Enough is enough! I’m going to DIY content marketing.

If you are familiar with Adtech industry, you will aware that it is an extremely crowded space, with Google and Facebook taking lion share of advertising dollars, while the remaining scavenging like vultures over left-over food crumbs. Adding the equation of bootstrapping an ad-tech product? It’s almost like suicidal. Or how about like myself: Bootstrapping an adtech product as a single owner/founder while having a full-time job? That sound super crazy cos it’s almost like suicidal to power of 10.

So in this phase of my startup project (Yes, I call it project, because it’s really just a project at this moment), the most important task for me is to reduce the power of 10 to power of 5, to 3, to 1 and ultimately, I can talk to myself and say, well, this doesn’t really look suicidal afterall. And to achieve that, there are 101 things that need to be done: Getting product-market fit, leading the product development, planning product road-map, talking to potential trial users and getting feedback, talking and negotiating with potential partners, and of course marketing the product, all at the same time while keeping my boss and my wife happy. (And that remind me of one of SAP’s advertising message to growing companies:

“Right now, your business can go in a million different directions. And one of them is right.”

Sound so right.

So one thing that I have in mind is about efficiency: How to use finite resources to accomplish maximum return? Basically, squeezing the last drop of juice out of time and dollars. So one of the easiest way is to outsource. And the logical part of project to outsourced is content marketing: managing social media channels, writing blogs. I thought this will be the logical part just because writing and sourcing for content take tremendous amount of time.

So that will be the easiest steps:

1. Go to Upwork to source for freelancers

2. Post a task

3. Get and review proposals

4. Assign work

5. Receive quality work and bingo, 10 blogs are up!

6. Repeat 1–5 and more quality contents will come in.

And this is what I posted:

Right? Partially. Step 1–4 are generally correct, but 5 and 6 are not guaranteed. I received more than 20 proposals, and after some fact-finding, messaging, I engaged 3 to do some test blogs. Result: the outcome is less than ideal.

And here are my lessons.

Lesson 1: You get what you pay for

Being bootstrap, what I need are “Good, Fast and Cheap”. The problem is as below mentioned, it doesn’t exist.

I have tried $5 per blog, $10 per blog and $20 per blog. They just sucks. I mean it’s not for human reading, let alone for Marketing professionals that I’m targeting. It will almost be like a to my reader’s time. Yes, I may get some SEO, but it just bad for audiences’ experience.

Lesson 2: Be skeptical about the reviews

Be it Upwork or Fiverr, the freelancers treat their review like badge of honour, so anything less than 4 or 5 stars are going to get repeated spamming from them. They will hunt you like a pack of wolves, chasing you down in every corner to give them a 5 stars, even if their work don’t deserve even a 3 stars. So, when shitty work happens, I did not give any reviews. So be careful when you see freelancer who have lots of completed work but no review, something may not be right.

Lesson 3: Outsourcing niche topic may not be good idea.

Let say I want someone to write about “Dynamic Creatives Optimisation (DCO): What is it and why they are so hard for marketers” It’s going to be difficult topic, because the writer need to explain what is Dynamic Creatives Optimisation and more importantly, the need to understand marketers pain points, and this doesn’t come easily to the writer. There are tons of article explaining what DCO is but not much when comes to actual experience of using DCO from marketer point of view (More on that in subsequent post). So such niche topic is not something can be easily written.

Lesson 4: I will still need a content plan.

Writer’s main job is to write an article, based on particular topic assigned. The more important is what topic to focus on. This is something that need to plan. Here is a simple way to think about what content to focus on.

Conclusion: Here is my take

With limited resources, underwhelming result of outsourcing content marketing, this is what I’m going to do (At least for the time being):

1. I’m going to DIY the content marketing.

2. It’s going to be about story of building the startup project.

3. It’s going to be about adtech and topics surrounding it that I’m passionate about.

So more to come later…

Curious about the adtech startup project? Drop me a note travis(at)enzymic.co or Contact us for more information.

This post first appear in Enzymic Blog.

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