these accounts.
After 90-120 days of consistent content creation, you should have an intimate understanding of your audience. Then, and only then, you can start to craft your social media audience(s).
Buy a few likes on Facebook from people who match your target reader. Do this slowly and deliberately. When you do, you’ll have a small (but ready) audience prepared to engage with the content you’ve created. Now start to share a little and see where it takes you, and tweak accordingly.
Pick one medium and dig in. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Following any other process is putting the cart before the horse.
Blog content strategy and social media strategy is somewhat different for startup founders, but the core principles are similar.
How you approach content strategy as a startup founder depends where your startup is in its journey. How you spend time is tied directly to your daily responsibilities, and time to be the executor versus the delegator.
Startup content strategy should align with one of three phases:
Let’s take a quick look at how strategy changes for each phase.
A fledgling startup is bootstrapping, or maybe has raised an initial seed round of funding, but doesn’t have a full-time employee focused on content creation. There’s a time crunch here for the founder, and they likely only have 30 minutes to an hour a day to focus on content.
A goal of one blog post a week is reasonable for a fledgling startup. Two hundred words a day should be the goal for a 1,000-word piece. That’s doable.
The 120-day blog content strategy outlined above for solopreneurs holds plenty of weight here as well. If the startup founder can follow a similar process by creating content themselves – or bringing a freelancer into the mix – the effort can have a similar effect on growth.
Suppose the founder lands a guest blog here and there, that effort that’s added to the mix. Guest posts aren’t typically tied to hard deadlines – allowing the work to get done when there’s time – but also have a substantial impact on the authority of your voice and the traffic base you can build.
In an emerging startup – one that has some consistent monthly revenue, a handful of full-time employees, and has maybe raised a Series A or B funding round – things are a little different.
The founder has a budget available to acquire content from freelancers, or maybe even contract with a freelancer to create content based on a monthly quota for a set price. In this case, the founder switches from the executor to strategist, feeding the freelancer the articles they would like written on deadlines, and are otherwise hands-off.
Even though delegation is the strategy, the expectations for freelancers must be set in stone and crystal clear for everyone involved. It’s advisable to have freelancers sign a contract that clearly outlines expectations, deadlines, deliverables, and the project’s length. This contract eliminates room for interpretation, which could stand in the way of productivity and a mutually-beneficial relationship.
Suppose the results of this delegation and content creation are strong enough. In that case, the founder may potentially consider bringing on their first full-time content hire and start to flirt with the thought of getting someone on board to manage social media on a part or full-time basis.
But that can come later; it shouldn’t be a priority until blog content has catalyzed a consistent traffic flow to your website.
Mature startups are humming along as all systems go. The founder is now somewhat removed – if not removed – from the content creation process. An Editor or Content Manager manages the content process with limited strategic input from the founder (unless things start going sideways). A full-time Social Media Manager is executing a social media strategy and may have another team member (an assistant or intern) that assists.
Content is acting as a full-fledged business engine, driving down customer acquisition and lead generation costs, and relieving many of the headaches founders experience with this early on.
As the startup moves from fledgling to mature, a founder should have increasingly less interaction with content. To get there, though, requires them to get their hands dirty and do some creation early.
Startups reach this level of maturity after several years of making content a priority. It doesn’t and will not happen overnight. It takes consistency, constant tweaking, and dedication to making content a core part of your marketing efforts.
Content creation is a commitment for solopreneurs and startup founders. The scope and nature of that commitment changes in time, but the initial steadfastness can drive huge dividends down the road.
If you have 30 minutes a day, you can spark your content program to become this business engine.
And, it’s more straightforward than it seems.