Content Marketing for Startups: Why You Shouldn’t Look at Fortune 500s for Guidance

“Content marketing” has become a major buzzword in the last 10 years. Everyone defines content marketing differently and it isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, making it difficult for small companies to educate themselves on what works best for them versus the processes used by Fortune 500s and established brands.

Most likely, your early startup can’t afford to staff a dedicated content role, so your effective content marketing is going to be totally unlike what it would be for a huge company. (See also: The #1 Mistake Startups Make When Talking About Their Product.)

Here are 3 things startups should keep in mind when it comes to content marketing:

Startups need to begin at the top of the funnel.

In the classic marketing funnel, brand awareness is the most rudimentary entry point. First, customers need to know that you exist before they can form an opinion or take any action in regards to your offering.

A well-known company can pay a million dollars to make a really custom video, then circulate it over a bunch of web platforms. It will garner a ton of attention without much additional effort.

Startups don’t have that luxury.

They’ll usually start with blog posts and social media — lightweight attempts at getting people’s attention. But they don’t have the large following and notable engagement of well-known brands. This means startups get less traction and engagement out of their content.

In addition, without that level of brand recognition and audience, startups are often left with content that gets a few likes from friends or passersby, but they fail to leave an impression about who they are and what they’re doing.

That’s exactly why small companies and early stage startups need to focus their content at the very top of the marketing funnel in order to make content work for them.

Don’t waste time on content no one will see.

Many startups spend hours or even weeks developing content, then distribute it to a void. Posting on a blog that sees 10 visitors a month or to a tiny social following means nobody really knows they’re out there and nobody’s reading their content or watching their videos.

When you’re small, you need to think about content marketing differently. Yes, you need to create good content, and yes, it needs to be focused on a goal for your brand — but that’s just the beginning.

Content distribution is everything.

Content distribution becomes super important for small companies because valuable time and effort are spent building content — but people aren’t going to magically arrive to your site.

You need to distribute your content where your potential customers are already engaged.

Posting on a platform like Medium or LinkedIn is already one big step in the right direction for building an audience. (P.S. Are you following InterimCMO on LinkedIn yet?) But even if you have a huge body of content and it’s extremely SEO optimized (and even then it will take a while), you need to realize:

People aren’t out there excavating the web to find you or seeing you in their news feeds like they are with large businesses. You need to position your brand marketing to get your content into the hands of your potential customers.

Ready to start from the top? Head over to my article on how startups can create an effective content strategy to begin implementing a fresh — and effective — content marketing strategy.