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A blog is a great way to open up the dialogue between your startup and the online community. It is something we (Cahoots) have been doing for a few months now while we refine our concept and product. Our blog has been a fantastic tool, asset, and outlet for us. We are attracting a growing audience to engage with on a regular basis. As it turns out the biggest advantage isn’t the traffic, it’s the thought, research, feedback, and encouragement that blogging gives us. Therefore, we recommend blogging as a cornerstone to any startup. Here’s why:
1. The Edge: As of December 2012, there are over 634 million websites (Pingdom). There are an average of 150,000 new websites and 7.3 million pages added to the internet everyday. A blog is just one more way to get an edge and stand out from the competition. Research has found that companies who blog generate 67 percent more leads than those that don’t (Kanguro).
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Blogging will dramatically increase your Google Rank. Blog entries are indexed by Google every day. When you write about topics that are likely to be searched by your target audience you gain a lot of visibility.
3. Credibility: Blogging is a great way to share expertise. In addition, committing to blogging regularly demonstrates that you are committed to your startup and persistent. This will make both investors and the online community take you more seriously.
4. Validation: A blog is a great way to obtain the validation that your startup is solving a problem in a way that is congruent with your customer’s needs. Allowing comments on your blog keeps the conversation on your website, though it is good to have them on social media channels too.
5. Encouragement: Doing a tech startup involves spending a lot of long hours at the computer, often in solitude. Sometimes this can get a little lonely. Watching your content go viral is very reinforcing and fuels the entrepreneurial fire.
6. Communication Skills: Writing is a great way to develop your communication skills. Blogging about your startup or topics relevant to your business is a great way to get used to communicating ideas to complete strangers in a clear, concise, and meaningful manner.
7. Learning: Writing articles designed to be of use to your audience (such as this one) makes you research a topic, get your facts straight, and organize the information. By taking these steps for your readers you are also organizing the information for yourself and learning along the way.
8. Attracting Talent: We’ve had a few super talented people approach us about our startup via our blog and social media channels. A lot of the most talented professionals out there are very up-to-date, and part of staying current is reading relevant blogs and being on the lookout for trends. Blogging is a fantastic way to capture the attention of talent.
9. Inexpensive: A blog can quickly and easily be set up for free. The biggest cost of blogging is the time consumption, but we think it is very worthwhile.
When we say you should blog about your startup we really do mean you (yourself, your co-founders, or other involved parties), not hiring someone else to write on your behalf. In the early stages of your business it is very important to be deeply involved with every aspect of its inception. You’re building an identity, a brand, and a presence. In addition, the identity of early stage startups is usually somewhat unclear and you will end up spending just as much time communicating your vision to third parties as you would writing it yourself. However, getting blog posts edited by others, guest bloggers, and having content that is not related to your company written by other writers is okay- just be sure to read it before it is published.
Thanks for Reading,
The quality of your blog posts will always be more important than the length, and the ideal length varies from topic to topic. However, if you’re looking for a concrete standard we would say the ideal blog post length is 500 words +/- 200. Size does matter: the average person that comes across your content via search engines doesn’t have time to read thousands of words and is looking for answers. Here are some guidelines for finding the ideal length for your content:
Your blog posts should be at least 300 words for SEO purposes. 500 words is commonly said to be the ideal length as it is long enough to build a story around a topic but not too long for readers to digest. If you only have one or two short points to make consider tweeting them or creating a fun visual and pinning it on Pinterest.
No matter what length your blog posts end up being, it had better not be repetitive. Only use the words and examples that are necessary to get your point across, overdo it and your readers will likely lose interest.
Watch Out for Wordiness
A great way to trim the length of your blog posts is to delete and rearrange wordy sentences. No one wants to read an extemporaneous article. Decreasing wordiness will help you achieve greater content clarity.
Break it Up
If your blog post on a particular topic is going to be long (greater than 1000 words), consider breaking it up into a series of posts. This makes the information easier to digest and also builds anticipation if you don’t release them all at once. In addition, search engines will rank you more favorably if you publish shorter posts more often rather than longer posts less frequently. For example, if you were writing about the very broad topic of ‘How to Use Social Media’, it would be best to break it up into a series of posts covering different social networks or aspects of social media use.
Quality Over Quantity
As we stated at the beginning of this article, quality is key. If someone arrives at your blog looking for information and come across a poorly written post it won’t matter how long or short it is, they won’t be satisfied and will be unlikely to return. When in doubt, act in the favor of putting forth quality content over length or frequency.
FYI this post is 414 words.
Thanks for reading!
According to research conducted by Curata, originality is a content marketer’s greatest challenge. Creating original content requires more time and creativity, but it is worthwhile:
- Unique content is much more likely to build an audience of returning readers.
- Search engines reward originality.
- People are less likely to link to over used content.
Originality is often thought to be synonymous with new ideas. Content doesn’t have to be a brand new topic that has never been covered to be original. Here are seven strategies for scoping out and creating original content:
1. Use the News: It is extremely difficult to compete with news networks and online publications dedicated to covering current topics, unless you have some extensive contacts or exclusive information. What you can do is put your own spin on the news in a way that is relevant to your industry and audience, making the perspective unique to you. For example, instead of covering an election in a way that is designed for the masses, you could discuss the conversations that happened over social media channels during a political debate. Provide a different lens for your audience to view a popular topic through.
2. Include Other Voices: Having someone else create or contribute to your content can be a great way to get a different perspective. This could be in the form of a guest blog post or interviewing other people on a topic of interest.
3. Read the Comments: When researching a topic on other blogs and online magazines be sure to check out the comments left behind by readers. The comments section is often full of questions, elaborations, and critique that can act as a compass when writing about a similar subject.
4. Mind the Gap: When you are writing about a topic that has been covered before, look for holes in the popular literature. Are they missing a major point? Is their article outdated? Add more depth, seek the most up-to-date research, and fill any gaps left by other writers.
5. Do Your Own Research: Rather than relying on the findings of others, go ahead conduct your own research. This could be an online survey, a poll, or asking in person. This is far more time consuming than building on the existing research, but can be great for delving deeper into topics and subjects that lack relevant research.
6. Change the Packaging: If you have covered a topic as a blog post and found it to be popular, try taking that content and re-formatting it for a different platform, such as slideshare (an online slide sharing platform). Content can be repackaged into infographics, prezis, slides, video, and assembled into eBooks. This helps you get your message across to all kinds of different readers.
7. Take it Personally: When in doubt, write about what you know. Who can talk about you, your work, or your brand better than you? Humanize your company and write about your journey or celebrate a milestone. Write an opinion piece expressing your views on relevant news and issues.
We hope this article has helped you in your endeavors!