Content Marketing for Startups: 4 Ways to Gain a Competitive Advantage
Samantha is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.
The startup market is cutthroat. Every day is an opportunity to make a difference in your business or fall behind your competitors.
Content marketing is a sure-fire way to leverage your competitive advantage, get long-term market placement, and position yourself as part of the future of your industry. The question startups are asking is how can I use content marketing to stand out?
If every company is using content marketing, the risk of not doing it for your company and publishing content that is anything but top quality, is that you’re behind your competition. Markets are often oversaturated with content, so if you want to separate your content from the rest, having a deliberate content strategy is the place to start.
Let’s walk through the many ways to stand out amongst your competitors and differentiate yourself as efficiently as possible in this article, from establishing thought leadership to ongoing marketing strategies and much more.
4 Ways to Use Content Marketing for Startups
Trying to stay ahead in your industry can feel like running at your max speed on a treadmill, you’re working hard, but ultimately you’re in the same spot. Content marketing aims to provide true value to your audience, while building a competitive marketing strategy is all about positioning yourself as an innovator in your industry.
Instead of getting caught up in comparing yourselves today with your competitors, consider all the following advice within the lens of what your company will look like next year, in the next five years, and so on. By thinking ahead and strategizing based on your company’s future, you can help keep your competitive advantage.
1. Deliver Prolific Content
Being prolific in the quantity of content and the quality of your content is the key to gaining a competitive advantage in content marketing. In every piece of content your company puts out, there should be an abundance of value, but you should also have an abundance in your publishing schedule and staying consistent with publishing that valuable content.
Creating prolific content that has actual value to the consumer and the industry is the perfect way to establish yourself and your company as a pivotal part of the industry and as a thought leader. By delivering innovative ideas and presenting an informed opinion, this is an effective way to convince leads you are the right choice from the first interaction they have on your website.
Becoming a thought leader in your industry shows your competition and your customers that you are the go-to source for information on that topic. Being an informed and trusted source means that you see things differently and are on the cutting edge of your industry’s new information.
In terms of lead generation, this comes full circle - with establishing yourself as an information leader, the more eyes you will have on your free content, and more potential customers will spend time on your site. That tells the search engines that you are a trusted website with high domain authority, and more of your readers will take action on your website.
Need some blog ideas to start right away?
- Blog about hot topics in your industry
- Compare products or services in your industry to each other
- Answering common questions found on Quora, Google, Reddit, and other forums
- Address questions leads have in the buying process
- Interview other thought leaders in your industry - the options are endless.
2. Tailored Messaging
Creating content takes time and patience, and it can get overwhelming managing it all, but what is even more frustrating is when the content doesn’t perform well.
A common problem that startups have is not diversifying their content to consider each platform’s different demographics. Keeping the platform demographics in mind is an important start, but also accounting for the type of person using that platform, what their goals are, what their challenges are, and other common questions.
In addition to tailoring your message to different platform demographics, when you’re creating a piece of content, also try to consider where this is cold, warm, or hot traffic.
Let’s break it down further to help distinguish the difference:
- Cold Traffic is someone viewing your content that is looking for more information in general, they are probably aware of their problem but they are unsure of the solution.
- Warm Traffic is when a reader is aware of the problem they are facing and are considering solutions to help them fix it. They are not sure what the right solution is, and they are open to learning more about it.
- Hot Traffic is when a reader turns to a buyer. This person is ready to decide, and they are ready to buy what they believe is the best solution to their problem.
Now, how do you find out what buyer stage your reader is in? What each lead is searching for on Google will tell you a tremendous amount of information about them.
Search engine phrases can tell you a lead’s comfort level with jargon, their wants, their needs, and familiarity with the topic. For example, if someone Google’s what is streaming? Versus what are the best ways to monetize my video game stream - this will let you know what stages of comfortability they are within that topic.
How do you accomplish this all? Start by using a guide to blogging, always consider each buyer stage or the temperature of their traffic, and adjust your messaging appropriately. In combination, this can convert more of your audience from readers to buyers and stay ahead of the competition.
3. Continuously Improve Your Website Performance and Conversions
Common questions among startups are “How can we make our content marketing the most successful? and How can we optimize our conversion rates?”
Your overall website performance massively impacts the success of your content marketing. Your team can always try fixing conversion problems with conversion rate optimization (CRO) but there's one problem.
If you spend time trying to optimize what you already have, this may be a never-ending battle. Another alternative is to optimize your website from the beginning and then continuously improve your website as an ongoing project.
The best way to stay ahead of your competition is to have your team working with a growth-driven design. With growth-driven design, you're continuously testing your website’s elements, and you’re consistently testing features, blogging strategy, design layouts, and many other elements. By using growth-driven design strategies and tactics, you can see a steady improvement rather than staggering improvements. At Lean Labs, we have seen this strategy benefit our clients tremendously.
Using the Lean Labs case study example of Qualio, we can start to analyze the value of growth-driven design and how it can directly impact a company’s lead generation. After working on several versions of Qualio’s landing page, our professionals were determined to find the best design and strategy to improve their conversation rates. The growth-driven design team found the perfect combination of features, multimedia elements, UX design, and lead generation strategy to create a landing page that now generates more than 70% of Qualio’s online business opportunities.
Whether it’s your blogging strategy or the layout of your website, having a team working on continuous updates is a great way to maximize your budget, time, and effort, leaving your company to take care of other pressing issues to stay competitive within your industry.
4. Establish Analytical Marketing Practices
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are critical to track, but are you tracking them correctly? There is so much data available between Google Analytics, HubSpot Analytics, and other third-party sources that the primary strategy can get lost amongst the noise of the data. At Lean Labs, we refer to our clients’ KPIs as growth metrics to propel brands forward in their growth efforts.
To truly understand the effect of each growth metric on your strategy is the first hurdle to get through. The second one is to understand what each growth metric is plainly saying about your business overall and what all the growth metrics mean in conjunction.
A great example of this is how we increased monthly organic traffic for Atlantech by 1096% in only 12 months. Altantech is an excellent fiber, voice, and data center for businesses and government in Maryland, who wanted to increase their organic traffic and subsequently increase their lead generation, and working with Lean Labs accomplished just that.
By tracking their growth metrics for website traffic and other metrics, Lean Labs compared previous years of performance and how these new strategies being implemented by our team were affecting those numbers.
Once you have gotten to the point where you truly understand growth metrics, their meaning, and how these metrics all work together, the next way to stay competitive with the market is to keep track of the growth metrics on a monthly, quarterly, or even weekly schedule. This will help see the effects of your effort, your budget spending, what your ROI is, and where you can improve.
Getting Competitive in Your Market
The goal is to have all of these content marketing strategies work in your favor and push your content ahead of your competitors. From diving deeper into your analytics and a guide of how to improve your strategies and tactics, to content repurposing and increasing organic traffic - our Growth Marketing Strategy Kit can help lead you down the path of having your competitors try to keep up with you.