Your Content Roadmap: A Series
Helping Founders Build Better Blogs
If you’re a startup founder whose to-do list has included “Create blog” for months, raise your hand (or just clap for this article).
Now, clap if you have loads of ideas you want to share but no time or bandwidth to document them.
Lastly, clap if you’ve blocked off the time, sat down at the desk, and then sort of pondered about random things and wound up down a Google search rabbit hole. Maybe you started with “blogging tips” or “content marketing” to inspire a starting point. Before I got into the biz, I used to do that a lot, too.
If you’re like me, then you may have found a lot of useful insight about marketing for startups. But I also found this: most of the tips and advice about startup marketing are either way too abstract, educational but not actionable (sort of like calculus or philosophy). On the other hand, I found they were too specific, filled with instructions on how to technically optimize the blog you don’t have yet.
Studio 96 is starting a series that is in the middle of those two sides, hopefully offering info that’s at the intersection of education and action.
My Content Roadmap is for founders who have great ideas and a conceptual understanding of content marketing, but who need some help with actually getting started in a unique way, transparency into what makes their audience tick, and what works for their competitors.
As data enthusiasts and content strategists, the Studio 96 team is driven by figuring out why certain content gets shared a lot, and why other content does not. Those trends significantly vary across multiple variables, so we’re going to provide tons of content analysis for your unique industry or sector. That’s why the series is called My Content Roadmap (full disclosure: Studio 96’s content strategy consultation deck, packed with insight for each client’s unique company/industry, is also called a “Content Roadmap”!)
There are some blogs out there that do industry-specific coverage very well. Jeffrey Kranz’s The Overthink Group Blog and the Strategy section of Contently’s The Content Strategist come to mind. TechCrunch just came out with a very useful piece for founders at large, too. Still…
Here’s What We’re Doing:
Each piece will discuss the strategies of top blogs within a single industry, measured by the most social shares, backlinks, engagement, and views within industries competitors.
We’ll be looking at the perspectives, formats, headline structures, and topics, that successfully capture audience attention. These tips will hopefully will give you an idea about how to start making engaging content.
The sectors and industries we’re covering are : CPG, Financial, Real Estate, Marketing/Advertising, Health Care, Food and Beverage, Cyber Security, and Crypto/Blockchain.
Our research will answer questions like:
- If I’m a CPG company, should I be making videos or written content?
- Does content that offers investing tips or market coverage get more attention in the real estate space?
- If I’m a blockchain developer at heart, how technical should I be in my writing?
- Does making list headlines like “5 Reasons Why …” really make a difference in getting attention?
- What sort of perspectives (interviews, company news coverage, etc.) get linked to by other websites the most?
- What kinds of content will my end customers share? What sorts of content will my fellow industry leaders share?
- What headlines do Health and Wellness brands test to get clicks and shares?
- How long should my articles be if I work in Cyber security?
- How can I differentiate myself as a food and beverage publisher?
- If I work in FinTech, how serious or playful should I be in talking about financial industries?
It’s All About You
The goal of this research series is ultimately to help our readers and founders out there. If you have any content strategy questions about your unique industry or company, please comment on our posts and we will directly answer you to the best of our knowledge!
A Sneak Peak: Two General Patterns We’ve Already Noticed
Here’s a little sample of the sorts of insight we’ll be sharing, and what we’ve found from our earliest research.
1. Your customers probably will not share your B2B content. That’s okay.
First: users that usually share things in any industry are most often people who work in those industries, not necessarily the customers for whom you’ve intuitively created the content for. People who share cybersecurity articles, for example, are probably engineers in the space, not the owner of a POS management software, who might be the end customer.
However, the people with technical industry knowledge are sharing and therefore acknowledging the quality of the brand’s content, social and intellectual credit. And, intra-industry shares are probably a fairly decent indicator that the brand is doing some good work in their product, too.
This is not always the case of course, but probably; you could have a Fyre Festival situation with great content and no viable product, or you could have, much more commonly, an Away or Glossier or Moz or Contently or SureFyre or EndGame or Figment Networks or Apple or endless companies with great content and a great product. In fact, the development of a great product is the best inspiration for great content.
2. There are no short hacks to great blogging. There’s just smart, bold ideas.
At the end of the day, the biggest pattern we found is that people create content according to what’s the most intuitive for their product. No surprises. No hacks. While there are structural and formatting tips, the bulk of successful content comes from a sound idea.
When you really consider why your product or service matters in the industry you’re passionate about, I doubt you’ll be short of conversations to have and ideas to share.
This is big. Here’s an exercise to help get the ball rolling.
To all the startup founders out there: Have you ever practiced answers to your dream interview while staring in the bathroom mirror, fantasizing what it would be like if an audience hung on to every word, hungry for your perspective? You’re not the only founder who has, so keep doing you (for what it’s worth, they say talking to yourself is a mark of higher intelligence!)
Pretend the interviewer is asking you the specifics about your product and industry, about why you’re doing what you are, and how it’s different than what everyone else is doing. You might talk about the conditions that allowed for your solution to exist or the things you heard your customers say while working at another company. If your answers hold water, then you have a unique perspective in your industry and you’ll have a lot to say. Your company should succeed.
Next, take those answers you dream of giving the moderator, write them down (they’re surely long and complex), and publish them on your site.
Voilà, you have a working blog.
(and of course, if you don’t have time, tell us. We can help you with that, too.)
To get all of the information we do — the headlines, articles, most shares, companies, and industries, we’re gathering data from Buzzsumo, SpyFu, SimilarWeb, CrunchBase, PitchDeck, Fast Company, and CB Insights.
We chose sectors that venture capitalists invest the most in, using them as a proxy for new and modern companies leading content marketing.
We used BuzzSumo to collect sharing estimates and SpyFu to track SEO traction per page. With the exports, we started tagging the data points based on the patterns we identified in headlines. We usually stuck to the top one hundred performing content pieces, after ensuring a diversity of sources. With those built out, we took the weighted averages for each tag or concept to create our charts.
LinkedIn shares are not included. Thanks a lot, stingy new LinkedIn API.
Each chapter in our series will specify in more detail what we did to collect that data, but that’s the general trend.
Next in “My Content Roadmap”
Our first chapter, scheduled to publish on Monday the 15th of April, will cover how financial technology brands approach content production, and analyze the successes and failures of a variety of topics.